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Detroit Opera House – Cool Place to Visit in Detroit #2

Detroit Opera House Detroit Michigan

Image courtesy of Colin McConnell

Detroit Opera House – Detroit is well known for it’s rich music history that has attracted many to the Motor City. From the great hits of Motown to the smooth Jazz sound of Detroit, there is something for every music enthusiast in Detroit. Tourists and day-trippers often visit music hot spots like the Motown Museum, but they often miss out on the often overlooked Detroit Opera House.

Because the word “Opera” comes with a stigma of being over-the-top, classy, rich, and cultured the Opera house often is ignored by visitors that want a more casual and down-to-earth experience. However, the Detroit Opera House is a place that should not be ignored by anyone. There is often performances there that are great family and date ideas at affordable prices. Currently, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is coming to the Detroit Opera House

Why is the Detroit Opera House a Cool Detroit Location?

Just as many other typically unseen Detroit places the Detroit Opera House has a long interesting history. The present Detroit Opera House first opened its doors as the Capitol Theater in 1922. The Capitol Theater was Detroit’s first true movie palace and it was a monument to Detroit’s growth and wealth at the time. Prior to constructing the Opera House the architect C. Howard Crane toured the great opera houses of Europe. His tour helped influence the design and construction of the Capitol Theater.

In 1929 the theater was purchased by Paramount and for a brief time, until 1934, the theater was called the Paramount Theater. Through financial difficulties Paramount had to sell the Opera House. In 1934, the Opera House was purchased by United Detroit Theater and renamed the Broadway Capitol Theater.

Fast-forward to the ’60’s the Theater was renamed as the Grand Circus Theater. During this time less viewers came to the theater to see a movie. The Theater sat idle for a few years after the film reels stopped in the late 1970’s. In 1981, the theater reopened as a rock concert hall called Grand Circus Live. Just a few of the artists that performed there were: The Clash, Bon Jovi, R.E.M., Motorhead, the B-52s and U2. A small fire in 1985 caused the theater to close its doors once more.

The neglect to the building in the late ‘80’s caused the building to be a candidate for demolition. However, it was found that demolition of the building would be more expensive then just allowing the building to stand. In 1988, David DiChiera, the general director of the Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT), convinced the MOT board to purchase the building, In 1996, The Detroit Opera House was officially reopened.

Where in Detroit can You Find the Detroit Opera House?

The Detroit Opera House is located at 1526 Broadway St, Detroit, MI 48226.

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