Santa Claus was good to Big Dog Theater, the improv/comedy production group whose plans to open in the Centrum Theater in Cleveland Heights’ Coventry Village were waylaid by building inspection issues. After working for more than two months toward an October 1 opening, Big Dog director Don Mitri learned a few days prior that a variance received by previous occupants to allow them to operate without an elevator to the second floor would not carry over. Big Dog won its case and received its occupancy permit a few days before Christmas.
It’s now planning the delayed opening for Saturday, February 19, a date Mitri says is “90 percent sure,” depending on the availability of all the members of the Irregulars, the team of local comics scheduled for the original opening. Meanwhile, both house improv teams — Thunderlips and the Submissives, doing short-form improv, and Good Dinner Party, doing long-form — have been practicing and are ready to go. Improv classes will start in the group’s ground-floor studio space in early February.
Since Big Dog’s originally scheduled opening, the Centrum, which also houses City & East Hookah Bar, saw the opening of gastropub Fracas in December, creating a veritable entertainment complex. “The whole building is alive,” says Mitri. “We’re excited to finally be on the positive side.” — Anastasia Pantsios