Newport Music Hall

1722 N. High Street,
Columbus, OH 43201

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buckeyebanger
buckeyebanger on September 20, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Working security for Agora Productions was fun for five years, indoors and when we had summertime rock concerts in towns like Steubbenville or the Aquapark near Dayton. Being on stage and walking through the crowd subjected me to billowing “walls” of marijuana…couldn’t help but “catch a buzz” just being in the area…and I didn’t smoke!!

androy51
androy51 on September 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm

The production was deemed illegal as it was not sanctioned by who ever owned the rights to it. Apparently money was to be paid to use the name. My memory of this is very sketchy and is why I am looking for any input.I just remember we were shut down before completing all scheduled performances. And, it was a blast doing it, my memory is at least clear on that. Thanks everyone for comments so far.

Mark_L
Mark_L on September 9, 2013 at 11:37 pm

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR was first a recording released in 1970. It was incredibly popular when it came out and, because the album was so theatrical, there were many groups that just put on productions of it without any permission from the creators. It was some time later that the official versions started to appear. Androy51, your production was most likely in 1971.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 9, 2013 at 8:51 pm

The Dispatch is still publishing. (The Citizen-Journal is not.) You may also want to look at the OSU Lantern.

Why was your production “illegal” ?

androy51
androy51 on September 9, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I was involved with a (illegal)production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Agora in 1969 or 1970 as I recall. If anyone has details about the production they can share, please do. I will be searching archives in the Columbus Dispatch if that newspaper is still going.

buckeyebanger
buckeyebanger on October 26, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Gotta admit that a “most embarrassing moment” was before opening the front doors for the QUEEN show…people pressing against the doors. I went out the back, circled, found some guy in a suit pushing and shoving his way to the front of the crowd. I snatched him up by pants and collar, hauled him to the curb, “Who do ytou think you are pal?” “…I’m the Fire Marshall.” Ooops! Had about “ten seconds” to clear and organize the crowd or no show.

buckeyebanger
buckeyebanger on October 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm

My newspaper was “Street Sheet—a positive viewspaper” and it’s office were above Street Scene. Later we converted into an artist co-signment shop and something called “Rag Works” in which we sold “hip” cothing styles. The Agora was our home, Gary put in basketball nets for the crew for slow days between shows. I basically ran “security” and hired Buckeye defensive linemen and linebackers to help out with some shows.

buckeyebanger
buckeyebanger on October 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm

It’s funny that Dave posted that marquee shot. In the early days of THE AGORA, Gary Proctor “Bozo” and Freakie Steve ran the stage with Gary calling a lot of the shots preparing The Agora for Hank. Jimmy Marshall was told to put up the marquee…and had first put up “Hauling Oates.” He had not heard of the duo’s band and was wondering why Gary said to put up “Hauling Oates.” We changed the sign…as readers may notice.

Keith
Keith on October 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm

The marquee now says newport music hall in the middle. It used to be all black. I always thought they should have something saying the name of the place on the marquee. That little newport neon sign above the doors was not cuttin' it.

albabewick
albabewick on January 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I attend many rock concerts at this venue and have wondered what the theatre’s past lives have been. You can see vestiges of grander times in terms of the marble staircases in the lobby, the painted-over ceiling medallion which once complemented a now-vanished chandelier. There are some decorative elements still semi-intact the higher you look on the walls.

There is a large balcony, which is opened to concert-goers for the well-attended shows.

The place has been renovated in the past few years – the HVAC is much-updated, but the character and permanent finishes remain intact. You can still feel the core character of the theatre, which seems to love its patrons whoever they may be.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 19, 2010 at 10:31 am

The State and other OSU-area movie theatres are described on this page: University District History: 100 Years of University District Theatres

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

This Chicago Sun-Times travel article says “Built in 1923, the Newport Music Hall is the longest continually running rock venue in the country” … which is a strange-sounding way to put it!

Mark_L
Mark_L on May 26, 2010 at 9:06 am

I haven’t gotten that far in my research yet, but I do have a note that it became the Agora approximately April 1970. It was taken over by Henry & Joe LoConti, who invested $200,000 in the project.

I should have more exact data by the end of the summer.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 26, 2010 at 8:19 am

Rocklord, do you happen to know when it closed as the State movie theatre and when it reopened as the Agora concert hall? (And, for that matter, when the name changed from Agora to Newport?)

buckeyebanger
buckeyebanger on November 19, 2009 at 10:42 am

A group of us know just about everything to know about The Agora since we helped redo it for concerts, ran the stage, security, lights, sound, offices, and field shows for years. Know the bands, the roadies, the girls, the music…and writing a major book for 2010 expecting to go to film in the next full year of 2011. My offices were above Street Scene (next to the entrance of Agora) and we had the interior painted scarlet and gray for obvious reasons. (Go Buckeyes!!)
We had a basic band room on one side of the stage and put in a spiral staircase for a little room above the stage on the other. Also added the stage area restroom for bands and security guards (aka “bouncers” in the era of such). Over the front was the “busines office.” We had QUEEN’s first show, where they paid RUSH to not play—–(afraid of being upstaged.)

Hibi
Hibi on October 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm

This still functioned as a movie theater in the 1960s. Unsure exactly when it changed to a rock venue. The early 70’s maybe. It’s too bad as it looks like it was a nice theater at one time. I imagine it’s seen better days after 30 plus years of rock music….

monika
monika on March 29, 2008 at 1:28 pm

The Newport does have a balcony, stairs in the large foyer go up to a long hallway that overlooks the foyer and leads to the restrooms. The balcony wraps around ¾ of the building, which is great for live concerts.

ZookieFreddie
ZookieFreddie on July 11, 2006 at 9:20 pm

Although I have never been inside, I pass by this place daily. All of the former decorative features mentioned before are completely gone now and the marque remains. It is still open but as a venue for concerts catering strictly to the college kids who attend by the hundreds. Believe me, I have seen the long lines in front!

GWaterman
GWaterman on December 3, 2005 at 6:33 pm

I can’t provide much detailed info, but I, too, recall going to the Agora nightclub during the early 70’s, and loving the slightly down at heel once-magnificent interior. I think the sound console was installed in a box seat on house right. I also recall a balcony.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 22, 2004 at 4:59 pm

The 1932 Film Daily Year Book claims 1,600 seats, but the 1949 edition says 1,200. Take your pick!