Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Unknown Michigan Theater

As a Jacksonopolis writer, I was lucky enough to get an all over tour of the historic Michigan Theater in downtown Jackson. From the depths of the basement dressing rooms situated under the sidewalk of Pearl Street to the innards of the cupola, I saw it all.

Standing among is features listening to the rich history it holds gave a new meaning to the place. Much deeper than a place to see a cheap movie. I walked on the stage and stood in the wings. I touched one of the original curtains and inspected the ropes made of hemp that raise and lower them, also original.

I learned the theater was built with the intention of showcasing vaudeville shows. However, the theater opened in 1930, on the cusp of vaudeville going out of favor to be replaced by motion pictures. The theater was used as a place to view them as well as featuring traveling acts.

The upstairs dressing rooms are still in original form and I could picture the performers, lit by bright lights, full of stage make-up ready to please.

In the depths of the air tunnels I found out how the building is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Cold water is pumped from the theater's very own well and travels through pipes to cool the building. A large fan serves as the heart of the climate system directing the air to make the temperature comfortable.

We in Jackson are lucky to have this remarkable piece of history still living among us. There is so much to learn from the ghosts of our past and we must take priority in preserving them.

View the Michigan Theater's calender of events here to attend an event in this stunning building.