Senate Theater

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Senate Theater
Senate Theater.jpg
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Background Information

Opened

1926

Purpose

Movie House

Seating Capacity

800

Current Use

Movie House, Live Venue

Address

6424 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, MI 48210

Phone

(313) 894-0850

About

The Senate Theater on Michigan Avenue in Detroit is the home of the Detroit Theater Organ Society, and they have been there since 1964.

The Senate is home to the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ from the Fisher Theater! This magnificent theater pipe organ has been in the Senate longer than it was in the Fisher, and has provided monthly organ concerts for more than 50 years now! It is one of the largest Wurlitzers in the world, and is a one of a kind design.

The Senate Theater, designed by architect Christian Brandt, opened October 7, 1926 on Michigan Avenue just west of Livernois Street in Detroit. It had about 1200 seats and a full working stage. The Martin Brothers washing machine factory was torn down to make way for the new theater.

Mainly a movie theater, it also presented some young comedians and entertainers on their way to later stardom, including performances by Amos Jacobs, later known as Danny Thomas. The theater once had a small Robert Morton theater organ often played by Thelma Boomhower.

The theater closed in 1955 after a short period of showing some horror and x-rated films. The building was used for church services for a short time, then abandoned. The empty building soon became a derelict with its seats gone, glass and mirrors broken, a flooded basement and a large part of the roof blown off.

That is how Detroit Theater Organ Society members found it in 1962. Following 2 years of restoration, installation of some 880 seats and the Mighty 4/34 Wurlitzer Theater organ, it became an anchor site for the neighborhood and a Michigan Avenue landmark. Members take great pride in their Club home, and in preserving a bit of history.

The dedicatory concert on April 11, 1964 featured the celebrated New York organist, Ashley Miller, at the console.


Today the Senate Theater hosts Live Concerts, Plays, Classic movies, Sound and Silent with the Mighty Wurlitzer providing the music for the Silent Movies.


Detroit Theater Organ Society Inside.jpg


External Links

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