Owners renovate Woodward Theater

By: Allison Wisyanski ~Staff Writer~

Woodward Theater, the Over- The-Rhine live music venue, officially reopened for business on Nov. 7.

Owners Dan McCabe, Christopher Schadler, Chris Varias and Matt Barth, who also own MOTR Pub across the street, have renovated the 101-year-old building and transformed it into a beaux-arts style theater.

Located at 1404 Main St., the theater will serve to entertain its guests with new artists. Its original orchestra pit and overhanging balcony have been preserved, so guests will still get a bird’s-eye view of the band.

The Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) and the Hamilton County Development Center (HCDC) Business Lending funded the $1.25 million dollar project. Both organizations have expressed their pride in helping Woodward Music Theater open up to the public. “The Woodward Theater complements the entertainment and arts district while rescuing a rich piece of Cincinnati history,” Jeanne Golliher, president of the CDF, said.

“We’re proud to be a part of this specific project and look forward to seeing what kind of great musical acts – and their fans – come to this great, renewed Over-The-Rhine venue as a result,” she said.

Woodward Theater - cincinnati dot com
Business partners Chris Schadler (left) and Dan McCabe (right) stand in front of the renovated Woodward Theater

“It can be challenging for growing small businesses to access the capital to expand particularly in redeveloping areas. We are proud to partner on the Woodward Theater and provide the long-term, fixed rate financing needed to make this project work,” David K. Main, president of the HCDC, said.

The new partnership between Woodward Theater and its nonprofit lenders will “put the Woodward Theater back to work as a catalyst for Main Street, the regional gateway to Cincinnati’s historic Over-The-Rhine,” McCabe said in a press release.

The venue fits approximately 600 people and the shows will last from 7 p.m. to around 11 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Headliners for free shows at MOTR usually occur around 10 p.m.

The MOTR ownership group aims to represent Cincinnati’s live music culture.

“The new venue will fill a niche in the city’s music community as a place for artists who’ve outgrown neighborhood bars and are ready to graduate to a larger room,” McCabe said.

With the loans in place, the theater successfully opened and has already hosted a few shows, with artists such as San Fermin, Michael Paskalev and Johnny Marr.

Their upcoming shows include Fluffer on Nov. 21, The Tigerlilies on Nov. 22 and Ohio Knife on Nov. 26.