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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CAIN PARK THEATER - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CAIN PARK THEATER was the first municipally owned and operated outdoor theater in the U.S. Its genesis occurred in 1934, when Dr. DINA REES EVANS† (1891-1989), a dramatics instructor at Cleveland Hts. High School, began putting on student productions in a natural amphitheater in Cain Park, a wide ravine extending from Taylor Rd. along Superior Rd. to Lee Rd. in CLEVELAND HEIGHTS A permanent 3,000-seat open-air auditorium and 80' stagehouse were built by Italian stonemasons working under the WPA and dedicated on 10 Aug. 1938. A smaller 300-seat theater was added in 1944 and named the Alma after the wife of Cleveland Hts. mayor FRANK C. CAIN†, who was the namesake of the park. Under the direction of Evans, a theatrical company was formed to produce operettas and musicals, such as Kurt Weill's Knickerbocker Holiday. Among the theater's dramatic alumni are Hal Holbrook, Ross Hunter, and Dom DeLuise. A decline set in after the retirement of Evans in 1958, which was reversed after the filming of the United Artists film Those Lips, Those Eyes on location there in 1979 resulted in the restoration of lighting and sound systems. The revival was capped by the installation of a permanent canopy designed by van Dijk, Johnson & Partners over the outdoor amphitheater in 1989.

Evans, Dina Rees. Cain Park Theater (1980).

Last Modified: 10 Jul 1997 02:32:08 PM

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