A sharp-eyed patron recalls that the Aronoff Center holds three theaters, and in this response from the March 2013 issue, Dr. Know explains why it seems to have gone dark
There are three theaters inside the Aronoff Center for the Arts, but it seems as though the smallest one hasn’t featured any productions in a long time. Has it been abandoned? I saw some good performances there long ago.—Ticket Stub Collector Dear Collector:You are quite right. There are three theaters in the Aronoff Center for the Arts: the great big theater created to house the enormous Broadway musicals of the 1980s that relied on painfully over-amplified voices, real live helicopters, and gigantic crashing chandeliers to distract suburban audiences from their dopey plots; a medium-sized theater created to fill the rest of the Walnut Street block south of the enormous helicopter’n’crashing-chandelier theater, which was exactly the right size for chamber opera and commedia dell’arte but which is now used primarily for upbeat business lectures; and the wee tiny studio theater, a stageless space ostensibly created—but only rarely used—as a venue for the small but scrappy non-helicopter’n’crashing-chandelier theater crowd.
That final demographic favored other sites, giving rise to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Ensemble Theatre, and Know Theatre in less expensive and bureaucratic confines. This snub by the native, as opposed to the jobbed-in, theater types added to the note of disappointment that clings to the Aronoff Center, which was built by state-senatorial fiat and positioned to ensure that elderly patrons of a now-vanished and—in these days of better food and design—un-missed French restaurant did not need to break a sweat between the last bite of chocolate mousse and the first strains of Miss Saigon.
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