Empress Theatre

540 Woodward Avenue,
Detroit, MI 48226

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Empress Theatre ... Detroit Michigan

The Empress Theatre operated as a movie theatre by John Kunsky in around 1910. It was a burlesque theatre in the 1950’s.

It had a band shell and large velvet drapes that drapped the stage. The seating was typical theater seating. The ladies would get ready in the basement which had several make up stations. The back door opened to the alley.

Contributed by Wynne Winslow

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

reva on October 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm

my mother worked here at the empress and was managed by a person that went by the name of shiek according to ALOT of family members he is my father does anyone have any info to help me on my search I was born in 1960 please if u have any info share thank you

gabby_lil on April 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

reva..I worked there also .Shiek was our stage hand.He controled all the music & curtains.He also rented rooms out to some of the girls & let some room for free when down on their luck.Hope to hear back from you.

gabby_lil on April 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

Now that reads a bit weird..lol..I meant to add plus Shiek also rented to male entertainers.Could someone please post info as to how I reach Reva ? I know a woman in Toledo who knew Shiek well. Thanks

wilbur01 on November 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Gabby my grandmother worked there too. I would LOVE to know if you knew anything about her. She passed away at a young age

wilbur01 on November 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Her name was Melba and I hear she went by the name Fancy Deal but hat could be wrong. Also do you know of any archived photos or what happened to the stuff that was in the theater when they tore it down?

wilbur01 on November 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Yay! I am excited to talk! I emailed you

wilbur01 on November 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Oh and in case you don’t get my email my address is

gabby_lil on November 23, 2013 at 10:36 am

wilbur01//GOT IT ! Sent reply..Now On With The Show ..I will be trying to contact Toledo friend & hope I get some info from her.. Hope this all turns out great for you.

gabby_lil on November 23, 2013 at 10:41 am

P.S. wilbur01..So very sorry to hear of her passing..

reva on December 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm

gabby its reva listen my email address is I just found out you were trying to reach me I am also trying to find you please email me as soon as possible thank you gabby

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