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Michigan Theater closes main auditorium for the month of July to install new seats

Installation of seats marks next phase of the State and Michigan Project

Credit: Flickr
Credit: Flickr

ANN ARBOR – I've written before about one of the most important aspects of any movie-going experience: the seats. Comfortable seating can make or break one's love of a theater and, for me, is just as important as the sound and picture quality.

Like the State before it, this writer is happy to report that the Michigan Theater is addressing the (slightly) out-dated seats in its main auditorium and, as a result, will be closed throughout the month of July while the new seats are installed. 

This project marks the next phase of the Michigan Theater Foundation's successful State and Michigan Project, which saw the reopening of the renovated State Theatre in December. While the new seats will no doubt be a wonderful addition to the Michigan Theater screening experience, unfortunately this means that no films will play in the main auditorium, nor will there be any live events. However, the theater itself will remain open and will show movies in its screening room and annex cinema. The State Theatre will also be showing plenty of films on all four of its screens.

When it reopens, the main floor will boast comfortable, historically appropriate seats with a significant increase in leg room for all seats (praise be). With that increase will come a reduction in seating capacity -- the auditorium will now be able to host approximately 1,600 patrons at a time, down from the current 1,710 maximum. The original seats will remain in the balcony for the time being, featuring the original hardware from the seats’ installation in 1942 and the refurbished cushions from 1986.

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A look at the State Theatre's new seats, Ahh comfort. (Credit: Matt Giles)

While the new seats are installed, another aspect of the project will also be taking place: initial work on repairing the 1928 Barton Organ’s pipe system. The planned updates to the Barton Organ’s pipe system mark a continuation of the important restoration work that began in 2014, when the Barton Organ’s keyboard and console were removed, cleaned, repaired and meticulously re-assembled.

The organ has received daily use since then, one of only a handful of historic pipe organs that remains in its original home. The extensive repair of the organ’s pipes and chambers will likely continue past the auditorium’s reopening in August.

In addition to its SavCo Hospitality Summer Classic Film Series, which includes "00Summer" (Double-O Summer), the Michigan Theater will screen the following films throughout July:

About the Michigan Theater Foundation, Inc.

Michigan Theater Foundation, Inc. is a Michigan nonprofit organization, whose mission is to bring together audiences and support to appreciate and advance cinema and the performing arts, measurably benefit the diverse communities it serves, and maintain and protect the historic building entrusted to it. The Michigan Theater Foundation operates The Michigan Theater, The State Theatre, Art House Convergence and the Cinetopia Film Festival. For more information visit michtheater.org

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