Music Hall Center for Performing Arts

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Music Hall Center for Performing Arts
Music Hall Detroit.jpg
Music Hall Center for Performing Arts
Background Information


350 Madison Detroit, MI





Current Use

Performing arts center




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Music Hall Center for The Performing Arts is a fully restored 1928 historic theatre seating 1731 and holding four Lounge Areas, The Jazz Cafe and 3Fifty Terrace on the rooftop. Music Hall plays host to a variety of Non-Theatrical events, including Corporate Annual Meetings, Parties, Receptions, Benefits, and Fundraisers. It was built in 1928 as the Wilson Theatre, designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1976 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.


John Francis Dodge and his brother Horace were original investors in Ford Motor Company who sold their interest to Henry Ford and established their own company, the Dodge Motor Company, in 1914.[3] Both brothers died in 1920, leaving their respective widows very wealthy women. Matilda Dodge Wilson, John's widow, married in 1924 to Alfred Wilson, was interested in stage productions and decided to use part of her fortune to build a venue in Detroit to serve as home to a repertory troupe, and to host touring Broadway performers. She hired the prominent Detroit architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls who assigned William Kapp to design the building, and spent $1.5 million on the construction. At the time of its opening in 1928, the building was dubbed the Wilson Theatre.

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.

In 1971, Music Hall became home of the fledgling Michigan Opera Theatre. The opera company staged most of its productions here through the 1984 season. Restoration efforts began in 1973 and continued for several years. In 1974, the venue was renamed the Music Hall Center for Performing Arts. It is currently the only venue in Detroit built expressly to present live performances.

In 1995, Music Hall underwent a major renovation; this time costing 6.5 million to return it to its original grandeur. 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.

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