Thursday, March 4, 2010
This is MUSICARNIVAL!
This is a long gone memory for me. MUSICARNIVAL was located on Warrensville Center Road in Warrensville Heights Ohio from 1954 to the end of the 1975 season was it was dismantled. It was the first of the post WWII Tent theatres - a fad that swept the nation for a while - that hosted traveling Broadway shows and musical revues.
Every spring the tent cover would go up, although the mast and the cable structure stayed in place year round. The facility could hold 2,500 in the audience, the attraction being that it was "Theatre in the Round" and we all know what that means! Second and third tier talent belting out tunes from Oklahoma to Fiddler on the Roof (Robert Goulet is TEVIA!).
While it remained popular, two things killed MUSICARNIVAL. The first was the opening of the Frontrow Theatre in Highland Heights, which was year round facility with good freeway access. The other was race. Warrensville Heights was growing increasing African American by the 1970s and for a percentage of white Cleveland's in the 1970s, the riots of the 1960s weren't that far behind them that they could overlook it. So the curatin came down on the big tent, and then the tent came down as well.
However in the ever-glow memories of a summertime's past in an innocent world gone forever, MUSICARNIVAL remains, one of the memories that I still hold dear.