Our Main Stage
For a schedule of events on our Main Stage, see the 78th Season schedule.
Accommodating 262 audience members in comfortable cushioned seats, the Main Stage at CVLT is the primary venue for most of the theatre's productions and special events. The space has enjoyed an honorable history, featuring hundreds of productions - for a complete list, see CVLT's complete production history.
The main stage at 40 River Street opened in November of 1949 with the world premiere of How's Your Hooper? (referring to the Hooper television ratings scale, later eclipsed by Nielsen) written by Everett Rhodes Castle, a Cleveland Heights native who also wrote stories for the Saturday Evening Post.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s professional summer stock ran the theater. Such luminaries of the time as Howard da Silva, Robert and Alan Alda, Martyn Green, Ruth Chatterton, Ethel Waters, Lee Meriwether, and Diana Barrymore appeared on the stage. However, the small seating capacity of the building did not suffice to meet the actors' salaries. And that was when a ticket to the play was $1.75 and a complete dinner next door at 'Crane's Canary Cottage' (now the 'Inn at the Falls') was around $2.50! Chagrin Falls native Tim Conway appeared on the stage as 'Ensign Pulver' in Mr. Roberts in 1965, during his prominent stint in TV's McHale's Navy.
Local interior decorator Harry O. Uher showed CVLT how to mount multi-set shows and musicals - undertakings previously thought impossible. His staging of the play Auntie Mame and the musical Once Upon a Mattress began a new era. It is in his footsteps that the theatre's current technical director, Edmond Wolff, has followed, creating scenic and lighting designs to rival the area's best.
The 1970s saw the addition of the orchestra pit, a new stage floor, and the control booth. Previously, musicals had been accompanied by piano or small combo on the auditorium floor, and tech was run from a platform above the stage right entrance. The steel for the booth was procured by CVLT member Esma Eaton from Castle Steel, and the booth was built by Ralph Howarth and Bob Osolin from University School under the auspices of Rollin DeVere.
In 1980, all new seats were installed after a campaign of "$50 for the 50th Season". Actually, each seat cost $79, but "$79 for the 50th" didn't have a ring to it. The 1980s and 90s also saw the upgrading of the sound and lighting systems, plus the installation of new heating/cooling units.
Throughout these projects, the CVLT Women's Committee has always been a stalwart supporter with its generous contributions.