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Music Hall

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Wilson Theatre
1928, William Kapp of Smith, Hinchman and Grylls. 350 Madison Ave.

Matilda Wilson (1883–1967), the widow of John F. Dodge who married Alfred G. Wilson, commissioned the design of this intimate legitimate theater. Kapp was the architect of the Wilsons' country house, Meadow Brook, then under construction near Rochester (OK2). The lovely, light exterior of the Art Deco theater is faced with pale yellowish-brown Mankato stone and orange-tan brick; trimmed with cream, orange, and green terra-cotta mosaics; and embellished with masks of Tragedy and Comedy and other drama symbols in terra-cotta by Corrado Joseph Parducci. The ticket lobby leads to the main lobby and from there either down a short flight of stairs to the lounge or up one of two flanking staircases to the main floor of the theater. The auditorium is richly decorated in a Spanish Renaissance theme. Inside the building the colors of the exterior intensify into aquas, rusts, and golds and the walls are paneled in dark wood and travertine. Thomas Di Lorenzo's colorful decorative painting on plastered beams that pose as wood gives focus to the stage. The main floor, mezzanine, and balcony of the auditorium seat nearly 1,800. Six floors of offices are over the ticket lobby. The Wilson Theatre was renamed Music Hall in 1946, after the Wilsons sold it to Henry Reichhald and it became the home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In 1951 Music Hall was sold to Mervin Gaskin, who converted it to Cinerama. Today it is a center for the performing arts. The linkage of Music Hall with Harmonie Park/Madison Avenue and Grand Circus Park (WN27) and the Fox Theatre (WN33) forms a historic theater district.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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