By Jeffrey Ullom (auth.)
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Additional info for America’s First Regional Theatre: The Cleveland Play House and Its Search for a Home
Press coverage of the Kokoon Arts Club’s efforts primarily focused upon their social events, as exhibited in the description of the January 1913 “bal masque:” Cleveland art folk are awhirl with preparations for the bal masque to be given the evening of Jan. 17. . It is promised that the affair will be the most pretentious in matter of costuming of any mask dance ever given in Cleveland. . 36 It is clear that within a few years of its founding, the Kokoon Arts Club began to shift its identity away from a selective, process-oriented arts group to one that was willing to define its success through product and popularity, becoming a spectacle in the process.
14 By 1900, more than 260 homes lined Euclid Avenue between downtown and Ninetieth Street, but the famed boulevard would soon endure a rapid decline, thanks to the encroachment of commercialism and a progressive mayor who failed to heed the elite’s demands for isolation. Residents of Euclid Avenue not only fought and lost the battle to allow electric streetcars passage on their boulevard, but their concerns for their imminent demise were compounded by the advancement of commerce. 15 The stretch between Ninth and Fifty-Fifth Streets, once deemed a lush and isolated location, quickly transformed into a busy thoroughfare for public transportation, causing many of the original “Millionaire’s Row” residents to sell or abandon their homes in favor of newly established suburbs further Building the House 15 east of downtown.
19 Even though a house seemed like an odd location for a theatre, it was a practical decision in the sense that they had nowhere else to go. However, after looking at the biographies of the major figures involved with the Play House’s origins, the decision to utilize the Ammon House is emblematic not only of the founders’ place in society, but also how the city in return would have viewed their endeavors. IDENTIFYING THE PARTICIPANTS AND THEIR CONNECTIONS The story behind the gathering of supporters in the Brooks’ house begins with the touching efforts of a loving husband to entertain his invalid wife.