Senate Theater

6424 Michigan Avenue,
Detroit, MI 48210

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4/34 Wurlitzer Theatre Organ

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Senate Theater opened in 1926 and its original architect was Christian W. Brandt, who designed a number of smaller Detroit houses like the Times Square Theater and LaSalle Garden Theater, most of which have not survived.

Remodeled sometime in the 1930’s in an Art Deco style, including a new facade and tall vertical marquee. The Senate Theater was remodeled again in 1949, this time in an Art Moderne style by architect Ted Rogvoy. It continued to operate until 1958 when it was closed.

The former theater was acquired by the Detroit Theater Organ Society in 1963 who renovated it and reduced seating from 1,200 to about 900. The Club moved the former Fisher Theater organ from the Iris Theater, where it was briefly kept in 1961-2, to the Senate Theater.

Since then, the Senate Theater has been home to the DTOS, and features organ concerts. It no longer has its projection equipment, so unlike the Redford Theater, which features organ concerts and classic motion pictures, the Senate Theater became a concert hall only.

It was closed in December 2009. In February 2011, volunteers began working on getting the theatre ready for a May 15, 2011 reopening. The Wurlitzer organ is again be a feature of its programs, and from May 2013, it the Senate Theater began screening movies again.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Broan
Broan on November 10, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Christian W. Brandt has recently completed a million dollar factory building for the Charles B Bohn Foundry Company and he is the designer and builder of the Majestic theatre the Wyandotte theatre the Del The theatre the LaSalle Gardens and many of the fine residences of Detroit The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922 By William Stocking, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company

JohnMLauter
JohnMLauter on March 12, 2009 at 8:17 am

The DTOS has listed the Senate theatre for sale with a commercial realtor. The group is looking for a new home for the Fisher Wurlitzer in the Detroit area.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 29, 2009 at 11:55 pm

The ca.1949 Art Moderne remodeling of the Senate Theatre was designed by Detroit architect Ted Rogvoy. At the time of the remodeling the house was operated by the Broder circuit.

The Senate was one of three Rogvoy-designed theater remodeling projects featured in an article published in the April 1, 1950, issue of Boxoffice. The article featured before and after photos of the Senate’s facade.

The original classical facade had been disfigured by the addition of a bulky art deco marquee in the 1930s, and Rogvoy replaced it with the porcelain enamel front and tall sign the building still sports.

The other theaters remodeled by Rogvoy that were featured in the Boxoffice article were the Roxy and the Ace.

Twistr54
Twistr54 on November 15, 2009 at 4:54 pm

View link
New photos of the theatre, taken 11/14/09

JonC
JonC on January 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

The Senate Theatre is now closed. The Detroit Theatre Organ Society could no longer afford to operate the theatre and has ended organ concerts at the Senate. The building is now for sale. The DTOS is looking for a new home for the Mighty Wurlitzer that was moved to the Senate from the Fisher Theatre 45 years ago. A sad story indeed.

pjacyk
pjacyk on February 21, 2011 at 12:12 am

The Senate Theatre is reopening for shows again in May 2011.

http://www.dtos.org/

pjacyk
pjacyk on April 30, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Detroit Senate Theater Reopening & Pops Concert featuring Jelani Eddington

The Detroit Senate Theater, current home to the unique 4/34 Wurlitzer Organ from Detroit’s Fisher Theater, reopens Sunday May 15, 2011 at 3 PM with a show featuring Jelani Eddington playing a wide variety of popular music.

6424 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48210
Tickets: $12.00 / $8.00 ages 12 and under

Many exciting things happening at the Senate. Volunteers have been hard at work painting, cleaning, refreshing, and much more. The Wurlitzer is sounding better than ever after recently being professionally releathered (including the electro-pneumatic relay !)

Many recent pictures and updates at http://www.facebook.com/DTOSonFB

Help is always needed around the theater, especially before reopening day May 15. To become a volunteer worker, donate financially via paypal, or donate supplies visit the Detroit Theater Organ Society website. (Email: , Office phone number: 313-894-0850)

More events are scheduled for 2011

  • May 15 Jelani Eddington
  • Jun 12 John Lauter
  • Jul (TBA) Open Console
  • Sep 11 Members Concert
  • Oct 9 David Wickerham
  • Nov 20 Tony O'Brien
  • Dec 11 Dave Calendine
TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Thats great that is going to reopen.

DTOSEvents
DTOSEvents on May 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

THE GENERAL – with live accompaniment by organist Dennis Scott on the 4/34 Wurlitzer theatre organ.

Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3 pm $10.00 General Admission

Senate Theater 6424 Michigan Avenue Detroit, MI 48210 Telephone (313) 894-0850 https://www.facebook.com/SenateTheater

DTOSEvents
DTOSEvents on May 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

In 2013 the Senate Theater started showing movies again. Movies with sound and silent films too that feature live accompaniment on the 4/34 Wurlitzer theatre organ. A new wide movie screen is arriving around the middle of 2013. There are also live music shows and other events.

More details at http://www.dtos.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/SenateTheater

The organ pops concerts with Wurlitzer that have running for 50 years at Senate are also still happening.

The 2013 concert season:

2013 Pops Concert Series Mar 17 – Simon Gledhill Apr 21 – Tony Thomas May 12 – Martin Ellis June 23 – Mark Herman

Sept 22 – Justin Stahl Oct 20 – Scott Smith Nov 17 – Clark Wilson Dec 8 – Joel Gary

All Sunday at 3:00 PM

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