Case Western Reserve University’s Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at the Temple–Tifereth Israel debuts new wing

Almost two years to the day since breaking ground on Phase II of the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at the Temple–Tifereth Israel, Case Western Reserve University’s newly expanded facility is ready to be unveiled.

A private grand opening dedication—complete with student performances—is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 13) at the Maltz Center.

The Maltz Center’s latest transformation includes a Grand Atrium with a café, the Walter and Jean Kalberer Black Box Theatre with 100 moveable seats, and the 250-seat Roe Green Proscenium Theatre.

Photo of the Roe Green Proscenium Theatre
Roe Green Proscenium Theatre

Roe Green’s fondness for her late father, alumnus Judge Ben C. Green (LAW ‘30), has made her a devoted supporter of Case Western Reserve over the years, but it was her lifelong love of theater that inspired her to donate $10 million to Phase II of this project. Green said she is “thrilled to contribute to [Cleveland’s] cultural landscape” through the proscenium theatre.

“This is really Barbara’s dream come to fruition; it’s part of her legacy as a civic leader,” said Green, speaking of Case Western Reserve University President Emerita Barbara R. Snyder who, during her tenure, initiated the university’s partnership with The Temple–Tifereth Israel, out of which the Maltz Performing Arts Center was born.

Alumni Walter E. (ADL ‘55) and Jean C. (FSM ‘55, LAW ‘81) Kalberer, for whom the black box theatre is named, added: “This is the perfect tribute to Barbara, and to all the incredible work she did for Case Western Reserve.”

“Everyone needs art,” Jean Kalberer said. “Music and theater comfort us during the difficult times like we’re facing now, they cross over political divides, and they are critical to helping people, especially young people, figure out how they relate to the world around them.”

Photo of the Walter and Jean Kalberer Black Box Theatre
Walter and Jean Kalberer Black Box Theatre

As the new home for Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Theater, the renovation also added much-needed office space, rehearsal studios and practice rooms, as well as costume and scene shops.

“Phase II of the Maltz Performing Arts Center is truly a game-changing opportunity for the Department of Theater,” said Jerrold Scott, the department’s chair and producing director, and the Katharine Bakeless Nason Professor of Theater and Drama. “As one of the oldest academic theater programs in the United States, we have been limited by also being housed in one of the oldest buildings on campus—the historic Eldred Hall. With the opening of Phase II, the department and our students have a facility worthy of our national ranking in The Hollywood Reporter‘s top drama programs.”

The Maltz Performing Arts Center comes with its own history, having been converted from a synagogue built in 1924. The Byzantine-style temple was home to the Tifereth Israel congregation and, almost 100 years later, special services still take place in Silver Hall.

Phase I of the renovation began in 2014 and in September 2015, a redesigned Silver Hall reopened with an acoustic canopy, accessibility upgrades, and an adjustable stage, along with a small recital hall, added sound and light control rooms, and double the number of original bathrooms.

Photo showing a student working at a sewing machine in the costume shop

In the six years since its inaugural performance through the city-wide multimedia project Violins of Hope, offerings have included the free Silver Hall Concert Series, highlighting the CWRU Music Department and local ensembles; evenings with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra; and in 2020, a free virtual series called “LIVE! (streamed) @ Silver Hall,” which brought Northeast Ohio-based artists from all genres to the Maltz Center where they performed for an empty hall—but a robust online audience.

Surrounded by enduring institutions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and The Cleveland Orchestra’s Severance Hall, the center is in the heart of University Circle’s thriving arts scene, and honors the community leaders who catalyzed the project with an extraordinary lead gift from their foundation: Milton and Tamar Maltz.

Other generous supporters include Alan and Karen Krause, for whom the Krause Family Foundation Green Room is named. The couple shared their excitement to see the outcome of the renovation. “We’re looking forward to seeing the continuation of this fabulous partnership,” said Karen, “and how the Maltz Performing Arts Center will serve our community.” 

Photo of two students using a miter saw in the workshop

Joy K. Ward, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all the donors who have made this renovation possible.

“As we celebrate the completion of the new wing of the Maltz Performing Arts Center, we also honor the talent, creativity and dedication of our faculty and students in the performing arts,” added Ward. “Our theater department has a long and distinguished history—and it now has beautiful facilities to enhance this high level of talent.”