Detroit Opera House
This gallery is a preview of what you can expect to see at Theatre Historical Society of America’s annual conclave and historical theater tour in Detroit June 18 – 24, 2018. You can find out more about the upcoming Conclave, and how you can participate in the historical theater tours here.
About the Detroit Opera House
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 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.
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. 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 in 1985 caused damage.
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.
The building underwent an extensive restoration which took place under the control of architect Eric J. Hill. It reopened in 1996.
Over the years, opera has been presented at a variety of venues in Detroit – the Old Detroit Opera House (1869–1963) at Campus Martius, 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.
Former names: Grand Circus Theater (1960s–1985), Broadway Capitol Theater (1934–1960s), Paramount Theater (1929–1934), Capitol Theater (1922–1929)
Added to NRHP: 1983
Address: 1526 Broadway St, Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 237-7464
Detroit Fillmore Theatre
2115 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201