A glittering, two-story marquee and Spanish-style terra-cotta façade extols the Michigan Theater of Jackson's 82-year history to anyone who passes. Established in 1930, the theater originally presented movies and vaudeville shows to the public, who viewed the spectacles from the lower level or balcony seated between gilded columns under an ornate, plaster ceiling. Though the entertainment industry continued to evolve, The Michigan Theatre retained much of its lavish, vintage charm—including rich, damask draperies, stained-glass light fixtures, and WWII-era Pacman machines—until it closed down in 1978. The historical theater was acquired in 1993 by a not-for-profit organization, which reopened the theater's doors and restored the building to its current state.
Today, the entertainment hub hosts classic and art-house films as well as live theater and concerts. In the first-floor lobby, an old-fashioned candy counter sells sweets and popcorn to make sure audiences have something to throw at the screen during midnight screenings of Chinatown.
The youthful romanticism of Juliet. The raging jealousies of Othello. Richard III's outsized villainy. All are found in the pages of Shakespeare's works, and all are brought to vibrant new life at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the official Shakespeare festival of the state. With characters so rich, it's not surprising that the company exclusively staged the Bard's works for 19 years. But, recognizing that Shakespeare's reach extended far beyond the end of his own quill, the Festival now showcases one piece from an additional playwright each season. But whether the curtain opens on a comedy or a tragedy, a dramatic history or a tender romance, the organization aims to move audiences with timeless stories.
Established in 1959, Chelsea Lanes combines old-school charms with the modern convenience of smooth, polished lanes and automatic scoring. The lanes, which remain open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, also play host to leagues, birthday parties, and glow-bowling sessions, during which music videos and light shows cause the alley to sparkle like a disco ball at a paparazzi dance party.
Founded in 1991 by acclaimed actor and playwright Jeff Daniels, The Purple Rose Theatre Company enriches its community with original and classic productions that range from light-hearted comedies to poignant dramas. Resident artists elicit laughs during Escanaba in da Moonlight, a revival of Daniels's deer-camp comedy about a group of hunters competing for the first shot at a buck and the most creative camouflage pattern. Starting January 19, A Stone Carver introduces us to a retired stonemason named Agostino who resists being evicted from his home in the face of planned highway construction, even at the risk of alienating his only son. Converted from a 1900s-era auto garage, The Purple Rose Theatre Company distributes sight lines evenly throughout its 168-seat auditorium and grumbling Model T ghosts throughout its marbled 1930s-style lobby.