Filed Under Entertainment

Hanna Theatre

The Hanna complex, located in Playhouse Square, consists of the main building and the Annex, which connects the two buildings across Brownell Court. The structure was completed in 1921 and contains a total of 400,000 square feet. It was originally owned by Carl Hanna, grandson of industrialist and politician Marcus Alonzo Hanna, and the M.A. Hanna estate. In November 1958 the property was bought by T.W. Grogan, Vice-President and secretary of the Hanna Building.

Starting in 1945, the building went through its first three-phased modernization. The first phase was a complete renovation of the Continental Restaurant on the ground floor. The second phase was the modernization of the Hanna Theatre, located in the Annex. The final phase, in 1948, involved installing elevator units for the building. This took approximately 18 months to complete. The Hanna Building incorporated a top-of-the-line system by the Otis Elevator Company which used an electric brain to dispatch the elevators. This brain, the first in Cleveland and one of the first anywhere in the world, was state of the art and designed to pick up stray passengers left behind during the elevator rush hour.

By 1968, 85,000 square feet of office space had become a travel-related hub. The offices of twelve international airlines were located in the building, making it the largest airline conglomeration between Chicago and New York City. With the additional steamship and other various travel offices, there were a total of 24 travel companies in the Hanna Building.

Throughout its history the Hanna Theatre has been a major theater in the United States, attracting notable stars such as Katharine Hepburn. On April 26, 1971 a bomb was thrown outside the theater to protest the production of the play "Hair." The bomb bounced off the marquee and shattered windows in the Hanna Building and nearby storefronts.

The Hanna Building and Annex were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 as a part of the Playhouse Square Group, the second largest theater complex in the United States after New York City's. In January 2008 the Hanna Theatre underwent a thorough renovation, bringing the theater into the 21st century.

Images

Hanna Theatre Marquee, 1971 The Hanna Theatre Marquee in December 1971. Katharine Hepburn was then appearing in "Coco" at the theater. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Hanna Building A view of the Hanna Building from April 3, 1923 Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Shopping For Seats, 1958 The caption for this 1958 photograph reads: "Hanna subscriptions now are being sold at shopping centers from a mobile unit. A giant chart helps customers pick good seats. Jon Essex, the theater's traveling ticket agent, explains the chart at Shoregate to Miss Pat Frazier, 536 Fairway Rd. A three-day visit will be made to Parmatown starting Thursday. The following two weeks it will be at Turneygate and Southgate. If you are interested in the subscription plan, which is as low as $21.10 per season, use the coupon below for further information." Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: August 19, 1958
Redecorated Lobby, 1971 A view of the Hanna Theatre lobby. The redecorated lobby is shown here on June 1, 1971, a mere month after the bombing of the theater's marquee during a performance of "Hair." Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Souvenir Program A program from opening night at the Hanna Theatre on March 28, 1921 Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Marcus Hanna The Hanna Building was built as a memorial to U.S. Senator Marcus Hanna. Marcus Hanna grew up in the Cleveland area and earned his fortune as a shipping magnate and broker serving the iron and coal industries of Cleveland during the 1860s and 1870s. During the 1880s Hanna transitioned into politics by successfully helping William McKinley win the 1891 and 1893 Ohio gubernatorial elections, as well as the 1896 and 1900 presidential election. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1897 and served there until his death from typhoid fever in 1904. Hanna became famed for the quote, "There are two important things in politics. The first is the money and I can't remember what the second is." Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
Marquee After Bombing On April 25, 1971 a bomb was thrown at the marquee of the Hanna Theatre, causing a limited degree of damage. The bombers were protesting the production of the musical "Hair." This photo was taken the day after the bomb. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
The Hanna Curtain It was common practice for traveling theater companies to leave a mark backstage on theater curtains. Here the cast of "Godspell" is installing their mark. Today this curtain resides in Special Collections on the third floor of the Michael Schwartz library at Cleveland State University. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Hanna Theatre Marquee The Hanna Theatre Marquee on August 9, 1948. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Special Collections

Location

2067 E 14th St, Cleveland, OH 44115

Metadata

“Hanna Theatre,” Cleveland Historical, accessed November 29, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/index.php/items/show/243.