Michigan Theater (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Michigan Theater Building
|Location:||603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|Area:||less than one acre|
|Architectural style:||Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals, Lombard Romanesque|
|Added to NRHP:||November 28, 1980|
Designed by Detroit-based architect Maurice Finkel and built in 1928, the theater seats 1700 and features the theater's original 1927 Barton Theatre Pipe Organ, orchestra pit, stage, and elaborate architectural details. It has been co-owned, off and on, with the State Theater for years, as both were originally under the ownership of the Butterfield Theaters chain.
During a renovation in 1956, many of the original ornate designs were destroyed. After a period of low attendance, the theater was threatened with demolition in 1978, but members of the community and local organists helped raise funds to save and renovate the theater, returning it to its original design. A second screen with a state-of-the-art sound system, seating for 200 and the ability to project films digitally was added in 1999.
The Barton Opus 245 theatre pipe organ was built for the Michigan Theater and installed in November 1927 shortly before the theater was opened. It is one of the few remaining organs which exists in its original location. It has three manuals (keyboards), thirteen separate ranks of pipes and the console is situated on a functioning Barton four-poster lift. The instrument has been fully restored and has retained all of its original electropneumatic operating systems. No portion of it has been digitized and no such modification is planned. The instrument is professionally maintained and played daily prior to most film screenings, making it one of the most heard theater organs in the country.
The Michigan Theater is the current home of the annual Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Symphony, the Ann Arbor Concert Band, and Dandia Dhamaka, and has been named 2006 Outstanding Historic Theatre by the League of Historic American Theaters. The theater also hosts a series of children's stage productions entitled "Not Just For Kids" and a concert series entitled "The Legends of Rock & Roll."
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- 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 StevenBall.com. Retrieved on January 14, 2008.
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