QUICK CLICK … From The William Davidson Digital Archive Of Jewish Detroit History, July 16, 2015
Detroit’s Jewish community is intimately familiar with theaters, today and in the past. One historic theater was the Littman’s People’s Theatre. Located at 8210 12th St. in Detroit, the Littman’s People’s Theatre opened in September 1927 and hosted Yiddish stars such as Paul Muni and Molly Picon.
Maurice H. Finkel, the same architect responsible for the notable Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, designed Littman’s. The building itself, described as “comfortable and luxurious,” seated approximately 1,100 audience members and was truly lovely. As noted by the Museum of Family History, however, the architect forgot one small detail: rooms for the actors to change in!
Despite its ability to attract both international and local acts, as well as its stunning interior, the theater had a rocky go of it. During its lifetime, the theater changed its name three times. First, its name was shortened to Littman’s Theatre in 1938. Then, after being closed four years, it was renamed the Abington in 1945 and finally, the Gold Coast, when it reopened in 1956 after temporarily closing in 1953. Despite these attempts to remain in business, the theatre ultimately closed its doors in 1958.
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.
By Meghan McGowan, Techner Family Fellow