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Restored to its former splendor, the Detroit Opera House is a downtown landmark that finds itself right in the middle of the action, bordered by the Theatre District, Comerica Park and Greektown. The superb acoustics in the hall provide a prime venue for the Michigan Opera Theatre and for a variety of other performing arts productions, including plays, concerts and dance performances. In days gone by, it was a theater, concert and movie house, the fifth-largest in the world when it opened in 1922. The frescoes, marble stairways, draperies and chandeliers from its glory days have been restored. The Opera House reopened in 1996 with a performance by Luciano Pavarotti.
The preservation of this theater is one of Detroit's proudest achievements. The 5048-seat palace of the arts, arguably the most opulent in the nation when it opened in 1928, was designated a national landmark in 1989 after a USD11,000,000 refurbishment by new owner Mike Ilitch. The oldest, continually operating theater in the United States features a 10-storey marquee, a six-storey lobby with a two-ton chandelier and 300,000 glass jewels in its interior. The exotic presentation of lions, gold fixtures and jaw-dropping grandeur harkens back to the flamboyant era of movie houses. The Fox is now busy with concerts, family-oriented shows and a wide variety of other offerings. It's the anchor of the Theatre District and perhaps Detroit's greatest civic treasure.
The largest Masonic Temple in the world, this ornate building opened in 1926. For decades its 5000-seat, acoustically rich and intimate auditorium served as Detroit's choicest venue for concerts, opera and plays. The impressive building has 1037 rooms, including ten decorative period lodge rooms; a Scottish Rite Cathedral that seats around 1500 people and has rich ceiling carvings and colors, and a huge drill hall with a floating floor laid atop felt cushions. It is truly a Detroit landmark.
Built in 1902 as a Temple Beth-El, the building was remade into a gorgeous theater. The Wayne State University often puts on fantastic plays at Bonstelle Theatre thanks to its undergraduate theater program. Plays here are generally classics or revivals of Broadway musicals, with many budding stars seeking spots in the university's prestigious graduate theater program.
Located inside the golden-domed Fisher Building in Detroit's New Center, the Fisher Theatre has long been Detroit's venue for touring productions of Broadway plays and musicals. These and other national theatrical productions usually fill the seats at this meticulously renovated historic gem. The lobby of the Fisher Building is spectacularly ornate and the theater itself is grand. Over the years, it has been Detroit's stable window on the world of theater and one of the most elegant destinations in the city. All the seats, even in the balcony, are good ones.
Arguably metropolitan Detroit's most accomplished community theatre group, Stagecrafters operates out of the beautifully restored vintage neighborhood theatre, The Baldwin Theatre. It's located in downtown Royal Oak. On a main stage and a second stage, the group presents a variety of classic plays and musicals, with regular youth theatre performances. Organ-accompanied silent movies are also occasionally shown. It's an affordable alternative to grander theatres, and the performances are consistently good. Afterwards, you're in a great position to walk to a dining or drinking establishment on Main Street.
From being a vaudevillian theater in 1928 to being one of the sought after entertainment venues now, the Royal Oak Music Theatre has seen many reformations in its more than 80 years of existence. This art-Deco venue has been host to a variety of performers from the fields of music, theater and comedy acts. Some of the past performances are The White Stripes, Billy Crystal and The Ten Tenors. The theater can also be used for any private event or corporate parties.