Frauenthal Center for the Perfoming Arts

425 West Western Avenue,
Muskegon, MI 49440-1101

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 9, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Linkrot repair: The American Seating Co. ad with the photo of the Michigan Theatre auditorium in Boxoffice of June 7, 1952, is now at this link.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on May 29, 2013 at 10:16 am

The Barton Theater Pipe Organ started out in 1927 as a style 23, Opus 513, that cost $5,630 in the Regent Theater in Muskegon as a 2/6 (manual/rank, keyboards/sets of pipes). It was moved to this theater when it opened and enlarged to a 3/8. Barton was in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

JimFles on January 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Had a great Keaton convention again this year. the theater-projectors-Barton organ—all did a wonderful job. The theater turns 80 this year and they are planning a year of celebration starting with Dale and Gale Zieger presenting an afternoon of just plain old fun with the Barton organ and grand piano. Oh yes there will be a short comedy silent film with Dale at the Barton!!It will be Sunday afternoon at 3;00 January 31.

Patsy on October 24, 2009 at 8:58 am

I’ve read about Buster Keaton on this link…was he from Muskegon?

Patsy on October 24, 2009 at 8:58 am

I’ve read about Buster Keaton on this link…was he from Muskegon?

Patsy on October 24, 2009 at 8:56 am

I just learned of this beautifully restored theater with Barton organ in western Michigan after being at an energy conference in western NYS.

kencmcintyre on July 18, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Here is an October 2008 ad for a Buster Keaton double feature:

mdstockman on November 24, 2006 at 7:08 am

If you’re ever in the Muskegon area, this is a must see!! Just stop in and someone there will normally give you a tour. Jusk ask!!

JimFles on November 16, 2006 at 3:20 pm

Ya know, when you maintain the old theater organ and help around a wonderful restored picture palace,its fun because you know your preserving the past for future generations. BUT when Dennis James and the Buster Keton group took over the theater, then you realise what it is all about!!!This put all of us right smack back into the silient era. Hats off to Dennis James and EVERYONE keeping these treasures alive. that means you too cinema treasures!!!!

rdp on August 16, 2006 at 12:29 pm

The 2006 Buster Keaton event is scheduled for the weekend of October 6th and 7th.

The Saturday night film program, open to the public for nominal admission, will have a “detective” theme, featuring Buster’s silent films Sherlock, Jr. (1924) and The Haunted House (1921). A third film, Oh, Doctor! (1917), co-stars the comedy filmmaker who hired Buster into the movies, Roscoe Arbuckle. Films will be presented with live theatre organ accompaniment by the legendary performer Dennis James ( at the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts, 425 W. Western Avenue, Muskegon, MI. Tel. 1-800-585-3737, website

A wonderful opportunity to see silent film presented as it should be presented!

BethLG on April 8, 2006 at 6:36 pm

Muskegon hosts the annual Buster Keaton Convention each year (Keaton and his family stayed at the artist colony on the lake in the ‘teens). The Frauenthal is the setting for the Saturday night Keaton film screening for the convention as well as the public at large. You can’t find a better place to see silent films, accompanied by the organ. It’s a true jewel of a theater.

JimFles on November 3, 2005 at 7:47 pm

The Frauenthal Theater or “Michigan” as it was know then, opened in 1930
with it’s 3 manuel 8 rank Barton organ in place. The “Michigan” Theater almost
opened with NO organ as the silent movie era was over.

Paul J. Schlossman, owner of the “Michigan”/Frauenthal also owned the Regent Theater a couple blocks away. His Regent Theater had a 1927, 2 manuel 6 rank Barton organ which was silenced in early 1929 by a small fire that burned through it’s main cable.

During the construction of the “Michigan”/Frauenthal Theater,
Mr. Schlossman decided to have the Barton Organ Company remove the Barton organ from the Regent, enlarge it to a 3 manuel 8 rank organ and install it into his new “Michigan” Theater for it’s Grand Opening.

In the 1960’s, the West Michigan Theater Organ Society was established to rescue the Barton organ, which had fallen into disrepair due to water damage and age.

The Barton organ is still entertaining people today, on its own and with the West Shore Symphony Orchestra.

Respectfully submitted, by REALLY, REALLY close friends of the Barton and the Frauenthal. JF and BB

tomdelay on October 4, 2005 at 11:31 pm

This theatre also contains a 3 manual Barton organ that was transplanted into the Frauenthal Center in the 1960s from the 1927 Regent Theatre.

Suwanti on June 24, 2005 at 5:03 am

I hope I can go to this theatre and see a performance.

wlaut on April 28, 2005 at 10:49 pm

Sometime after the theater was originally built an addition was made to accomodate office space overlooking Western Avenue. I was pleased to recently lease one of the smaller offices there and am refurbishing it as a private creative space.

It is unbelievable. As best I can tell my office was never significantly changed from its original construction over the years. It has solid mahogany wood trim, hot/cold/sewer lines in the walls so I can install a small bar sink, and three-part plaster walls.

In the basement a regional ISP has installed one of their routers so reasonably-priced broadband Internet is available within the building. And best of all, the Muskegon Community Foundation pours its blood, sweat and tears into the place to make the Frauenthal the cultural Mecca for Muskegon County.

Perhaps when I get my office done I’ll post pictures if anyone is interested. This place is SO rich in history and atmosphere; your creative processes cannot help but be overwhelmed by the Frauenthal. We are blessed to still have it.

sdoerr on November 22, 2003 at 1:11 pm

What a nice theatre, very ornate. Especially the plasterwork and the stage