Newsroom - Press Release

Celebrating State-Wayne Theatre's 75 Years

The State-Wayne Theatre is having a 75th anniversary celebration and reunion party for the theatre staff from the past 7 decades.

August 11, 2022

WAYNE, Michigan, <8/11/2022> – Phoenix Theatres announces the 75th anniversary of the State-Wayne Theatre, which opened its doors on December 29, 1946. Today it remains the oldest operational business in its founding service from 75th years ago in Downtown Wayne.

Being a part of Wayne's historical heritage, the theatre's anniversary will be a celebration of not only the theatre, but a reunion for the decades of devoted staff members and management. Phoenix Theatres State–Wayne will hold announced a special Anniversary & Reunion Party for former employees of the theatre to attend on September 7th at 6:00pm.

"If you were a former employee of the theatre at any time over the past seven decades, I am personally inviting you to attend our reunion party," said Phoenix Theatres State-Wayne president and owner Cory Jacobson. "I meet people every week that have the fondest memories of having worked at the State-Wayne, and as someone who grew up in the theatre business, I have a personal nostalgia for the unique family theatre working experience."

"State-Wayne is such an intimate theatre and I thought it would be a wonderful time to have this group of people reunite, catch up on their lives and see how vibrant the State-Wayne Theatre is in her 75th year," Jacobson added.

The party will be catered by a close friend of Phoenix Theatres, Peter Ginopolis' "Ginopolis' Bar-BQ Smokehouse" and will feature a private showing of Tom Cruise's summer blockbuster "Top Gun: Maverick." Former employees are invited to contact the Phoenix Theatres corporate office at 248-478-7170 to R.S.V.P. or visit for information on the event.

Restoring a Look from a Glitzy Past

On August 16th the State-Wayne underwent an exciting renovation. The State-Wayne's wrap-around marquee, one of the largest original signs in North America, had the plexiglass sign faces replaced with a much more durable material, a pearl white Lexan. Additionally, all the backlighting was upgraded to LED. This move will help preserve the classic look of the marquee while reducing the amount of energy needed to power the marquee. The original wattage with fluorescent lamps consumed approximately 7,875 watts of electricity to operate (75W x 105 lamps). The retrofit LED wattage would reduce the usage to 1,659 watts. This would save approximately $4,914.12 in annual operating expense and reduce the strain on the local electrical grid.

"The retrofit will ensure that the historic 1946 marquee is always completely lit properly and will be pristine for decades into the future" added Cory Jacobson. "The State-Wayne marquee is the largest in length in the state of Michigan and is frequently photographed by visitors to Wayne as a regional landmark but also a national treasure to movie historians."

John Rhaesa, Mayor of Wayne, threw in his support of the local gem: "It is amazing that the State-Wayne is celebrating their 75th Anniversary. We are blessed to have Cory and his team here in the city. Thank you for your continued investment into the theatre. Your commitment to the City of Wayne and passion for the historic gem does not go unnoticed. I can't wait until we can celebrate the 80th anniversary, it is right around the corner."

Share Your Story Online:

In order to preserve the history of the theatre, Phoenix Theatres developed a website to tell the full story. "The history is truly about the generations of customers and staff," said Jacobson. "The telling of those stories will be part of the celebration of 75 years, and Phoenix Theatres is asking people to help create a historical timeline by posting to the theatre's website their photos and memorable stories." "Whether it's a first movie, first date, or first job memory, we want to be able to preserve these life memories from the community," Jacobson added.

For people who have a memorable story, a historic photo of a visit to the theatre or a street scene near the theatre, please go to and follow the instructions for posting.


The Michigan based Phoenix Theatres opened its first Detroit-area theatre in 2001 and currently operates 7 theatres, with the introduction of Northtowne marking their 59th theatre screen.