Frauenthal Center for the Perfoming Arts

425 W. Western Avenue,
Muskegon, MI 49440

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Related Websites

Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: W.S. Butterfield Theaters Inc.

Architects: Charles Howard Crane

Functions: Movies (Silent), Performing Arts

Styles: Spanish Renaissance

Previous Names: Michigan Theater

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 231.722.9750

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Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts, Muskegon, MI - auditorium

The Michigan Theater opened on September 17, 1930 with a seating capacity of 1,848. Built during the Depression, by Schlossman Theatre Inc., and designed by famed theater architect C. Howard Crane, descriptions of the theater from this time talk of an extraordinary beauty and grace.

The theater was purchased in October 1976 by the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, with a generous grant of $475,000 provided by A. Harold Frauenthal.

From 1995 to 1998, a $7.5 million restoration project returned this gem to its original beauty.

Recently, the theater has served as the location of the Cherry County Playhouse, as well as the Miss Michigan Scholarship Program.

Contributed by Rob Huisingh

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

kencmcintyre on July 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm

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

Patsy on October 24, 2009 at 5:56 am

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

Patsy on October 24, 2009 at 5:58 am

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

Patsy on October 24, 2009 at 5:58 am

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

JimFles on January 4, 2010 at 4:30 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.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on May 29, 2013 at 7:16 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 9, 2016 at 3:58 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.

DavidZornig on March 11, 2019 at 6:11 pm

1944 post card added courtesy John D. Ostrom.

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