The Akron Civic Theatre
by Joanna Wilson
Ever been to a concert or a show at the downtown Civic Theatre and marveled at the architecture of the building? I recently took the FREE guided tour offered monthly (the third Tuesday of each month) at the Civic. All my questions--and more--were answered about the historic building. I also got to hear the behind-the-scenes experiences of the theater staff. For example, did you know that many of the staff believe the venue to be haunted?
|The opulence of the staircase can still be felt by every visitor.|
The Civic Theatre underwent extensive renovations starting in 2001. Gone are the all white hallways and ceilings that I saw in my youth when I first visited the theater. The Moorish-Spain castle-inspired opulence has been brought back from its 1920s original opening. In the lobby, you can see the vibrant Mediterranean turquoise and terracotta colors in the walls again. You can also see the very edge of the restoration work along the ceiling and the walls away from the staircase (visible in the above photo). They are currently fundraising to continue the restoration to return all of this theater to its former glory.
|Have you ever admired the portrait painted above the front entrance/exit? It's Christopher Columbus on horseback. Take another look next time you're there.|
The tour also takes you to the mezzanine level (also known as the balcony) where you can spend as much time as you like admiring the atmospheric ceiling with it's twinkling stars and breezy clouds. I learned from the tour guide that the constellations in the ceiling actually mirror the sky seen above Vienna, the childhood home of the original architect John Eberson. How cool is that?
I'm barely scratching the surface describing the things you'll get to experience on your tour of the facility. Something interesting to most everyone is hearing the funny stories about the various entertainers who have graced the stage over the years. The children in my tour group were rapt with a story about Alice Cooper's snake who escaped his dressing room and wound himself around a heating pipe in the interior of the building! Okay, it wasn't just the children who loved that story but there's many more too. You can hear about the parrot Loretta who used to fly free within the theater and feel a chill when a staff member shares a story about her own sighting of a ghost! The guided tour isn't just an entertaining way to spend an afternoon, it's also a way to further connect with our own history and legacy in Akron.
To schedule your RSVP for the tour, call the Civic Theatre office at 330-535-3179
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Akron Civic Theatre website