COLUMBUS, Ohio — Recently allocated $1.25 million of the State of Ohio’s 2020 capital budget, the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) has combined a portion of the State funds — which must be used for the repair, reconstruction, or construction of physical property — with donations from private sources to begin a $900,000 renovation of the historic Ohio Theatre’s loge, mezzanine and balcony.
A complete overhaul of the Ohio Theatre’s loge (or first seven rows of upper-level seating) began last week to reconstruct the aisle steps and implement new handrails. The railings lining the front and back of the loge will be upgraded and replaced as well, and new carpeting will be installed.
In addition, new handrails and carpet will be installed in the mezzanine and balcony (the remaining 25 rows of upper-level seating) and the railings lining the front and rear of each section will be upgraded and replaced.
“This renovation was originally slated for the summer of 2020, but was suspended indefinitely as CAPA and other local arts organizations battle the effects of the pandemic,” stated CAPA President and CEO Chad Whittington. “These funds come at the perfect time, allowing us the opportunity to make use of the shutdown in a positive way. This renovation is an important safety enhancement for our patrons when we are able to welcome them back to the Ohio Theatre again, enabling us to offer an even better customer experience. We are very grateful to the State of Ohio for its acknowledgement of the beloved Ohio Theatre.”
CAPA will employ all local contractors for the renovation which is expected to conclude in mid-May.
While plans are still in development, CAPA will utilize the balance of the capital budget allocation funds and private donations to implement further improvements to the Ohio Theatre including renovation of the mezzanine concessions area, enhanced wayfinding signage, and ADA accessibility upgrades.
The Spanish Baroque-style, 2,791-seat Ohio Theatre, designed by world-famous architect Thomas Lamb as “a palace for the average man,” opened on March 17, 1928, as a Loew’s movie house complete with its own orchestra and theatre organ. In addition to movies, vaudeville found a home on the Ohio stage, boasting performances from legends such as Milton Berle, Cab Calloway, Buddy Ebsen, Jean Harlow, and Ginger Rogers.
Today, the Ohio Theatre hosts more than 100 performances of BalletMet, Broadway in Columbus, the Columbus Symphony, CAPA-presented performances, and a wide variety of touring artists and shows each year. The venue is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, been declared a National Historic Landmark, and is the State Theatre of Ohio.
Submitted by the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA).