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Historic Theater, Jazz Cafe and rooftop nightclub

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On December 9, 1928, The Wilson Theater, as it was originally named, opened with Florenz Ziegfeld’s production of “Rosalie.” Mrs. Dodge Wilson and her architect had toured the great theaters of Europe, with the intention of building a theater in downtown Detroit that would rival those of London. Subsequently, Meadow Brook Hall was designed by the very same architect and was completed less than a year after the Wilson Theater Mr. Kapp and his team from Smith, Hinchman & Grylls designed the 1701 seat theater to be built at a cost of $3 million, with luxurious, beautiful and state-of-the-art attributes and attitude. The curved wood paneled walls, silk drapes, specially designed seats and carpet, and multi-tiered lobby were opulent for the time. Dressing rooms to accommodate 100 performers and an orchestra pit for 40 musicians made the Wilson Theater a suitable rival to nearly any major performance facility in the country. Many of the original pieces such as the wood paneling, silk drapes and torchieres still hang in the theater today. The Wilson Theater logo is still present in the theater and can be seen in the iron work of the opera boxes and on the Jazz Café terrace. In 1944, Mrs. Wilson sold the theater to Henry Reichhold, who renamed the theater “Music Hall,” determined to make it a permanent home for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Broadcast capabilities were added for thousands to listen in on the Ford Sunday Evening Hour. Audiences were thrilled as the orchestra and variety pieces filled the house with talent. After being purchased by steel company executive Mervyn Gaskin in 1953, Music Hall was converted into the world’s second Cinerama theater, featuring an enormous curved screen, 3 synchronized projectors and 7 channels of stereophonic sound. To support the screen, the opera boxes were removed and the decorative details in the auditorium were all painted brown. From 1971 to 1985, Michigan Opera Theater called Music Hall home. When, in 1974 Music Hall was slated for the wrecking ball, the intervention of Detroit Renaissance, Kresge Foundation and a new board saved the theater and reinvented it as a non-profit performing arts center. In 1995, Music Hall underwent a major renovation; this time costing 6.5 million to return it to its original grandeur. The grandeur of which can be seen here, as well as at Meadow Brook Hall. Today, Music Hall stands as the last of Detroit’s remaining authentic stage theaters and the city’s premier venue for jazz, theater and dance. We introduced Aretha’s Jazz Café at Music Hall in 2006, as our newest performance space, featuring national Jazz and theater artists, as well as local talent.

Category and style

Bar/Club, Event Space, Museum, Restaurant/Cafe, Theater

Art Deco, Old Hollywood, Spanish

Parking

Private parking for 99 cars

Truck / motorhome on site parking: On property

Available parking lot or parking structure nearby

Location details

Property size (sq ft):
65000 sq ft

Location Rules

No adult filming
No smoking

Amenities

Air Conditioning
Hair/Makeup area
Wifi

Features

Booth Seating
Lighting System
Sound System
Stage
VIP Area
Exposed Beams
High Ceiling
Ornate Ceiling
Atrium
Auditorium/Lecture Hall
Basement
Conference Room/Boardroom
Fire Escape
Kitchen
Rooftop
Studio Space/Equipment
Carpet Floor
Dance Floor
Marble Floor
Bar
Booth Seating
Patio/Outdoor Seating
Private Room
Cafe
Dinner Theatre
Fast Food
City View
Brick Walls
Graffiti Wall
Mirrored
Mural Wall
Stone Walls
Wood-Paneled Walls
Picture/Stationary Windows

Crew access

Elevator
Stairs
Street Level
Wheelchair / Handicap Access
Location
Exact location provided after booking