Shubert Theater

90 7th Street E,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

RKO Shubert Theatre, Cincinnati, OH -- 1936

The Shubert Theater was built inside what was originally the city’s original YMCA (which opened in 1848). The theater opened in 1921 as a venue for legitimate theatrical performances. The Shubert Theater switched to a combined use venue for movies and stage shows in 1935.

The theater was closed in 1953 and reopened as Rev. Earl Ivies' Revival Temple.

Just two years later, however, the Shubert Theater was renovated and once again returned to legitimate theater. In 1976, the Shubert Theater was demolished to make way for a parking lot. Today, there is an office building on the site.

Contributed by Ray Martinez, Anna Horton

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

kencmcintyre on February 16, 2007 at 12:06 am

Here is a January 1976 article about the demolition of the Shubert:

Old Shubert Theater Torn Down

CINCINNATI (AP) â€" There has been little applause in the Shubert Theater in recent years and there was little mourning when it was razed by a wrecker’s ball along with the Cox Theater next door over the weekend. “I was a stage hand 22 years in there and now I’m tearing it down,” said Larry Trumbo, one of the wrecking crew. “I feel bad about it. But what can you do? They didn’t bring shows in there anymore ”.

The Cincinnati owners of the two downtown theaters said the land will be converted to a parking lot. The Theater Guild-American Theater Society canceled the 1975-76 season at the Shubert when touring companies refused to play Cincinnati because of financial losses in previous years. The 1,000 advance subscribers received refunds. The last two shows at the Shubert, however, were sellouts. Comedian Redd Foxx had two performances May 3, 1975, billed as “a black show for black people ”.

The Shubert Co. of New York spent $250,000 refurbishing the Shubert in 1964. The granite building was constructed by the YMCA in 1848 and Shubert converted it to a theater in 1921. Both theaters became vacant in the 1950s when the U.S. Department of Justice ordered them sold in an antitrust action. Shubert was allowed to reopen them in 1954 when no one bought the buildings. But productions there of “Misalliance,” “The Moon Is Blue” and “Dial M for Murder” played to almost empty houses.

kencmcintyre on December 17, 2008 at 2:03 am

From Boxoffice magazine, January 1938:

RKO Shubert Theater, Cliff Boyd, manager, has dropped its straight film policy and has extended upon an 18-week program of vaudeville and films. lack of super productions and roadshows, which this house featured, is given as the reason.

hanksykes on August 5, 2009 at 9:50 pm

According to an Enquirer paper article during the Shuberts times as a vaudeville theater one of the acts made a huge dent on its history. Apparently the Power’s Elephant Act fell through to the former YMCA swimming pool as the stage had been built over the original aquadic architectural feature.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on April 3, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Click here for a photograph of the RKO Shubert taken in 1936.

hanksykes on April 22, 2010 at 12:22 am

Thanks Brad Smith for the heads up on the photos,what great shots!!!!

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on April 22, 2010 at 4:20 am

Thank you for your good words, Hank. I haven’t had time to link specific Cinema Treasures' theaters to corresponding photographs yet, but I should be able to do that within the next week or two.

Your mention in an earlier post of elephants falling through to the former YMCA swimming pool suggested to me posting a couple of photographs of vaudeville elephants at the Palace Theatre in Chicago in 1937. You can see the first photograph by clicking here and the second one by clicking here. Both of the photographs were taken by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto & Mann.

michaelhoopes1 on January 21, 2013 at 11:01 am

I saw Godspell, the broadway musical at The Shubert Theatre in 1973. It was a Beautiful Theatre, it is a shame that Cincinnati does not appreciate Theater like it should. Cincinnati has destroyed the Rko Albee, The Palace Theater, the Skywalk Cinema, The Times Theatre and others.

meheuck on February 21, 2015 at 2:26 am

I noticed that the Cox does not have its own listing. It seems to me that it was a substantial enough operation on its own from the Shubert that perhaps it should have a page.

When I went to see magician Harry Blackstone Jr. at the now-demolished Palace around 1980, he said that the last time he was in Cincinnati the Cox theatre was operating but was now gone. He then added that he hoped the next time he came to town he wouldn’t be performing in a parking lot.

Sadly, considering the fate of the Palace, he was not far off.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 21, 2015 at 6:19 pm

meheuck: The Cox Theatre doesn’t have a page at Cinema Treasures because it never showed movies.

raejeanaustin on April 16, 2015 at 7:37 pm

My father, Ray Hall, was the one who demolished the Shubert/Cox theatres. He and Larry Trumbo were good friends. He saved a lot of materials from the job to build our home with. He had thousands of brick cleaned, marble was used in the kitchen as a breakfast bar and inlaid on 3 fireplace hearths and mantels, floor joists from the stage were used, colored concrete piece from outside of building inlaid in one fireplace in the creek rock and we have a couple of light fixtures. The house was awesome!

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater