Friday, October 8, 2010

1515 Broadway, just one small stage in Detroit's expansive theater district

The storefront window of Inside Detroit's Woodward Avenue office announces a bunch of interesting facts about downtown Detroit, stats that rave about the number of bars and restaurants downtown and the low-crime rate.

Another factoid glows about Detroit's theater district, the second-largest in the country (behind only New York). I always found that one hard to believe.

1515 Broadway neighbors Small Plates and the DBC
But then I got a peak inside one of that theater district's lesser-known stages earlier today when I happened by 1515 Broadway. For the first time, I realized that 1515 isn't just the address of a small store and cafe, which its first appearance suggests. Behind the small table and counter area up front, a black curtain hides a dark, intimate theater that hosts local productions and music acts. For the current show, "Play It Again, Sam" by the Magenta Giraffe Theatre Co., the house is full if 70-some people show up. Eighty is standing room only. On a typically evening, according to a woman working behind the counter up front, about 25 to 30 people show up, which makes for a theater experience you've never known if you're only familiar with visiting the Fox or Fisher.

If nothing else, the experience re-affirmed that when it comes to downtown Detroit, sometimes you need to slow down and take a closer look. A lot of times you don't know what's behind the curtain.

CHECK IT OUT: 1515 Broadway is located next to Small Plates, two doors down from the Detroit Beer Co. 'Play It Again, Sam' takes the stage every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 17. For more info, call 313-408-7269.