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Detroit Opera House

Detroit Opera House
Detroit Opera House overlooks Grand Circus Park.
Former names Grand Circus Theater (1960s–1985)
Broadway Capitol Theater (1934–1960s)
Paramount Theater (1929–1934)
Capitol Theater (1922–1929)
Location 1526 Broadway Street
Detroit, Michigan
Type Opera
Capacity 2,700
Opened January 22, 1922
Renovated 1996

Detroit Opera House official site

Detroit Opera House
Part of Grand Circus Park Historic District (#83000894)
Designated CP February 28, 1983

The Detroit Opera House is an ornate opera house located at 1526 Broadway Street in Downtown Detroit, Michigan, within the Grand Circus Park Historic District. The 2,700-seat venue is the home of productions of the Michigan Opera Theatre and a variety of other events. The theatre was originally designed by C. Howard Crane, who created other prominent theatres in Detroit including The Fillmore Detroit, the Fox Theater and the Detroit Symphony's Orchestra Hall. It opened on January 22, 1922.

The building underwent an extensive restoration which took place under the control of architect Eric J. Hill. It reopened in 1996.


Old Detroit Opera House in 1906
The original Opera House structure (left) and stagehouse extension along Madison Avenue
Old Detroit Opera House (behind fountain) on Campus Martius in 1907.

Over the years, opera has been presented at a variety of venues in Detroit - the Old Detroit Opera House (1869–1963) at Campus Martius,[1] the Whitney Grand Opera House (Garrick Theatre) at Griswold Street and Michigan Avenue, and the New Detroit Opera House (1886–1928) at Randolph and Monroe Streets.[2]


  • Detroit Opera House official site
  • Detroit Opera House at Cinema Treasures
  • Nederlander Detroit
  • Wicked is performing at the Detroit Opera House in Detroit, MI

External links

  • Eisenstein, Paul (February 1997). "Relighting the Footlights: The Detroit Opera House renovation recaptures the golden age of the American stage".  
  • Hill, Eric J.; Gallagher, John (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Detroit:  
  • Meyer, Katherine Mattingly; McElroy, Martin C.P.; Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry, Hon A.I.A. (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide Revised Edition. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.  
  • Sobocinski, Melanie Grunow (2005). Detroit and Rome: building on the past. Ann Arbor: Regents of the University of Michigan.  

Other sources

  1. ^ Bluestone, Daniel M. (September 1988). "Detroit's City Beautiful and the Problem of Commerce".  
  2. ^ a b c "Detroit Opera House". Broadway in Detroit. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  3. ^ "About Nederlander". The Nederlander Organization. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  4. ^ Krefft, Bryan. "Detroit Opera House". Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  5. ^ Hauser, Michael; Weldon, Marianne (2006). Downtown Detroit's Movie Palaces (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. p. 125.   |


Note: The name Grand Circus Theatre may cause confusion, since another Grand Circus Theatre (1913–1924), originally known as the Central Theatre, once stood at 2115 Woodward Avenue. What is now The Fillmore Detroit Theatre (1925) arose on the same site at 2115 Woodward.[5]


The Opera House is featured prominently in the 2012 documentary Detropia

In 1988, the Michigan Opera Theatre purchased the building and dubbed it the Detroit Opera House, after an extensive restoration and stage expansion. The reopening in 1996 was celebrated with a gala event featuring Luciano Pavarotti and other noted artists. The Detroit Opera House is now configured with seating for an audience of 2,700. Since 1996, the opera house has annually hosted five opera productions, five dance productions from touring companies, and a variety of other musical and comedy events.[2]

During the first few decades of its history the theater presented feature films along with live entertainment including artists such as jazz legends Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Later the Broadway Capitol converted to a movies-only policy. Following a minor restoration in the 1960s, the building became the 3,367-seat Grand Circus Theatre.[4] The theater closed in 1978 after surviving several years exhibiting second-run and soft-core porn films. It reopened again briefly in 1981, but closed after a minor fire 1985 caused damage.

The present Detroit Opera House opened in 1922 and was known as the Capitol Theatre. It was among the first of several performance venues built around Detroit's Grand Circus Park. When it opened, the Capitol was reportedly the fifth largest movie theater in the world, seating about 3,500 people. In 1929, the Capitol Theater became the Paramount Theater, and in 1934, the Broadway Capitol Theater.[2]


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