The city of Detroit is reputed to have more theater seats than any other city nationwide except for Broadway. The Motor City is blessed with many fine professional theater companies that stage locally produced comedies, dramas and musicals at venues large and small! Learn about some of the best such as Detroit Repertory Theatre, The Gem & Century Theatres, Hilberry Theatre and more. – Donald V. Calamia,


Detroit Repertory Theatre

13103 Woodrow Wilson
Detroit, MI 48238

The Detroit Repertory Theatre is the oldest producing professional theater in Michigan – and is one of a handful of neighborhood-based professional theaters in this country that still survives. The Rep produces four major productions each year, each of which runs approximately eight weeks and is performed six times per week. The theater seats 194 and operates under an Actors’ Equity Association Small Professional Theatre contract.


The Gem & Century Theatres

333 Madison St.
Detroit, MI 48226

Built in 1927 as The Little Theatre, The Gem Theatre houses a two-level theater with traditional row-and-aisle seating upstairs and intimate seating at cabaret tables on the main floor. It shares a lobby with the cabaret-style Century Theatre, which was built in 1903. In October 1997, The Gem & Century Theatres were moved five-blocks on wheels to its current location to make way for Comerica Park. At a distance of 1,850 feet, it is the furthest known relocation of a sizable building. Today, The Historic Gem & Century Theatres, Elwood Bar & Grill and Colony Club sparkle in the heart of Detroit’s entertainment district and offer a variety of live theater productions and special events.


Hilberry Theatre

4743 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202

Unique among Detroit’s professional theaters, The Hilberry Theatre is the nation’s first and only graduate repertory theater company, charged with presenting six classic and modern plays in rotating repertory from October to mid May. Established in 1963 with the belief that repertory theater is the best possible training ground for careers in the theater, the Hilberry was the brainchild of Leonard Leone. Clarence B. Hilberry, then president of Wayne State University, personally took the responsibility of raising the funds to convert the First Church of Christ Scientist in Detroit into an open-stage theater, which now stands as a memorial to his leadership.


Michigan Opera Theatre

1526 Broadway St.
Detroit, MI 48226

Michigan Opera Theatre is the state’s premier opera company. Through its commitment to producing the very best professional productions from the grand opera, opera, operetta, musical theater, ballet and arts education programming, MOT serves as a statewide cultural resource and ranks among the nation’s 10 largest opera companies by operating budget and audience. Since its inception in 1971, MOT has offered Southeast Michigan outstanding main stage repertory, ranging from the comedy of Mozart to the drama of Verdi to the Tony Award-winning work of Stephen Sondheim.


Plowshares Theatre Company


Since 1990, Plowshares Theatre Company has been the alternative voice in metro Detroit’s performing arts community – a theater that offers a true off-Broadway experience with the kind of entertaining and diverse productions that has made it a favorite among discerning patrons. Plowshares is an urban theater with a distinctly Detroit style. The name of the theater company is synonymous with its mission: Plowshares is dedicated to “breaking new ground” by nurturing emerging talent, providing exciting opportunities to artists and audiences alike to experience great plays.

Other theaters to check out:

The Abreact Performance Space
1301 W. Lafayette, #113
Detroit, MI 48226

Breathe Art Theatre Project
Performs at The Furniture Factory
4126 3rd St.
Detroit, MI 48201

Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company
Performs at 1515 Broadway Theater
1515 Broadway
Detroit, MI 48226

Matrix Theatre Company
2730 Bagley Street
Detroit, MI 48216