Cleveland Play House

The Cleveland Play House (CPH) has been one of the premiere theatres in America.  Since 1915, CPH has entertained over 12 million people in over 1600 stage productions and has held over 100 domestic and international premiere shows.  CPH is America’s first Regional Theatre located in the nation’s 2nd largest theatre district with 3 award-winning and modern venues.

Its three core values are Lifelong Learning, Artistry and Community.  These tenets are clearly reflected in its rich history and diverse performances, staff, productions and long track record of work in the Cleveland Community.


The Cleveland Playhouse was established in 1915 by Charles and Minerva Brooks and Raymond O’Neil.  Francis Drury donated the Ammon House as CPH’s first headquarters.  The first performance took place May 1916 and the motto “Art in Democracy” was adopted.  In 1917 the CPH acquired and converted a church on East 73rd Street and Cedar.  The first production there was The Garden of Semiramis.

Famed actress Margaret Hamilton made her stage debut at CPH and is best known for her iconic role as The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. The CPH has made theatrical history on many occasions.  CPH was the first Theatre to offer a course that counted for college credit in 1931 at Case Western Reserve University.  America’s first Children’s Theatre was started in 1933 which later became known as the “Curtain Pullers” whose focus was to provide free theatre education for Cleveland area youth.

In 1960 The Ford Foundation presents the CPH with a grant of $130,000 to form and tour an apprentice company called the Ford Foundation Ensemble which included Alan Alda of M.A.S.H. Fame who went on to have a long and distinguished career.  In 1988, CPH directed a redux of Born Yesterday which featured Ed Asner and ended up having a successful Broadway run and a Tony nomination. The following year CPH was the first theatre to run The Glass Menagerie with an African-American cast.In 2015, the CPH won the Regional Theatre Tony Award.


The Cleveland Play House would not be able to operate without the generosity of its sponsors.  Some of the more notable sponsors and benefactors include Key Bank, United Way, Bank of America, Great Lakes Brewery, Cleveland Cinemas, Huntington Bank and The Plain Dealer.

Others include Oswald, General Electric, The Lubrizol Foundation  Lincoln Electric, Ambiance, Giant Eagle, Dollar Bank, Dominion Energy, Nordson, University Hospital, Metrohealth and Hardrock Rocksino.


The Cleveland Play House has been known for its commitment to promotion Theatrical Education for all ages for many years.  In addition to having programs for school children through its Classroom Matinees, CARE and Drama Club, CPH has an MFA program at Case Western Reserve University.  CPH offers classes for aspiring theatre professionals and lovers of the theatre.  Many of these courses are free of charge.


The Cleveland Playhouse has a full calendar of events that are packed full of programming that appeals to most audiences. As the CPH enters its 2nd century of service, the future looks bright for one of America’s finest and decorated theaters.  Please visit to find out more about CPH.

Cleveland Play House
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