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Michigan Theater in need of new marquee

Posted at 5:26 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 05:51:00-05

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Theater in Jackson is turning 90 this year, but it's starting to show it's age, especially on its marquee.

Steve Tucker, who calls himself a "seasoned marquee changer," said arranging messages on the three-sided marquee with the suctioned cup marquee changer can take an hour, even longer in the cold.

"If it's icy, the letters won't stick...this suction cup has to be warm," said Tucker.

Not only is it time-consuming for the three-staffed crew, but Tucker said it's dangerous.

"If the letters do fall, they have been known to injure people, the point will take your eye out...no kidding," Tucker said.

The theater hosts hundreds of events for the city each year, but with its old marquee, many events can't be advertised.

"With 300 events, we can't do it right now," said Tucker.

This is why the theater is raising money to replace it with a new LED marquee.

"It will look exactly like 1930, same text, same font but we can change it electronically via a keyboard," said Tucker.

This news has both the city and community members excited for its historic theater.

"It's a huge landmark for downtown Jackson, over the decades we have lost all but one so we are lucky to have the Michigan theater left," said Aaron Dimick, the spokesperson for Jackson.

"Jackson's hidden gem is this theater and people we really need to support it, if it needs a marquee let's give it a marquee," said Dawn Willughby, a Jackson resident.

But a new marquee has a steep price tag of $90,000, which is why money made from tickets to its 90th birthday gala on April 30 will go towards paying for a new sign.

"We are selling tickets for that night, those people will be marquee sponsors and their names will be on the marquee," said Tucker.

Now if the theater raises $90,000 by the birthday gala, the new marquee will be revealed on April 30.

This marquee is just the start of renovations to the historic theater.

During the gala, Michigan Theater board members also plan on revealing an 18-month plan to future interior upgrades.

For more information or how to donate to the non-profit theater, click click here.

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