OBA Goes Backstage at PlayhouseSquare

Last Wednesday evening I had the great pleasure of taking a tour of several theaters of PlayhouseSquare. As a member of the Ohio Blogging Association, I join various other friends each month for a little “off-line” socialization. Past meet ups have included a pizza night at Whole Foods, volunteering at The Cleveland FoodBank and taking a biking tour of Cleveland.  This month PlayhouseSquare and the Partners organization were kind enough to offer us a behind-the-scenes look into one of my favorite places to go and pretend to be high society. It also takes me back to high school when I would anxiously await performance after performance and felt alive out on the stage.

At the start of the tour, background was given on the main theater, the Palace Theater. Much of what you see is the original look, and we were shown where people would exit their carriages and “new-age horseless carriages” in order to attend performances. I took a moment to imagine living in a time when places like this were uncommon and taking in the beauty of my surroundings.

Highlights of this part of the tour (for me) were hearing about the club area in the basement. Apparently back in the day it was quite the place to hang out. There were laundry facilities complete with a dryer room! We may think this is simple and silly now, but in those times when traveling, people often had to pack and travel with wet garments or simply avoid washing items at all. The Palace had a room where clothing could be hung and continuous hot air was pumped through. How amazing?!

Sadly, much of the art was lost, and it is unknown how or when or where, but the beauty and splendor remain nearly 100 years later. Did you know Playhouse Square is one of the largest theater renovation and restoration projects?

We went backstage and looked out into the empty audience. Many commented on how scary it would be to perform.  I felt a twinge in my heart when I realized how comfortable I felt and how much I missed it all.

As much as I miss performing, I also miss backstage duties and as we learned about flies and mice I glanced around and noticed playbills affixed to the walls. This brought an even bigger smile to my face as teenage me felt our behaviors on the high school stage were some how validated by knowing professionals do the same things.

After the Palace we made our way over to the State Theater. IMO this theater was very similar except for being smaller. However, later research would reveal this isn’t the case at all. The Palace seats 2800 and the State seats 3200. The State also is the theater for shows like The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera. On the way we stopped in the dressing rooms, where I paused to pretend to get ready for my big night.

One unique aspect of the the State Theater is having “the world’s longest lobby” complete with murals painted by a then not so famous James Daugherty.

Other theaters we saw where the Ohio and Allen. The Ohio theater did not have seats as it was being renovated. I did find myself partial to the ceiling in the actual theater and the twinkling ceiling and statues in the hallway.

The Allen is a smaller stage, but had the most gorgeous lobby scenery and had such a charming history.

The Allen was never meant for stage performance, it was a silent movie theater. Behind the newly installed modern walls, you can see the light boxes (or whatever they’re called) where colors of yellow or red or blue would be cast to help set the mood of what was being seen. Up above original paintings were unpredictably uncovered during renovations and of course I’m a sucker for anything that reminds me of Greek and Romanesque art.

After the tour most went over to Alex’s for free drinks and food. I forgot I had a free drink coupon and could not afford the food, so I had good company instead. Actually I had REALLY good company, because I learned Lyn and I are probably flying to FitBloggin’ at the same time and on the same flight and she is amazing because she is going to give me a ride from the airport, since she’s meeting family when we arrive. Score for having friends and saving money. Heads up, none of the people below are me or were the people I was sitting with, but I loved this candid shot of bloggers being real.

Now for the official business of personal links and the 411 on future events.

Fellow OBA members in attendance include:

If you are interested in joining PlayhouseSquare Partners or need more information, Amanda at Clue Into Cleveland is happy to answer any questions. Her email is clueintocleveland@gmail.com.

The Partners are hosting a VP Night at the Cinema for the sing-a-long showing of West Side Story on Thursday, August 2nd. The Pre-Movie Party starts at 6:00PM, the movie showing is at 7:30PM Admission is free, but tickets are required. For tickets, please call Sarah at 216.640.8408.

Please join us on Thursday, August 16th at The Happy Dog for our next Ohio Blogging Association meetup. RSVP at the Facebook page today: https://www.facebook.com/events/442929549059947/

7 thoughts on “OBA Goes Backstage at PlayhouseSquare

  1. Love the post!! The pic of you in the dressing room is perfect. I was tempted to do the same thing : ) In fact, ALL your pictures are GREAT! So nice to see you as always – have fun at Fit Bloggin!! Tell Lyn hi – she’s awesome!

    • I think I only snagged the picture since I was in the back of the group and wasn’t really keeping on pace. lol

  2. Pingback: OBA’s Night at the Theatre with PlayhouseSquare Partners « Clue Into Cleveland

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