In my latest Mirror Lake small-town romance that released this week, This Loving Feeling, there is a fabulous old theater from the 1920’s that’s in need of restoration. It’s a big, splendid “Movie Palace” from the 1920’s, and it’s modeled after one in my very own hometown.
This theater, smack in the middle of Main Street, is spectacular! It’s built to look like a Moorish Castle, complete with intricate plasterwork, European antiques and alabaster sculptures. The grand staircase is modeled after one in a French opera house. If you love old historic things and you’re ever in Akron, Ohio, go on the backstage tour! It’s a feast for the eyes…and heart.
The feature about this theater that most captured my imagination was its ceiling–called an “atmospheric theater,” it’s one of 16 designed by famed theater architect John Eberson in the 1920’s. Only 5 of these remarkable ceilings survive today: the entire theater has an overhead dome covered with fiberoptic stars and clouds that lazily drift by. You can literally spend the entire time you’re there staring up at the gorgeous “sky” which creates the illusion of being outdoors in a Moorish garden on a clear, starry night. Completely awesome!
Very romantic, yes? Well, I did take advantage of that in my book, but I’m not going to tell you how. You’ll have to read it to find out 🙂
For most of my life as a mom, the theater was home to my daughters’ yearly dance recitals. Big events came there, like the Nutcracker at Christmas and intriguing speakers like David Sedaris. Today, it continues to be a community anchor, home of many wonderful events–musicals, bands, workshops, etc. My city does indeed think of it as “The Jewel on Main Street,” which is how Marcus Loew, (the founder of Loew’s theaters and the one who opened it) referred to it.
My photos are paltry compared to the ones in this article, which tells amusing anecdotes and interesting history about the theater, like about Loretta the ornery macaw, who lives on in taxidermy and in the fantastic pattern on the carpet.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed researching this theater. I hope these pics give you a better idea of what a gem it is and how proud my city is to be home to this gorgeous building!
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For more about This Loving Feeling, visit the Harlequin Junkie blog, where this past week I did a fun in-depth interview with excerpts.