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City of Detroit Landmark Enchants Guests with Dazzling Theater Productions

Mar 28, 2008
Envisioned by the Fisher Brothers as "the most beautiful building in the world," the Fisher Building in Detroit was designed by Albert Kahn in the early 1920s. The seven brothers were sons of Lawrence Fisher, Sr., a Ohio carriage maker. Coming to Detroit, the brothers founded Fisher Body Company, which eventually was bought out by General Motors. Their aim was to create a building in Detroit that would express the Fishers' appreciation of their new hometown.

When completed, the Fisher Building interior included a variety of marble from places such as France, Germany, Italy, and Greece. A barrel vaulted ceiling was decorated with cherubs and eagles. Along the building's arcade, visitors are met with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and in panels along the walls. Between 500 to 600 of the chandelier's lights are replaced at a time. Visitors to the Fisher were greeted by men in white who would park their cars; free babysitting for shoppers, complete with a carousel and nurses; and a lavish lunch in the famed Huyler's L'Aiglon tea room.

In the Fisher Theater, guests admired the Aztec theme and Mexican-Indian art, as well as banana trees, and wandering macaws that audience members fed by hand. In the lobby, goldfish and turtles made their home in a pond. Here, performances by the house orchestra, organ recitals, stage shows, and movies entertained guests. Following the Depression, the theater mainly operated as a movie house.

In 1961, the theater was remodeled as a live theater under the management of the Nederlander Theatrical Corporation. The original 3,500 seats were scaled down to 2,089 to create a more intimate atmosphere for guests. The Nederlander family began their theater legacy with David Nederlander, son of a Detroit cigar maker. David managed the Detroit Opera House, where the likes of Barrymore, Eddie Cantor, and Al Jolson made appearances. He later operated the Shubert and Cass theaters, which featured Jack Benny, Gloria Swanson, and Better Davis.

In 1961, David and his sons turned their attention to the Fisher Theater, hosting many shows that were on their way to Broadway and building the country's largest subscription audience. Today, the Nederlander family owns theaters across the USA and in London, England.

Today, the Fisher Theater, Broadway in Detroit, features some of theater's most popular traveling Broadway productions. For instance, in January 2008, Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Whistle Down the Wind" came direct from London. Proclaimed by critics to be "Andrew Lloyd Webber's best show since 'Phantom of the Opera,'" the production is an uplifting musical about a young Louisiana girl and her siblings as they approach the first Christmas since the death of their mother. They find a mysterious stranger and, convinced he is Jesus, agree to hide him from the townspeople, who are determined to find him. Based on a 1961 film of the same name, the production made its Fisher debut in January, 2008.

In February 2008, audiences thrilled to the feel-good production of "Mamma Mia!" Inspired by the story-telling magic of ABBA's timeless songs, audiences enjoy the funny tale by writer Catherine Johnson, of family and friendship as it unfolds on a Greek island. Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, who composed the music for ABBA, were involved in the development of the show from its inception. With more productions playing internationally than any other musical, "Mamma Mia!" is a global smash hit and has won numerous Tony Awards.
About the Author
Checker Sedan provides limousine Detroit service from the Detroit Metro Airport servicing the Detroit Metro region. Detroit travel has never been easier with limousine Detroit service.
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