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Performing arts in Detroit

A National Historic Landmark, the Detroit Fox Theatre lights up Foxtown at night.

The performing arts in Detroit include orchestra, live music, and theater. With more than a dozen performing arts venues, the city's theater venue circuit ranks as the second largest in the United States after New York,[1] the stages and old time film palaces are generally located along Woodward Avenue, the city's central thoroughfare, in the Downtown, Midtown, and New Center areas. Some additional venues are located in neighborhood areas of the city.[2][3] Many of the city's significant historic theaters have been revitalized.[3][4][5][6]


  • History 1
  • Performing arts venues 2
  • Historic venues awaiting restoration 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


The Fillmore Detroit is located beside the Fox Theatre along Detroit's Woodward Ave.
An example of a Barton Michigan Theatre, Ann Arbor.

Detroit has a long theatrical history, with many venues dating back to the 1920s.[7] The Mosiac Youth Theatre support the city's theater community.[11]

The Detroit Opera House's backhouse extends along Madison Ave.
Old Detroit Opera House on Campus Martius in 1907.

During the late 1980s the great old

  • Detroit Entertainment District
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Orchestra Hall
  • Detroit Opera House – Motopera Theatre
  • Hilberry Theatre – Wayne State University
  • Nederlander Detroit – Fisher and Masonic Theatres
  • Olympia Entertainment – The Fox Theatre and the City Theatre
  • Studio Theatre – Wayne State University

External links

  • Cantor, George (2005). Detroit: An Insiders Guide to Michigan. University of Michigan Press.  
  • Eisenstein, Paul (February 1997). Relighting the Footlights: The Detroit Opera House renovation recaptures the golden age of the American stage. Popular Mechanics.
  • Hauser, Michael and Marianne Weldon (2006). Downtown Detroit's Movie Palaces (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing.  
  • Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press.  
  • Meyer, Katherine Mattingly and Martin C.P. McElroy with Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry, Hon A.I.A. (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide Revised Edition. Wayne State University Press.  
  • Sobocinski, Melanie Grunow (2005). Detroit and Rome: building on the past. Regents of the University of Michigan.  

Further reading

  1. ^ Arts & Culture Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. Retrieved on July 24, 2008. "Detroit is home to the second largest theatre district in the United States."
  2. ^ a b c d e f Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press.  
  3. ^ a b [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ [4]
  7. ^ Hauser, Michael and Marianne Weldon (2006). Downtown Detroit's Movie Palaces (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing.  
  8. ^ Hodges, Michael H. (September 8, 2003).Fox Theater's rebirth ushered in city's renewal. Michigan History, The Detroit News. Retrieved on November 23, 2007.
  9. ^ Marzejka, Laurie J. (January 25, 1998).Detroit's historic Fox Theatre. Michigan History, The Detroit News. Retrieved on July 9, 2009.
  10. ^ James M. Nederlander biography. Film Reference. Retrieved on August 17, 2008.
  11. ^ Mosiac Youth Theatre. Retrieved on July 8, 2009.
  12. ^ AIA Detroit Urban Priorities Committee, (January 10, 2006).Top 10 Detroit Interiors.Model D Media. Retrieved on November 23, 2007.
  13. ^ a b Redford Theatre Building. Michigan State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved on January 14, 2008.
  14. ^ a b National Theatre.Buildings of Detroit. Retrieved on July 16, 2009.
  15. ^ Hyde, Charles (May–June 1991).Demolition by Neglect: The Failure to Save the Monroe Block.Michigan History Magazine. Retrieved on January 20, 2008.
  16. ^ a b The Hollywood Theatre, Detroit, MI. The Detroit News (March 17, 1963). Cited at Retrieved on January 14, 2008.
  17. ^ Hooray for Hollywood. Journal of the American Theatre Organ Society (November/December [1998]). Cited at Retrieved on January 14, 2008.
  18. ^ Aldridge, Henry B. (September/October 1998).The Michigan Theatre Celebrates Twenty-Five Years of Organ Overtures. Journal of the American Theatre Organ Society. Cited at Retrieved on January 14, 2008.
  19. ^ Harmonie Park District.Retrieved on January 31, 2010.
  20. ^ Orchestra Hall restoration. State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved on December 10, 2007.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Alger Theater.Buildings of Detroit. Retrieved on July 16, 2009.


See also

Name Image Built Location Capacity Organization Style Architect
National Theatre[14]
1911 118 Monroe St.
2,200 Phoenix Properties LLC Baroque-Beaux Arts-Moorish Albert Kahn
United Artists Theatre Building
1928 150 Bagley St. 2,070 Ilitch Holdings Spanish Gothic C. Howard Crane
Vanity Ballroom
1929 1024 Newport St. 2,000 Art Deco Charles N. Agree
Grande Ballroom
1928 8952 Grand River Ave. 1,500 Art Deco, Moorish Revival Charles N. Agree
Alger Theater
1935 16541 East Warren Avenue
1,500 Friends of the Alger Theater[21][22] Art Deco

