Happy 90th birthday, Akron Civic Theatre! In honor of the milestone anniversary for “The Jewel of Main Street,” we are reprinting a Beacon Journal editorial from April 20, 1929, in which the debut of the 3,500-seat Loew’s Theater — as it then was known — was celebrated. Only 10 more years until the centennial!
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There was a time, not many years ago, when Akron people found it necessary to travel to other and larger cities when they desired to let the crimson curtains roll back and the stage lights gleam on a world of fantasy and romance, daring and adventure, where anything might happen and the prince always married the princess and lived happily ever after. Akron presented realism, the place where men worked, but only in the metropolis was the fairyland whose spangled lights told glamorous tales of gay adventurings that were always under way. The old order has changed now. For the citizen of Akron it is possible to combine one’s pleasure with one’s work within the same town, and not feel that the candles on the cake across the way have a merrier light!
Akron, today, in dedicating Loew’s new theater, is adding another institution of combined culture, entertainment and instruction to the substantial group that has been established within the last few years. She has learned that he who would work well must laugh often and relax often, and that therefore, it is necessary to have a ready access to entertainment. The Keith-Albee Palace erected a few years ago provided a necessary amusement outlet and the dedication of Loew’s new theater will assist in satisfying the growing need. Other playhouses, too, have developed on a worthwhile scale.
The magnificent new Loew’s theater represents an investment of upward of $2,000,000 to its owners. It is another splendid tribute from a far-sighted business concern to the greatness of the future which is before this community, and every citizen of Akron appreciates this tribute for its worth, and is grateful to the company which has made this addition to Akron’s public service enterprises.
The next step would be the establishment here of a great public hall where opera and concerts might find a fitting background. Akron has taken her rightful place as a world leader in industry and commerce. She has proved that a city may be ranked with those who achieve on a gigantic scale, whether she is situated on a waterway or not. She has contributed to the advancement of the nation in a large and material way. Now she has seen fit, in the last few years, to add larger playgrounds to the fields of toil.
A city that is normal and healthy must provide an outlet for the play nature of its citizens as well as give them a means of livelihood. Akron women no longer need don their most sparkling dresses and gayest slippers when they are going on a pilgrimage of many miles to worship at another city’s shrine of play and culture. They will find that Akron, too, has its Peacock Alley where a fashion parade may be staged. In brief, Akron, in the last few years, has learned that it is not enough to provide men with an opportunity to make a living. They must be given the materials with which to make a life, and music, literature and drama play a large role in this.
When Akron’s real public hall, standing now only in those remote distances where air castles merge into the stuff of which dreams are made, is erected, the culture development of an enterprising, successful and happy community will have been advanced greatly.