$900k theatre renovation completed as COVID-19 restrictions lift

Local News

Ohio Theatre. Photo: Dan Mitchell, Mitchell Multimedia.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The historic Ohio Theatre underwent a facelift during COVID-19, and has emerged in spectacular shape after a $900k renovation project.

The aisle stairs in the loge (or first seven rows of upper-level seating) were reconstructed to decrease the pitch and even out the steps. New handrails were also installed in the aisles. The railings lining the front and back of the loge were upgraded and replaced as well, and the cross aisle between the loge and mezzanine has been leveled to eliminate the pitch toward the stage, according to a media release.

In addition, new handrails were 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 have been upgraded and replaced.

New carpeting was installed in all three upper-level sections.

The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) completed the renovation, funded by an allocation from the State of Ohio capital budget—which must be used for the repair, reconstruction, or construction of physical property—and private donations.

“We’re excited to see this long-needed renovation finally complete, and just in time for brighter days ahead as things slowly begin to return to normal,” stated CAPA President and CEO Chad Whittington in a media release. “This renovation is an important safety enhancement for our patrons, enabling us to offer an even better customer experience. We can’t wait to put it to use!”

The first post-renovation performance in the Ohio Theatre will be the Columbus Symphony’s Haydn Festival, Friday and Saturday, May 21 and 22.

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 beloved venue is also now proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places, been declared a National Historic Landmark, and is the State Theatre of Ohio, the release concluded.

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