The Mendelssohn Theatre, tucked away in the back of the second floor of the Michigan League, opened in May 1929 with the opening of the League, according to the theatre’s website.
Throughout its existence the theatre has played host to shows that later went on to be performed on Broadway.
The theatre gets its name from Lydia Mendelssohn, the mother of Gordon Mendelssohn, who donated $50,000 to erect the theatre.
During the Great Depression, the University’s Women’s League, which was responsible for the upkeep of the building and the theatre, went bankrupt and the University took over operation of the theatre, according to Barry LaRue, senior performance halls operations manager for University Productions.
LaRue said though there are many theatres on campus, the Mendelssohn has a unique character.
“Various theatres that we have represent a wide variety of architectural styles that allow people to choose the right venue,” he said. “(But) some things just fit in Mendelssohn perfectly.”
Today, the theatre is used for academic events, as well as theatrical performances from the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and Ann Arbor Civic Theater, according to Jeffrey Kuras, director of University Productions.
Kuras said when he’s been a part of performances at the Mendelssohn he could “tell that people have been moved.”
“People refer to the Mendelssohn like a person,” he said.
Kuras added that University Productions encourages students to see shows at the Mendelssohn by charging $9 for student tickets as opposed to $24 for general admission.