Cincinnati's Music Hall Named Ohio's 'Historic Theater of the Year'

One year after the completion of its 16-month, $143 million renovations, Music Hall wins high praise from historic preservation organization Heritage Ohio

Oct 31, 2018 at 10:48 am
click to enlarge Music Hall - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Music Hall

The major renovation of Music Hall isn't only paying off by creating a great audio/visual experience for patrons. It is also helping the historic Cincinnati venue beef up its trophy case.

At a ceremony in Cleveland on Oct. 23, Music Hall received the "Historic Theater of the Year" award from Heritage Ohio, a historic preservation organization. The award honors theaters in the state that have undergone "ambitious and successful" rehabilitation, according to a press release, making Music Hall's victory a no-brainer.

The venue — built in 1878 and home to performances by vanguard Cincinnati arts institutions like the Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra — closed in 2016 for its 16-month, $143 million renovation, re-opening one year ago this month. 

“We were thrilled to recognize Cincinnati's Music Hall,” said Joyce Barrett, Executive Director of Heritage Ohio, in the press release. "As a National Historic Landmark, the importance of this rehabilitation has national significance. It is a spectacular place, and a stunning example of historic preservation." 

“Nearly everything is subject to the change of fashion and time,” Otto M. Budig, Jr., Chairman of the Music Hall Revitalization Company, said of the importance of the massive renovation project. “Although life is short, the revitalization of Music Hall will provide generations yet to be born a home for the arts, which has been saved by an uprising of love from the community it serves. I was honored to lead this effort.”

Oh, and since it's Halloween, we'll remind you that Music Hall is (allegedly!) haunted (read more here and here). In 2010, Judy Knuckles of Cincinnati Research and Paranormal Studies told CityBeat, "Cincinnati Music Hall is certainly one of the more active locations for hauntings in the city."

Fittingly, tonight Music Hall is hosting the "Wake the Dead Bash" featuring the "spine-tingling Mighty Wurlitzer." Presented by the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall, the party in the venue's Grand Ballroom will feature Trent Sims playing spooky tunes on the Wurlitzer theatre organ, drinks by Cincinnati's favorite bartender, entrepreneur Molly Wellmann, and much more. Click here for tickets/more info. From the description: "Paranormal enthusiasts welcome. Costumes and masks are encouraged but not required."