Historic venues awaiting restoration

Name Image Built Location Capacity Organization Style Architect
Fox Theatre 1928 2211 Woodward Ave.
5,045 Olympia Entertainment Neo-Gothic Art Deco facade,
Burmese, Chinese
C. Howard Crane
Detroit Masonic Temple Theatre 1922 500 Temple Ave.
4,404 Olympia Entertainment Neo-Gothic George D. Mason
Bert's Warehouse Theatre 2739 Russell St. 3,000 Bert's Entertainment Bohemian warehouse
Detroit Opera House 1922 1526 Broadway St. 2,700 Michigan Opera Theater,
Italian Renaissance C. Howard Crane
The Fillmore Detroit 1925 2115 Woodward Ave.
2,200 Live Nation Neo-Renaissance C. Howard Crane
Fisher Theatre 1927 3011 West Grand Blvd.
2,089 Nederlander Art Deco Albert Kahn
Orchestra Hall[20] 1919 3711 Woodward Ave.
2,014 Detroit Symphony Orchestra Neo-Renaissance C. Howard Crane
Harpos Concert Theatre 1939 1315 Broadway St. 1,975 Wisper & Wetsman Art moderne Charles N. Agree
MotorCity Casino Theatre 2007 2901 Grand River Ave. 1,800 Novelty, Modern Giffels Inc., NORR Limited
Wilson Theatre 1928 350 Madison Ave.
1,700 Kresge Foundation Art Deco facade,
Spanish Renaissance
William E. Kapp, Smith, Hinchman & Grylls
Redford Theatre 1928 17354 Lahser Ave.
1,571 Motor City Theater Organ Society Exotic Revival, Japanese motifs Ralph F. Shreive with Verner, Wilheim, and Molby[13]
Majestic Theatre 1915 4140 Woodward Ave.
1,260 Art Deco C. Howard Crane
Riverfront 4 Movie Theatres 1978 Renaissance Center
1,250 Modern John Portman
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Greektown Casino Theatre 2009 555 East Lafayette St. 1,200 Novelty, Modern Rossetti
MGM Grand Detroit Theatre 2007 1777 Third St. 1,200 MGM Mirage Modern SmithGroupJJR
Bonstelle Theatre 1903 3424 Woodward Ave.
1,173 Wayne State University Neoclassical Albert Kahn,
C. Howard Crane
Detroit Film Theatre 1927 5201 Woodward Ave.
1,150 Detroit Institute of Arts Neo-Renaissance Paul Philippe Cret
Senate Theatre 1926 6424 Michigan Ave.
900 Detroit Theater Organ Society Art Deco Christian W. Brandt
Hilberry Theatre 1916 4743 Cass Ave. 532 Wayne State University Neoclassical Field, Hinchman and Smith
City Theatre 2004 2301 Woodward Ave. 500 Olympia Entertainment
Gem Theatre 1927 333 Madison St.
450 Italian Renaissance George D. Mason
Century Theatre 1903 333 Madison St.
250 Italian Renaissance George D. Mason
Chrysler IMAX Dome Theatre 2001 5020 John R. St. 230 Detroit Science Center Postmodern BEI Associates, Neumann/Smith, William Kessler Associates
Detroit Repertory Theatre 1963 13103 Woodrow Wilson St. 194 Detroit Repertory Theatre
The Players 1925 3321 East Jefferson Ave. The Players Club Florentine Renaissance, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco murals. William E. Kapp, Smith, Hinchman & Grylls
Bohemian National Home 1914 3009 Tillman St.
Studio Theatre 112 Wayne State University Black box
Boll Family YMCA Theatre 1401 Broadway St. YMCA,
Plowshares Theatre Company

Performing arts venues

Detroit's performance centers and theaters emanate from the Grand Circus Park Historic District and continue along Woodward Avenue toward the Fisher Theatre in the city's New Center.[2] The Detroit Opera House is located at Broadway and Grand Circus. The east necklace of downtown links Grand Circus and the stadium area to Greektown along Broadway.[2] The east neckace contains a sub-district sometimes called the Harmonie Park District in the Broadway Avenue Historic District which has taken on the renowned legacy of Detroit's music from the 1930s through the 1950s and into the present.[19] Near the Opera House, and emanating from Grand Circus along the east necklace, are other venues including the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts and the Gem Theatre and Century Club. The historic Harmonie Club and Harmonie Centre are located along Broadway. The Harmonie Park area ends near Gratiot and Randolph.[2]

The city has some surviving historic theaters which have been converted to other uses while others await redevelopment. Michigan Theatre.[18]

Along with Wayne State University’s Hilberry Theatre (Wayne State University) in Midtown, the only graduate repertory theater in the nation, Detroit has enjoyed a resurgence in theatrical productions and attendance. In the 2000s, shows ranging from touring musicals to local theater happen nightly and the theaters have sparked a significant increase in nightlife; hospitality ventures serving the area have increased accordingly. With its sports venues and casinos, the Detroit Theater District has helped revitalized high rise residential areas like those surrounding Grand Circus Park and its nearby Foxtown, Greektown, the Cultural Center and New Center area anchored by the 2,089-seat Fisher Theatre.[2]


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