A keystone in Ann Arbor is the historic circa-1927 grand Michigan Theater in the heart of downtown. When the theater opened on the heels of the silent film era, the Michigan was replete with a symphony pit and a grand Wurlitzer-style organ—it’s fully restored, and the local symphony still performs here.
In the hey-day the Michigan played host to budding Vaudeville performers such as Jack Benny and Bing Crosby.
By the 1970s the Michigan was facing the wrecking ball but visionary locals saved and restored the elegant gem.
In addition to serving as the Executive Director of the Michigan Theater, Collins also overseas operations at the neighboring 1940s-era State Theater.
He’s also the founder of the revered Cinetopia International Film Festival held every June in Ann Arbor. Additionally, Collins is the Conference Director for the annual Art House Convergence Conference held in Utah in partnership with the Sundance Institute’s Art-House project.
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* The Ann Arbor Historic Theater & Film Festival show was first broadcast as an NPR Podcast in June, 2015 and is reposted as a reprise show in honor of the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer NPR podcast Ann Arbor series winning the 2016 Lowell Thomas Audio travel broadcast Award.