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The historic Michigan Theater opened January 5, 1928 at the peak of the vaudeville/movie palace era. Designed by Maurice Finkel, the 1,710-seat theater cost around $600,000 when it was first built. As was the custom of the day, the theater was equipped to host both film and live stage events, with a full-size stage, dressing rooms, an orchestra pit, and the Barton Theater Organ. At its opening the theater was acclaimed as the best of its kind in the country. Since 1979, the theater has been operated by the not-for-profit Michigan Theater Foundation.
In the fall of 1999, the Michigan Theater opened a new 200-seat screening room addition, which also included expanded restroom facilities for the historic theater.
The Michigan Theater was honored with the 2006 Outstanding Historic Theater Award from the League of Historic American Theaters. The Michigan Theater is only the fourth historic theater in the country so recognized.