Norwalk Theatre

57 E. Main Street,
Norwalk, OH 44857

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Showing 1 - 25 of 58 comments

coriolanus on June 6, 2019 at 3:44 pm

This theatre has once again been sold for $35,000 to two local women. It will become the “Norwalk Arts Center LLC.” The interior is in rough shape and has not been heated or air-conditioned in some years. The roof has also had some issues and will need replacing. The stage floor is buckled due to water damage and the lighting system no longer operates. Unsure as to the former sound system. The carbon arc projectors remain but have not been operated for a long time. The plans are to repair and re-open with children’s theatre, other events and classes.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on March 16, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Added some pictures from the Norwalk Theatre Facebook page.

coriolanus on March 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm

The new owner has been doing some interior/exterior work however the building appears to be without central heating at the present time. The owner has done some repair work on the marquee and removed some exterior paint on the front of the building to reveal the original stencil work and color. On the inside, the panels over the “half-wainscotting” have been removed which would tend to have lighting from the interior lobby spill into the auditorium. There is a Facebook Page—(type in the search box “The Norwalk Theatre” and there should be some photos. No event for the building has been set up as far as I know. Regarding the balcony carpeting: this was the original floorcovering from when the theatre was constructed. As the balcony wasn’t open that frequently, it remained in relatively good shape and the original color was still bright.

jukingeo on March 13, 2014 at 2:17 am

@coriolanus Have you heard any updates in regards to the Norwalk Theatre? From reading your updates, it sounds like the current owner has fixed or is fixing the roof. That is a plus. But I am curious to hear more about anything new. I am hoping the new owner is going to care for this building. Unlike the prior owners which nearly destroyed the place.

To other’s reading: I can concur with Coriolanus as being one of the persons interested in the theatre when Towne And Country was selling the theater. When I looked at the building in 2006, it was pretty much turn-key. The building did need work, but it was very much usable and in good condition. When I was there the building only needed the ceiling repainted, the balcony carpet redone and some update work needed in the dressing room areas. Everything else was fine. What more is that the projection booth had two original carbon arc projectors in excellent running condition.

The sign did need some minor work, but let me tell you when the owners (Towne And Country) lit that marquee up for me it was like a scene from the movie “The Majestic”. I was just floored. They simply don’t make marquee’s like that of the Norwalk anymore. In fact that night as people drove by, they slowed down to get a good look thinking perhaps something was going on.

I really hope to God that something is done with this place as it would be a tremendous loss if it is let go to waste. It truly is a beautiful place and a snapshot from history as the building still contained many original fixtures (at lest when I visited in 2006).


coriolanus on June 4, 2013 at 3:26 am

Between the years of 2006-2010, the were a few “volunteers” who provided gratis services during that period. There were also 4 different managers for the theatre, not including those who were interviewed for that position. Bartering for goods/services in return for advertising was also, I believe, an issue which eventually didn’t sit well with the local population. During the Schine years, prior to 1971, the theatre HIRED local people to work in part-time positions. If a business is a “for profit” entity, it’s an unwise business move to ask for volunteer workers.

EHaug on May 11, 2013 at 1:45 am

I have been associated with 3 owners of the theatre including the present one. All have been interested in making the theatre a success. Operating an older theatre is hard work and requires a lot of time, dedication, and money, and progress is sometimes slow. If you want the theatre to succeed – try volunteering your time and energy.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 22, 2013 at 1:28 am

In light of some previous comments, is this bad news for Fenton?

coriolanus on April 22, 2013 at 1:10 am

Interesting previous comment! The 2006 purchasers of the Norwalk Theatre were provided with a “turnkey” operation. Everything necessary (and more!) to begin providing live entertainment was included in the sale. The place was certainly not “a dump” as they may have told others. The building was absolutely clean. The 2006 purchasers visited the area several times and took photos of the premises so they knew exactly what they were purchasing. It is quite true that many things in the buildings were taken out and sold: original lighting fixtures in the lobby, racks of valuable costumes, the theatre organ and the grand piano are ones of which I’m aware. Unfortunately they also asked people to “donate” to their profit-making venture—which was NOT a 501©3 operation. Since the most recent sale in July 2012, besides the roofing repairs and some changing light bulbs, nothing else appears to have been done and there is no re-open date scheduled. Really sad as T & C Players, who had owned the building since 1974, filled the place for years with live shows and concerts.

Jdedjane on April 15, 2013 at 1:10 am

I managed the theater from 2007 until late 2008 under incredibly inept owners!! The LaFountains ran that place into the ground and alienated themselves from the community. I grew up in Norwalk and they hired me to work with the community to help out their already soiled reputation. They were not even from Ohio and enjoyed selling most of the valuable out of the theater in order to “make back the money that they lost in buying the dump.” ( their NOT mine) I ended up quitting because they refused to pay me and ended up owing me over $300 for the hard work and sweat equity that I and my family put into that place to see it succeed. They left a bad taste in a lot of peoples mouths. I have high hopes for the new owners but they have to fork out the money for the damage that the LaFountains let happen by refusing to fix the roof after I had SEVERAL contactors come in to give them estimates. They thought that because they had a 5 screen movie theater in Michigan that they could run this place. I have so many other stories about their blatant neglect of this beautiful building.

