Geauga Lyric Theater Guild

101 Water Street,
Chardon, OH 44024

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The former Geauga Cinema was built in 1939 and ran successfully for years, until finally closing in 1996.

Two years later, owner Larry Dolan donated the theater to the city, which then leased it to the Geauga Lyric Theater Guild for $1 per year. The Guild has since turned the Geauga into a legitimate theater and has raised attendance from 1,000 to 20,000 patrons per year.

Renovations began in 2001, and with the first two phases of the restoration effort completed, the theater’s lobby and exterior were renovated and restored with a $300,000 grant from the Geauga Department of Community and Economic Development.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 13, 2009 at 11:18 am

According to this website, movies are also shown at the Geauga Theater on weekends.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 30, 2009 at 11:43 pm

The Geauga Theatre was the subject of an article in the June 24, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine, a few months after it opened. The house was built for Mr. L.M. Smith, who was also the owner of the old Chardon Theatre. The design, construction, and outfitting of the Geauga Theatre were all handled by the F&Y Building Service of Columbus, Ohio.

The Art Moderne design featured such amenities as chrome and leatherette furniture in the lobby and rest rooms, velour wall panels in lobby and auditorium, and steel-backed theater seats upholstered in mohair and maroon leather. The exits flanking the stage were surmounted by velour panels featuring decorative oil paintings in black, white, and scarlet, lit by up-lights concealed in troughs.

The facade featured tangerine face brick and buff terra cotta and glass brick. The vestibule had terrazzo flooring. The entire house was air conditioned.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 31, 2009 at 5:50 pm

The Theatre Division of the F&Y Building Service apparently designed quite a few theaters in the Ohio Valley. I’ve only been able to find the names of a small handful of them so far, but the company ran an ad featuring the Geauga Theatre in the June 24, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. One line reads “Go see the Geauga or any of the many other F&Y designed and built theatres.”

The company was operating at least as late as 1959, headed by Leo Yassenoff. He was also interested in the Academy Theatres Circuit, later the Academy-Neff Circuit, run by Frank Yassenoff and then by Milton Yassenoff. It seems likely that theaters built for this circuit during the era would have been designed and built by the family company.

If the Geauga is typical of the quality of F&Y’s design, the company surely qualifies as a significant regional design firm.

Patsy
Patsy on October 27, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Thanks for answering a question that I posted in 2006…had forgotten about it, but have not added the Chardon to CT.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 7, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Here are two more 1982 photos:

Photo1

Photo2

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on September 1, 2012 at 7:01 am

How does one pronounce “Geauga?” The theatre was desribed in this 1939 trade article: Boxoffice

Patsy
Patsy on September 1, 2012 at 8:06 am

Geauga is pronounced gee-au-ga.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 1, 2012 at 9:43 am

This house is still called the Geauga Theater. Geauga Lyric Theater Guild is the name of the company that stages productions at the theater. This page of their official web site says “Movies are shown at the Geauga Theater on weekends when live productions are not occurring.”

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