The OHIO THEATER, 1511 Euclid Ave., opened on 14 Feb. 1921. Its architect was Thos. Lamb and its interior decorator, Philip Garbo. The Ohio was built by the Fleishman Constr. Co. of New York. Originally designed as a legitimate theater, it was decorated in the Italian Renaissance style with an elegant green-and-ivory color scheme. In the foyer, 3 murals by Italian artist Sampitrotti depicted the story of Venus. The paintings in the balcony were by P. Pizzi, representing scenes in Arcady. The 1,000-seat auditorium emulated 14th-century Venice. Under the management of local playwright, Robert McLaughlin, the Ohio hosted a stock company and Broadway road shows in the 1920s.
In 1935 the theater was redecorated in the Art Deco style and reopened as a supper club called the Mayfair Casino. The owners hoped that gambling would be allowed in the city, and when it wasn't, they were forced to close in 1936. The Ohio reopened in 1943 (with its original decor) as part of the Loew's movie chain. In 1964 a fire gutted the lobby, necessitating another redecoration, in which everything was painted red to hide smoke damage.
Like other movie theaters downtown it lost patronage, and closed the first week of Feb. 1969. Saved from destruction when the Playhouse Square Assn. (see PLAYHOUSE SQUARE) was formed in 1970, the Ohio was placed on the Natl. Register of Historic Places in Oct. 1978. Renovated as the home for the GREAT LAKES THEATER FESTIVAL, the Ohio reopened with Shakespeare's As You Like It on 9 July 1982 after 9 months of restoration costing $4 million. In 2016, the Playhouse Square Assn. re-created the original 1921 lobby, using donations from the GEORGE GUND FOUNDATION. The complex is now known as The Mimi Ohio Theater.
Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio (The Red Book) (1975).
Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio (The Blue Book) (1984).
"Playhouse Square Foundation Fact Sheet" (Volunteer Guide) (1981).