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4 Performance Theaters to Visit in Ohio


Despite the popularity of mainstream arenas for American concertgoers, smaller theatres with extensive histories offer an inspired, quieter setting to view a performance. Consider visiting one or more of these four Ohio venues the next time you crave live entertainment in an aesthetically pleasing building.  

The Aronoff Center

Located in the heart of Cincinnati, The Aronoff consists of three performance spaces to suit different-sized performances: the 150-seat Fifth Third Bank Theater, the 437-seat Jarson-Kaplan Theater and the 2,700-seat Procter & Gamble Hall. The center frequently hosts touring Broadway shows from Les Miserables to Wicked, as well as the Cincinnati Ballet, Contemporary Dance Theatre, the Cincinnati Boychoir and other touring musical acts. The dramatic glass, brick and stainless steel facades are the perfect modern backdrop for pictures before and after the show. You can also walk just a block away to Fountain Square for a more outdoorsy environment.

The Columbus Athenaeum

If you’re a fan of Columbus concerts but not the large crowds, consider catching a show at The Columbus Athenaeum on 32 N 4th Street. Described as “a beautifully restored urban palace,” the Art Deco interior complements the unique indie bands, fringe artists and offbeat performances that it hosts. Originally, the building was home to the Masonic Temple. Its restored spaces consist of two theaters and a large ballroom with Corinthian columns. Past shows include Gungor & The Brilliance and Novo Amor. Upcoming shows include An Open Book: an Evening with Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October; Criminal Podcast: LIVE SHOW; and Our Last Night: Let Light Overcome the Darkness Tour.

Akron Civic Theatre

Built in 1929, the Akron Civic Theatre is not only a community hub for the city’s fine arts scene; it’s also one of the only five remaining atmospheric theaters in the country. The ceiling provides a unique canopy of starry sky and moving clouds, while patrons witness performances on stage. The theatre’s interior also includes medieval carvings, European antiques, Mediterranean decor and Italian alabaster sculptures. Upcoming shows include Priscilla: Queen of the Desert the Musical; It Was Fifty Years Ago Today – Tour 2019: A Tribute to the Beatles White Album; Ray LaMontagne; and Incubus: 20 Years of Make Yourself and Beyond.

Ohio Theatre

Head to Ohio’s capital to catch one of the 100 performances that the Ohio Theatre hosts each year. Architect Thomas W. Lamb gets the credit for the opulent, Spanish-Baroque architecture. Columbia School of Architecture’s first female graduate, Ann Dornan, is credited for decorating it. Despite the grandeur of the theatre’s interior, Lamb intended the venue for the average patron. He envisioned it as “a palace for the average man,” as the website states. The theatre opened in 1928 as a movie house complete with a live orchestra and theatre organ. Back then, it hosted vaudeville artists such as Ginger Rogers, Milton Berle and Buddy Ebsen. Now, the establishment presents contemporary artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Julie Andrews. Upcoming performances include Dear Evan Hansen, the Tony Award-Winning Best Musical; Twisted 3; Columbus Symphony’s American Festival; and Mean Girls.

Whether you prefer classical music, Broadway shows or modern dance, these four theatres in the Buckeye State offer dynamic acts to satisfy your passion for the performing arts.

This article is presented by VanDevere Auto Group.
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