Explore Playhouse Square’s five historic theaters through 360° technology, made possible by a gift from Huntington.
Built in the early 1920s, the theaters have been carefully restored by Playhouse Square and are regularly maintained and updated to serve the audiences of today.
While there is nothing quite like seeing them in person, we invite you to take a virtual look around in each theater.
These YouTube videos can be watched on a variety of devices.
Opened April 1, 1921
Before the time of suburban shopping malls and movie theaters, audiences flocked to grand movie palaces in downtowns throughout the country. The Allen Theatre was originally built to be a movie palace and operated as one until 1968. It was restored and re-opened in 1998 as a venue for large touring Broadway shows. In 2011, the space was re-configured as a home for resident companies Cleveland Play House and Cleveland State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance. The theater’s historic elements were creatively preserved while the space was given a more contemporary feel.
Opened November 6, 1922
When it first opened, vaudeville acts – dancers, magicians, acrobats, comedians, jugglers, trained animals and singers – took center stage at the Connor Palace. After a few years, it was modified for movies and every summer, you can still experience classic films on the theater’s big screen. Today, the Connor Palace is best known for hosting most of the touring Broadway productions that come to Playhouse Square.
Opened March 28, 1921
Playhouse Square purchased the Hanna office building in 1999 and with it came the Hanna Theatre, uniting the five historic theaters under the same ownership for the first time. The long-running interactive show Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding and other events played the Hanna until its 2008 restoration as a home for Great Lakes Theater. With historic elements preserved, the theater now offers unique seating choices – club chairs, banquettes and private boxes – as well as traditional theater seats.
Opened February 5, 1921
The largest of the Playhouse Square theaters, the KeyBank State Theatre was the first of the historic theaters to open on February 5, 1921. The lobby boasts four 50-foot murals by American Modernist James Daugherty – the only works by this artist that remain where they were originally painted.
Staged by community members determine to save the theaters, the two-year run (1973-1975) of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris in the KeyBank State Theatre’s Ireland Lobby proved that audiences would return to downtown for entertainment, building faith among business leaders that the endeavor was worthwhile.
Opened February 14, 1921
The first of the five historic Playhouse Square theaters to be restored, the Mimi Ohio Theatre was badly damaged by fire in 1964. The auditorium was salvageable, but the lobby was completely destroyed. All of the original lobby ornamentation – the murals, ornate ceiling, columns, decorative fireplaces – was lost in the fire. During the theater’s early 1980s’ renovation, funding and time would not allow both the auditorium and lobby to be fully refurbished. While the auditorium was restored, a simple, contemporary design was created for the lobby.
Exhaustive research of the original drawings by architect Thomas Lamb, photo archives and a few remaining bits of ornamental plaster detail provided a thorough understanding of the space and informed the plan for re-creating the lobby. Great care was taken to ensure each element – from the carpeting and millwork to the detailed ceiling and murals - was reproduced as faithfully as possible, while at the same time taking into consideration the needs and preferences of today’s audiences. Artisans at Evergreene Architectural Arts hand-sculpted prototypes using authentic, Old World techniques in order to make plaster reproductions of the ornamental detail. The re-created George Gund Foundation Lobby was unveiled in 2016.