Mt. Clemens, MI – Historic Emerald Theater to open in December

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on November 15, 2016 at 8:51 am


From The Macomb Daily: A benefit concert involving WDVD-FM (96.3) is the first show on the schedule for the historic Emerald Theater in downtown Mount Clemens, venue and radio station officials said Monday.

Blaine’s Not So Silent Night featuring morning radio personality Blaine Fowler and other musicians will be held Dec. 15 with proceeds benefiting Children’s Miracle Network and Beaumont Children’s.

“This will be our first show here since we took over the property,” said theater owner John Hanna.

Hanna, owner of Royal Oak-based Hanna Development & Management, is in the process of renovating the interior and exterior of the 95-year-old theater.

Crews have been working to install a new floor and new bar on the inside, and a new marquee on the front of the Walnut Street venue that will have an emerald as a focal point. The work is nearing completion, he said.

“The heavy lifting is done,” Hanna said. “We’re remodeling the former Rock Room and are trying to address a ton of details. Things are looking good.”

The new marquee will be erected sometime in the week after Thanksgiving. Crews are working to prepare the front of the building for the sign. For the first new show in the theater since it was purchased earlier this year and renovated will be a benefit and hosted by contemporary hits radio station WDVD-FM (963.) and will feature several bands including the Blaine Fowler Experience.

“We are very excited to celebrate the season at the newly re-opened Emerald Theater with ‘Blaine’s Not So Silent Night’ starring Blue October, Wrabel and the BFE,” WDVD program director Robby Bridges said in an email.

Although Hanna’s focus now is on finishing the restoration, he is looking at a possible New Year’s Eve event at the Emerald, but no details have been released. More events are expected to be announced in early 2017.

Hanna Development purchased the theater as a “distressed property” from Revere Capital, LLC, which obtained it when the previous owners, Wally Mona and Marc Beginin, filed for bankruptcy last year.

The theater was designed by C. Howard Crane, the acclaimed theater architect who designed Detroit’s Fox Theatre and Orchestra Hall along with New York City’s Radio Music Hall. It opened in 1921 as a grand movie palace and vaudeville performance venue.

Over the decades, it morphed into other uses.

Hanna’s family-owned development company runs several properties in Oakland County but his prime pieces are in Royal Oak, including The Fifth, an 18-story residential complex, the Royal Oak Music Theater, Goodnite Gracie martini bar and D’Amato’s Italian Restaurant.

His long-term vision for the county seat in Macomb County begins with the Emerald. He recently purchased the Denver Building on Macomb Place and is considering a number of other properties. He also has purchased the former Johnny G’s restaurant, with plans to make it a Mexican restaurant called El Rey.

“There is a ton of potential in downtown Mount Clemens,” Hanna said. “I’d like to help make it more of a walkable downtown, I think that’s where its strength would be at.”

Despite Hanna’s low-key, under-the-radar approach, his actions have already made an impact on the city, according to Michelle Weiss of the Mount Clemens Downtown Development Authority.

“He’s doing an amazing job on the Emerald, it’s taken on a whole different look from the old theater,” Weiss said. “We believe in our city and we believe John will unlock the greatness. I think we are in for a major improvement thanks to him.”

Tickets for Blaine’s Not So Silent Nite are $9.63. For more information on the event, visit

Link to the story:

ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at


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