1519 Euclid Avenue,
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The Playhouse Square Center (Official)
Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.
Architects: Thomas White Lamb
Styles: Renaissance Revival
Previous Names: Loew's State Theatre
News About This Theater
One of a set of two theatres 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 noted architect Thomas W. Lamb. The unusual configuration of the State Theatre and the adjacent Ohio Theatre is the result of some unusual occurrences. By 1920, several entities were looking to build flagship theatres in downtown Cleveland, and zeroing in on Euclid Avenue & E. 17th Street. Real estate magnet Joseph Laronge teamed up with Marcus Loew and eyed a large parcel of land on Euclid Avenue adjacent to the recently completed Bulkley Building, which housed the 3,000-seat Allen Theatre. However they were beaten to the punch by Edward Albee who bought a large corner lot leaving just 85 feet of street frontage leading back to the large parcel of land fronting E. 17th Street. Laronge was unfazed however, and not wanting to settle for a side-street address, he built the world’s longest theatre lobbies (just over 300 feet), and built the State theatre on E. 17th Street, and the adjacent Ohio Theatre, both with entrances on Euclid Avenue in the small gap.
The enormous lobby’s were a palatial as the auditoriums, and Loew’s State Theatre lobby featured a landmark series of Modernist murals by the famed James Daughtry, entitled “The Spirit of Cinema America”. Loew’s State Theatre was equipped with a Moeller 3 manual organ with 56 registers. The Loew’s 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 theatre to the elements, destroying a great deal of its original décor. Furthermore, in the early-1970’s, the seats from both theatres 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 Theatre’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. The State Theatre was the second of the Playhouse Square theatres to be restored (the Ohio Theatre was the first). It was reopened as a beautiful performing arts center in 1983, and boasting an enormous new state-of-the -art stage-house, one of the largest in the country. One major highlight was the restoration of the Daughtry murals. Around 2017, the auditorium was repainted in its original color scheme to restore it to its original appearance.
Since its restoration, bringing much of the 1920’s appearance back to this moderate-sized theatre, the State Theatre is now used for cabaret-style performances, concerts and comedy acts.
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