By Lisa Martin
Nestled in a quaint, country setting of 150 acres in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, at the Blossom Music Center lies the smaller, more intimate Porthouse Theatre.
The Porthouse Theatre is an outdoor amphitheater which boasts a capacity of 500 seats, and has been a part of the Blossom Music Center since 1969. It is staffed with students and alumni from local Kent State University theater majors. This affiliation offers the students hands-on experience to include in their resumes.
“The theater provides for a truly all-encompassing entertainment experience. You can pay one price for a ticket and bring your dinner. It is relaxing,” said Joani Koneval, director of marketing.
The venue offers theater-goers the opportunity to dine under umbrellas or in the pavilions prior to the show. One can hear an orchestra of birds and see plenty of couples and groups from small to large sharing in picnic food and the often-present bottle of wine, which would round out any spirited evening out about the town.
“What we like about the theater are the weather, the performers, the reasonable cost and all the sociable people,” said Peg Minor, resident of Cuyahoga Falls. Peg has been attending Porthouse Theatre for about the past five years. She and three of her friends arrive about five hours prior to the show and share dinner, wine, and a few hands of the card game, “May I.”
Porthouse attracts many season tickets holders, such as Chuck and Alice Ferrell.
“There are other, bigger venues such as the EJ Thomas and Greystone theaters in Akron, but we enjoy Porthouse because you can’t get bad seats,” he said, and his wife, Alice, agreed. “The only bad things about it are that we wish there were more performances and sometimes exiting the parking lot, when there’s also a show at Blossom, becomes difficult.”
More about the theater can be found online at The Porthouse Theatre, but staff is knowledgeable about its history as well.
“The Porthouse Theatre was founded in 1969 and is in its 48th season. They began doing full-length productions in 1970,” said Dan Ebert, a current KSU student and Porthouse Theatre box office employee. “The theatre is staffed by KSU students and alumni. There are usually four to five students and alumni performers in a show.” This affiliation allows local citizens the opportunity to support both the theater and the university.
Sean Lucas, a KSU graduate from the class of 2014, is a theater major and now works at Porthouse.
“I would like to go into voice over, so this is a good experience for me,” he said. The theater offers a lot to locals, both students and citizens.
The Porthouse Theatre contains amenities such as picnic tables, umbrella tables, group tables, pavilions, a lush green lawn and public restrooms. It is handicap accessible. Theater tickets and ticket packages range from $22 for a one-night show to $93 for a season gift package.