CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

METROPOLITAN THEATER

METROPOLITAN THEATER

The METROPOLITAN THEATER, on Euclid Ave. at E. 49th St., opened 31 Mar. 1913 with a performance of Aida, the first production in an 8-week season of opera in English. The opera house was planned by Max Faetkenheuer, musical director and entrepreneur sometimes called "the Oscar Hammerstein of Cleveland," who conducted the orchestra of the Lyceum Theater and presided over the openings of the Empire and Colonial vaudeville theaters in 1901 and 1903, respectively. He also promoted the construction of the HIPPODROME, 2nd-largest theater in America in 1907. The Metropolitan was designed by Cleveland architects Fulton & Taylor. Its auditorium, approximately 75'x100', seating nearly 2,000, was described in a contemporary account as "spacious yet cozy, modest yet elegant," and second only to the Hippodrome in beauty. The ornamental lobby, promenade, and wide aisles were especially notable.

The Metropolitan offered grand opera, musical comedy, orchestral concerts, and legitimate theater for several seasons. Soon it began showing films, including the 1916 premiere of The Perils of Society, a film made in Cleveland and enacted by the most prominent Cleveland citizens. However, the Metropolitan's location just west of E. 55th St. was not conducive to long-term success. Eventually the theater housed boxing matches and other special events. Between 1950-75 it became part of the radio station WHK Bldg. and served as its Studio I auditorium. After standing vacant for several years, except for a sporadic movie screening, it was remodeled in 1985 for use by the AGORA.