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Renaissance Theatre


In the 1920's, Hollywood was booming. Movies were immensely popular, and motion picture studios were building magnificent theatres all across the country. With a population of about 30,000 in 1927, Mansfield, Ohio, located in the heart of north central Ohio, seemed an ideal spot for a majestic movie house. And so the Warner Management Company spent $500,000 to build the Ohio Theatre. Despite near blizzard-like conditions, the Mansfield News reported that thousands thronged to the theatre for the initial performance on January 19, 1928. Billed as "a temple of amusement for the benefit of the people of Mansfield," first-nighters marveled at the beauty of the new theatre. There were marble floors and stairways, lead crystal chandeliers, and a $40,000 Kimball Organ which was lowered into the orchestra pit after use.

The opening night show was typical of many offerings at theatres of the day with an organ concert before the show. After the organ music, there was a newsreel, followed by a two-reel comedy and three acts of vaudeville. Finally, the featured picture: Clara Bow in Get Your Man.

During the first two decades of The Ohio's life, the theatre occupied center stage in the unfolding drama of the city's life. Films such as The Wizard of Oz, the Marx Brothers' classic comedy A Night at the Opera, and Casablanca made their Mansfield debuts at the Ohio Theatre. Live performers such as Will Rogers, Harry Blackstone, Sr. and Fanny Brice also appeared here in the 1930's.

Renaissance Theatre is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media


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