Help With History on a Theater

posted by sdoerr on July 28, 2004 at 9:17 am

DETROIT, MI — I have found pictures on the net of a theater downtown Detroit called Shubert/Lafayette Shubert. My guess is that it was located on Lafeyette. You could see the David Stott building in the background. The demolition pictures show me demolition was in the 50’s by my guess. Can anyone provide any history and pictures? Thank you.

Comments (8)

JimRankin on July 28, 2004 at 9:28 am

Another theatres site does have a small photo of the Shubert-Lafayette, but no real details about it: View link
It is not on Cinema Treasures, but it is quite possible that the Theatre Historical Soc. of America has data about it; contact them at:
You would also do well to contact sources in Detroit: Historical Soc., Libraries, etc.

sdoerr on July 29, 2004 at 7:49 am

It looked like a great theater too:

Can someone also provide any information on the

sdoerr on August 19, 2004 at 12:38 pm

Lafayette/Shubert was located on the streets Lafayette at Shelby

sdoerr on August 19, 2004 at 12:46 pm

I looked the corner up on Terra Server…
Link Here
After looking at the photos I seen an arched window which I knew was from the Grand Trunk Building/Transportation Building, thus it was next door. Today the site is a parking garage…… Sadly the transportation building is being demo’d for the expansion of the parking garage, it was an Albert Kahn building. What’s new :sigh:

johnlauter on December 1, 2004 at 11:59 pm

Neo, the Shubert was built as the Orpheum, and would have been the Detroit outpost for the famed Orpheum vaudeville circuit. It was later renamed the Lafayette, then the Shubert. As Bryan’s post indicates, the reopening of the Fisher rendered the Shubert redundant. Now as for the Gayety, I assume we’re talking about the Gayety burlesque. I don’t have Much on the building, but according to architecture historian Andrew Craig Morrison it stood at 100 Cadillac Square, sat 1,362, was designed by Fuller Claflin, it opened 9/15/12 and closed 4/10/58. I have talked to many old timers (my 82 year old dad being one) and they all had fond memories of the Gayety, and the resident comedian, Scurvey Miller. Burlesque was not at all like a strip club, but rather a form of entertainment that included music, comedy and attractive ladies, doing striptease. This is not “stripping” (oh hell, I just realized you are only 14!) Striptease is just that, teasing. I’m sure the average network TV viewer sees more sexually explicit content in a nights viewing than the Gayety burle-Q shows. The rule of thumb about the burlesque is that everyone went, but didn’t talk about it.

sdoerr on December 5, 2004 at 7:43 pm

lol good information John. I will soon update my information on my site of the two theaters:

kinder on December 1, 2005 at 4:14 pm

I remember both the Shubert AND The Gayety. The Cass Theater was nearby and brough in big names like Tallulah Bankhead, Tyrone Power, etc.

wyn517 on April 20, 2006 at 1:20 am

To John Lauter concerning comments on the Gayety Theater. My mother worked as a striper at the Empress and Gayety Theaters around 1953-55. There was a comedian at the Empress known as “Sheik”. My mother died in 1957 at age 37. Might your grandfather remember anything about the theaters or the strippers or any of their names? My mother’s name was Melba Winslow. If she had a stage name I do not know it. Thanks so much for any info you may have.

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