Built in 1928, the Midland Theater has become the leading location for the arts in Licking County, Ohio and the surrounding area. It offers inspiring and assorted live performances. People can come to the theater to see legendary musicians, dance, stage door cabaret performances and family entertainment. Touring and local artists are presented through the theater’s five performance series to inspire education in the arts and community outreach programs. The Midland Theater has set out to enhance the lives of their audiences.
The Midland Theater opened on December 20, 1928. Hundreds of people stood in line for hours in
the cold waiting to enter the new theater.
The show was just part of the reason for such a crowd. They also wanted to see the theater’s
interior. They were impressed with the
marble pillars they found inside along with the upholstered chairs. All inside the theater there was red velvet. There was red velvet carpet. The walls were covered with rose velvet and
gold fringe. There was even red velvet
on the stairway rails and orchestra pit.
The balcony was trimmed with lace.
A beautiful art glass chandelier hung from the ceiling.
For over 50 years the Midland Theater plaid movies from
Hollywood’s golden years. Some of the
movies played in the theater include “Gone With the Wind”, “Ben Hur”, and “Dr.
Zhivago”. On Saturday afternoons boys and
girls would fill the theater to watch the newest Tarzan or Superman films. The Theater didn’t just show movies. Over time it hosted some of the era’s top
performers like Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis and the Russian Ballet.
Due to decay and lack of attendance, the Midland Theater
closed its doors in 1978. The boilers
froze and cracked during a blizzard that year determining the theaters
fate. The theater remained vacant for 14
years. As the theater became more of a blot
on the landscape, discussion to demolish began.
In 1992, Dave Longaberger and the Longaberger Company bought the Midland
Theater. Eight years and $8.5 million
were spent to restore and renovate the theater.
Having no desire to actually operate the theater Dave Longaberger handed
the property over to the Newark Midland Theater Association.
The restored and renovated Midland Theater offers programs
to suit anyone’s interest.