About Us

Palace History

1920s

Monday, November 22, 1926: The American public was enjoying the Charleston craze and motion pictures featuring the likes of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. Gasoline cost pennies a gallon, leaving funds available for an exciting night on the town. As such, in Downtown Canton, Ohio, amidst nine other local movie theatres, a standing-room-only crowd awaiting the opening of a “jewel in the crown,” Harry Harper Ink’s million-dollar vaudeville and movie house, The Canton Palace Theatre. The Theatre was a gift to the community from Ink, a local entrepreneur and industrialist who owned the Canton-based Tonsiline company, makers of a cough syrup formula marketed in unique giraffe-shaped bottles. The two giraffe plaques located above the proscenium arch are reminiscent of this motif.

Design

The Theatre was designed by the noted Austrian-born architect, John Eberson of Chicago, who achieved fame during the 1920s through his creation of “atmospheric” theatres located in cities across the United States, including Akron’s Civic Theatre. The Palace seeks to re-create a Spanish courtyard on a midsummer night. Its ceiling, a starry night with wisps of clouds, creates a dream effect. The Palace still has the original cloud machine that makes the clouds march continuously across the sky.

The Theatre includes an ornate columned proscenium arch over its stage, an elaborate fly system for the numerous stage curtains and theatrical backdrops, eleven dressing rooms, a chorus room, a musician’s lounge, a music room, one shower room, and an orchestra pit with seating for eighteen musicians. Moreover, at 21′ x 46′, the Palace’s silver screen remains the largest movie screen in Canton.

30s & 40s

Many famous stars of the stage and screen have trooped across the Palace’s stage in its lifetime, including George Burns, Jean Peters, and a host of other well-known show business personalities. During the 30s and 40s, the “Big Bands” were delighted to be booked into the auspicious theatre, with the Palace playing host to the Harry James and Count Basie orchestras. It was the perfect fantasy setting for all forms of entertainment.

60s & 70s

The 1960s and 70s witnessed a period of neglect and decay in Downtown Canton. The migration of businesses and stores to the suburbs, along with the growing popularity of television, diminished the Palace’s regular patronage. The Theatre’s doors were locked to the public and its marquee darkened on its 50th Anniversary in 1976.

Just one week before the building was slated for the wrecking ball, the Canton Jaycees stepped forward to act as the holding organization until a group of concerned citizens could be mobilized to make the Palace Theatre a viable business once again. The Palace was held in trust until The Canton Palace Theatre Association was formed. The building reopened in 1980 and the restoration of the theater has been ongoing since. To date, approximately four million dollars have been spent restoring the magnificence of the building and updating for the future.

TODAY

Today, the Palace is alive again, both the literal and figurative cornerstone of the Downtown Canton Arts District. A vital multi-purpose entertainment facility, its marquee burns brightly sixty feet above Market Avenue, welcoming you to enter its grand foyer and become a part of Canton’s nostalgic past. Hosting over 300 events a year, with an attendance of over 100,000 guests, the Palace also strives to be an important part of Canton’s future.

Staff & Board

The Canton Palace Theatre is led by a creative and energetic board of directors and talented staff.

Matt Halter / Chairperson
James Patterson / Executive Vice Chairperson
Patti Schott / Vice Chairperson
Cassie Ausperk / Co-Secretary
Keith Bennett / Co-Secretary
Jonathan Crawford / Treasurer

BOARD MEMBERS / Carla Derr, Gayle Kimbrough, Kimberly Kingsbury, Leslie Iams Kuntz, Stephen Mears, Heather Null, Dan Schrader, Brandon O. Trent, Ray VanMeter, Carol Krider Vaughn

Georgia Paxos

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

georgia@cantonpalacetheatre.org / 330.454.8172 x 305

Laura Strader

MARKETING AND MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR

laura@cantonpalacetheatre.org / 330.454.8172 x 302

Christopher Lesho

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

tech@cantonpalacetheatre.org / 330.454.8172 x 303

Kellie Lesho

EVENT STAFF

kellie@cantonpalacetheatre.org / 330.454.8172

The Kilgen Organ

One of the most famous attractions of the Palace Theatre is the mighty Kilgen Pipe Organ. It was originally used to provide accompaniment for the silent movies shown on the Palace Theatre screen. The Kilgen is one of only a few left in the country, and the only one left that remains in its original home.

Renting the Historic Canton Palace Theatre

When you’re looking for a space that combines vintage charm and classic beauty with state-of-the-art technology and superior guest services and amenities, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more unique venue in Stark County than the Canton Palace Theatre.

Located in the heart of Downtown Canton, the Palace Theatre provides modern comforts in an old world setting. The Theatre can accommodate large groups in our main auditorium, as well as intimate gatherings on the mezzanine level, and is perfect for:

Corporate Events

A inspiring space can be the catalyst for new energy and enthusiasm in the workplace. Rent the Palace for corporate meetings or retreats, in which you hope to call your employees or volunteers to a new level of ownership and enthusiasm. Or lean into the Theatre’s celebratory capacities as a way of thanking the people who work hard for your business, organization or institution each day. Annual meetings, sales conferences, team-building: we can host it here.

Private Screenings

Looking for a place to show your newest indie film to a couple of friends, family members, fellow artists and reviewers? Wanting to watch a favorite film on your anniversary with your spouse? Teaching a class on film and wanting to have a special experience for their final presentations? The Palace can help you out.

For rates and booking, contact Georgia Paxos, Executive Director, at 330-454-8172 or georgia@cantonpalacetheatre.org.

Live Events

We host bands, magicians, dance companies, film festivals, theatre companies, orchestras, graduations and much more. Whether you’re a musician, managing director, agent or tour company, speak with us about booking the Palace as a colorful stop on your tour or journey toward stardom.

Personal Life Events

Do you and your intended want to tie the knot in a place you’ll never forget? Is it time to honor someone retiring with a gracious party in an equally gracious location? Are you seeking a space in which to commemorate a loved one who has passed – with song, imagery and grandeur? The Palace Theatre, rich with history, is a fantastic venue in which to mark important moments in your history.

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