MXO ‘The Arts Unplugged:’ Akron Civic Reopening Included Fancy Gala And Community Open House!, Posted August 20th 2021

The Akron Civic Theatre, built in 1929, is one of the region’s most spectacular theaters, with its Moorish interior and its famous ceiling that depicts a night sky with stars and floating clouds. Many such theaters fell on hard times and were demolished. The Akron Civic fell on hard times and was restored and brought back to life, becoming a hub for events of all kinds in downtown Akron.

Recently, it completed another series of renovations and upgrades and celebrated its grand reopening. It started with a series of shows at its new 200-capacity Knight Stage and solo singer/songwriter Marc Lee Shannon Wednesday August 11, internationally acclaimed virtuoso guitarist Neil Zaza on Thursday August 12 and Akron band the Scenic Route on Friday August 13.

The celebration culminated with two big evenings this weekend: one a benefit for high rollers, the other a free chance for the general public to get a look at the changes.

The Spirits of the Civic benefit on Saturday August 14 started at 5:30pm with a private VIP reception, followed at 6:30 by what’s described as “an immersive gala experience.” Its theme was “The Great Gatsby Gala,” referencing the era the theater was built. Live jazz and big band music will fill the air with appropriate sounds, signature cocktails an hors d’oeuvres will be served and there’ll be an online auction feturing more than 100 items and experiences.

At 7, dinner was served, while ambient music and “amusements” filled every space in the building. At 9, everyone assemblde in the main auditorium for “decadent desserts” and an “official celebration meaning speeches. The desserts made those go down easily. Then there was dancing to big band music under the starry ceiling, café seating for kibbutzers and karaoke elsewhere in the building.

Don’t have that kind of money then visit the Akron Civic Theatre to gawk at the beautiful restoration that makes this old treasure glow again.