I recently spoke with Patrick Colvin of the Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre. The Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre own and are restoring the Variety Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio.
1. Who are the Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre?
“The Friends of The Historic Variety Theatre are a group of local, concerned residents, business people and experts in historic properties.”
2. How did you get involved with the restoration of the Variety Theatre?
“As Westown Board of Directors Vice-President at the time, and area resident- in 2007 not long after the Variety Board was formed- I was asked to take a position for outgoing board member Chad Dasher (Westown’s Executive Director) to report activities and updates back to Westown’s Board, in addition to the fact that I’m a BIG historic building preservation buff.”
3. Why is it important that the theater be renovated?
“The building complex is a classic example of 20th century neighborhood investment. A “city within a city” if you will. As an “Economic Engine” this complex of Theatre, apartments and storefronts can be the center of neighborhood redevelopment- bringing back the area with economic activity and vitality and just like the spokes of a wheel- spurring additional investment in the area.
The beauty of the original space just simply must not be lost and could never be replicated in this day.”
4. How are the Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre raising money for the restoration of the building?
“Currently, through small fundraisers and continuing awareness campaigns-several “pop up” events bringing people, residents and local merchants and artists together to see what great potential the neighborhood has. Additionally, we continue to have interest into “ghost hunts” by local and state groups wanting to tour the space and have developed a “tour fee” structure to help pay re-curring bills in the short term as we work out the final financing package with the bank to settle the financial difficulties we’ve encountered-as we work to gain “clear title”.
Once resolved- we can push for the larger fundraising drives needed to push the project to completion.”
5. What is your favorite personal memory about the theater?
“While I came into the Variety’s life in it’s later years- I remember the throngs of people who would come for a movie or a live show-to relax and enjoy the beauty of “The Lady on Lorain”.
It is perennial and cross-generational. The Variety is a GEM and crown jewel of this neighborhood and while she’s a bit tarnished- she will shine again. I remember those crowds and I continue to want to be part of the solution and help restore the beauty and granduer of this wonderful palace of entertainment for all to enjoy.”
More information can be found at the Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre website: http://varietytheatrecleveland.com/
The Avalon Theatre opened on August 29, 1927 in Chicago, IL. The 2,250 seat theater was designed by noted theater architect John Eberson, who is also known for the Loew’s 46th Street Theatre in Brooklyn, NY. The design of the interior was inspired by a Persian incense burner Eberson found while shopping in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the lecture on Saturday night! I’ll be giving another lecture for the Woodbury Historical Society on September 23rd. It will be held at the Woodbury Senior Center in Highland Mills, NY from 2-4pm.
For more information check out their website:
Just a reminder – From the Balcony print sale is still on until September 14.
The sizes available are:
8.5″x11″ – $25.00
12″x18″ – $50.00
16″x24″ – $75.00
Check out the From the Balcony post for more information.
I’m happy to announce that the Avalon/New Regal Theatre has won the poll (by an overwhelming majority) and will be the next post on After the Final Curtain. Keep an eye out for it next week!
The Shore Theatre opened as the Loew’s Coney Island Theatre on June 17, 1925. The 2,387 seat theater was built by the Chanin Construction Company, which was also known for the construction of the now demolished Roxy Theatre in Manhattan. Before opening, the theater was leased to the Loew’s theater chain. The Shore was designed in a Renaissance revival style by the Reilly & Hall architecture firm, who were proteges of famed theater architect Thomas W. Lamb.
The Variety Theatre opened on November 24, 1927 in the Jefferson neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. It was built by Sam Stecker, Meyer Fine and Abe Kramer of the Variety Amusement Company. The 1,900 seat theater was designed in the Spanish gothic style by Cleveland-based architect Nicola Petti, who also designed the nearby Cedar Lee Theatre. The Variety building also included retail space and twelve apartments.