coriolanus on December 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Update on the Norwalk Theatre: the new owner has begun repairing the roof on the building. No doubt there will be a great deal of interior work to deal with as well. There doesn’t appear to be a re-open date available yet but it’s a step in the right direction!

coriolanus on August 25, 2012 at 5:05 am

The theatre was purchased by a local man but the transfer hasn’t yet taken place according to the county auditor’s website. Default on mortgage and property taxes resulted in the low sale price. Judging from the interior and exterior appearance, it will take many $$$ to clean and restore.

jukingeo on August 18, 2012 at 9:05 pm

So the theatre was bought? By whom? I sure hope that it is someone that will do good and perhaps bring some business to the theatre. I am amazed that it was sold for just $30,000. Back when I was interested in the place, I was looking at another ‘0’ attached to that figure.

Sorry to hear that the prior owners didn’t do much to fix the place up. I was aware that ceiling needing repairing, when I looked at the place, but there weren’t any leaks.

I am crossing my fingers that whomever bought the place will do right and fix it up properly and finally get some good acts there.

I tell you, I wish the bottom didn’t fall out on my end (financially). I think I could have worked wonders with this place.

coriolanus on August 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm

The Norwalk Theatre was sold at auction on 7/31/2012 for $30,000, pending approval of the court.

coriolanus on July 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm

The theatre has been closed since autumn 2011. The interior & exterior were not maintained. Water damage is evident on the ceiling and stage floor. A portion of the marquee is falling apart. A for-profit children’s theatre group was involved for a while but little maintainence (or cleaning) was done since the building was sold by Towne & Country in November 2006.

jukingeo on July 21, 2012 at 2:42 am

Couple changes to my post: I meant to say “not in operation” in the 5th line down. Also it was “Towne And Country”, forgot the ‘e’. Finally the nice gentleman I was referring too was Ronn. Sorry about that, it just took a while for me to jar my memory banks as I am somewhat flustered about the news of this theatre closing.


jukingeo on July 21, 2012 at 2:25 am

Status: CLOSED??? When did this happen? I visited the theatre back in 2006 when I was thinking about buying it for live performances. Town & Country was the company that had it at the time. The guy who ran the theatre (back then) was an extremely nice gentleman and gave me a tour of the whole building. Sheesh I really hate to see this theatre in in operation or looked after. I don’t want to see this place fall into disrepair. It is such a charming, well preserved Art Deco theatre.

Sadly though, I feel powerless to help as now I have financial troubles of my own.

This is very sad news.

coriolanus on July 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm

This theatre is now being offered at auction at the end of July 2012.

coriolanus on December 31, 2011 at 7:41 pm

According to notices posted on the doors to this theatre, it has closed and is in receivership with a Cleveland-based commercial real estate company.

ssteve on April 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Hi Steve Patrick,
If you would like information about the Norwalk Theatre please give us a call, we are the current owners. We do have it listed with a realtor, but are still operating it with about 1-3 events per month. We have no intention of closing it up as we are gaining some good momentum and a good following with the community. This theatre has tons of potential, we just live too far away to make it all happen. We have some wonderful, loyal volunteers in place that have been with us for about 3 years now. Our number is (269) 343-5932. We are open to creative ideas, such as leasing the theatre, partnering, etc. If anyone is interested please give us a call. Steve

coriolanus on September 23, 2010 at 3:39 am

The theatre was sold in November 2006 to out-of-state buyers. Yes, the theatre is currently listed with a local realtor. Unfortunately both the organ and grand piano have been sold as well as the large inventory of costumes. No original volunteers or employees are affiliated with the Main Street Theatre.

jwsnasa on September 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm

The theater is still very much in use. (I live right around the corner). They occasionally screen movies but mix them with music, comedy, and other live acts. I just saw a Kiss tribute band and a local country recording artist there in early summer. A Grease sing-a-long and a showing of Rocky Horror are coming up.

That said, for the 10 years I’ve been here there’s always a for-sale sign on the front. Don’t know any details, but it does give it an air of reluctant ownership and management. It could certainly be more active.

Projection Boy mentioned the organ being gone. That would be a shame. I know it was still there, and very much in use, 4-5 years ago, so I hope he was mistaken.

stevepatrick on September 14, 2010 at 1:08 am

Any updates on this theater? Can’t open their web site.

Dramatrauma on May 13, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Ssteve I hope the town comes out to support teh venue while you find a new owner. In the meantime, the website listed is not opening. I assume your adding information for potential buyers (and us movie theater lookie loos)

ssteve on May 5, 2010 at 3:29 am

Hi Schine Historian,
The Norwalk Theatre is still for sale, but still going strong. We are giving it all the love and respect that we can afford to at this time. Wish the Community would understand that giving the theatre love and respect is a two way street. They need to support what we are doing there in order to provide us with the funds to keep giving it love. Wish that for-profit entities could have access to the taxpayers money that non-profits do to be able to help with upkeep of this beautiful theatre. Anyone interested in purchasing the theatre can contact us at (269) 343-5932.

Karen Colizzi Noonan
Karen Colizzi Noonan on November 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Any new developments? This is a beautiful Eberson designed theater – is anyone giving it the love and respect it deserves today?