State Theatre

1519 Euclid Avenue,
Playhouse Square,
Cleveland, OH 44115

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Loew's State Theatre exterior with the nearby RKO's Palace Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

One of a set of theaters occupying the Loew’s Building on Euclid Avenue (the other being the Ohio Theatre), the State Theatre obviously, was built for the Loew’s circuit, opening on February 7, 1921, and, like the Ohio Theatre, was designed by Thomas W. Lamb. The State Theatre operated as a vaudeville and movie house, turning primarily to movies only after the 1930’s. The State Theatre closed the same week as the Ohio Theatre, in early-1969.

Like the Ohio Theatre, while it was closed, the State Theatre fell into serious disrepair, with holes in the auditorium’s roof opening the theater to the elements, destroying a great deal of its original decor. Furthermore, in the early-1970’s, the seats from both theaters were removed and sold in an auction.

The Playhouse Square Association, which was formed in 1970, when plans were announced that both the State Theatre and Ohio Theatre would be razed to make way for parking (which fortunately never came to fruition), brought the State Theatre back into the public awareness by hosting the Playhouse Square Cabaret in the State’s main lobby for several years, beginning in 1973, which was a huge success.

In 1977, the Loew’s Building was acquired by Cuyahoga County, and the next year, added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Since its restoration, bringing much of the 1920’s appearance back to this moderate-sized theater, the State Theatre is now used for cabaret-style performances, concerts and comedy acts.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 33 comments)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 11, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Some action at the State:

‘Wicked’ witch wins battle of nerves over screaming woman in the crowd By Tony Brown, The Plain Dealer December 10, 2009, 7:00AM

Merideth Kaye Clark went out there an understudy. She came back a tough cookie.

And a showbiz disaster became a “beautiful theatrical moment, and the actors onstage and the 2,700 people in the audience shared something.” That’s how Clark recalled it all Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, in the midst of the quietest moment in the hugely popular Broadway tour of “Wicked” at the State Theatre in PlayhouseSquare, a drunken, obscenity-filled brawl broke out in the audience, tour manager Steve Quinn said.

Clark, a standby filling in as Elphaba, the green witch, had to make a quick decision as police and others scuffled with — and eventually handcuffed and forcibly removed — a screaming woman in the audience, Quinn said.

Clark could have followed Hugh Jackman and Patti LuPone, who recently stopped shows when cell phones rang in the audience. Instead, Clark sang the sad, beautiful “I’m Not That Girl” despite the increasing volume and invective, until the perpetrator was dragged out kicking.

“I thought, ‘If the show stops, then she wins. If I go on, she loses.’ ”

As Clark sang the last notes in the newly minted silence, the audience rose to give her an ovation that “felt like a whole minute, and I guess I kind of took a bow. It was very magical.”

As for the other woman in the tale, Cleveland police identified her as Kathleen Holmes, 49, of Rock Creek. She was charged with two misdemeanors, and would have been released if she hadn’t attacked the booking officer, police said. She was charged with felonious assault and was in jail Wednesday night.

Holmes will get her chance to sing this morning, when she’s due to be in the audience of a judge.

Hibi
Hibi on January 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm

SAD. But not surprising considering how inconsiderate people are in public anymore……..

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on August 4, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Great 1969 photo of the 2 Loews marquees.

rivest266
rivest266 on February 27, 2011 at 11:34 am

10-page grand opening ad from February 5th, 1921 is at
http://www.calameo.com/books/0002479289bb200e6c10f

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Just wondering as Loews had these two theatres in the same building if they shared the same Manager or did both theatres have seperate Manager and staff. When I worked for Loews I got moved around a lot but the theatres were not right next door to each other.

chspringer
chspringer on March 28, 2011 at 12:02 am

As I recall during the 50s when I was in Cleveland, 1 person managed both theaters as well as the Loews Stillman which was down the street a few blocks. I would assume that maybe each theater had an assistant manager. Anyone know for sure?

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Thanks Chas and Chuck, In Nashville our City Manager had his office upstairs in the Crescent building but he was also the Manager of that theatre and had an Asst,Me most of the time,the others 2 theatres had their own Manager and Asst.Rein Rabakuk was our District Manager based out of Dallas he would visit our theatres about once a month with or City Manager Robert “BoB” Sokol.t was funny he would only stay about 15 minutes at each theatre and be gone.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Sorry that sould be, with our City Manager, not with or City Manager.Also when I was the Manager at the Loews Melrose I was in the lobby of the theatre one afternoon when I heard the pay phone ringing so I picked up the phone and it was Rein Rabakuk calling from Dallas to tell me to fire my Asst. Manager. I thought this was strange as the theatre was not open in the afternoon then,and how did he know I was even there.Anyway when my Asst.came in that night and saw me there in my suit that night,I was off most Friday Nights but had to go to the bank and do the checks and send out the weekly reports, I would wear my street clothes, and he would run the theatre that night,he knew something was up,and I had to give him the bad news.Sorry I am of topic,now back to the State Theatre.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on May 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Click here for an exterior view of the Loew’s State Theatre in 1931.

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