Welcome to the Ohio Theatre! Designed by Scottish born architect, Thomas W. Lamb, who wanted it to be a palace for the average man. It opened in 1928 as a Lowe’s movie house with it’s own orchestra and theatre organ. The theatre seats 2,791 people within it’s Spanish Baroque architectural walls and has a stunning 21 foot high chandelier as it’s centerpiece.
Lowe’s picked Anne Dornan (one of the first women to graduate from the Columbia School of Architecture) to decorate and furnish the theatre. She traveled around the world for items eventually accumulating $1 million worth of items; more than the cost of the building itself.
The view of one of the many chandeliers (not the grand one in the auditorium) in the entryway before heading to your seating area.
The Ohio has had perform on it’s stage during the vaudeville era greats such as Milton Berle, Cab Calloway, Ginger Rogers and a young Jack Benny. It has more than 100 performances a year, with it’s state of the art stage facilities and it’s great acoustics. It has hosted Yo-Yo Ma, Julie Andrews, the Boston Pops and Carole King to name a few.
As with many other grand theatres of it’s time, when suburbia took more and more people away from downtown areas in the 60’s, the Ohio was on the chopping block until Ohio citizens in 1969 started a “Save the Ohio” campaign which indeed did save it. And many are very thankful for it and CAPA’s efforts in keeping this beautiful piece of history alive and well.
Behind the stage
The organ which rises up from the pit for performances.
Looking upwards from the stage at the main chandelier. This work of art deserves and will get a post of it’s own.
A closer view of the entry chandeliers showing their colorful details and the ornate ceiling.
While walking through the Ohio I could almost sense a rift in the fabric of time and feel attendees from the past gliding through in their theatre finest; tuxedos and long sweeping gowns with opera gloves and glasses. For a moment I felt under dressed in my sneakers, jeans and tank top. Attending an event or two at one of these theatres is definitely on our to do list now… but in less formal attire.
Next: About that chandelier