Ann Arbor, MI – The Michigan Theater and the Ann Arbor Chapter of the American Guild of Organist are partnering to present a special May 17 screening of the silent film THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA with live accompaniment on the Michigan Theater’s Barton Organ by Andrew Rogers. The event is a benefit for the Barton Organ Restoration Project and the Ann Arbor Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

The film stars Lon Chaney at Erik, the Phantom, in what is probably his most famous and certainly his most horrifying role. Produced by Universal, the film was shot in 1923 and shelved for nearly two years while it was subjected to intensive studio tinkering. While many expected a disaster, the film turned out to be a rousing success. It was both the stepping off point for Chaney’s run as a superstar at MGM and the prototype for the horror film cycle at Universal in the 1930s.

The Michigan Theater has one of only a handful of historic pipe organs that remains in its original home. Now nearly 100 years old, the Barton Organ originally accompanied silent films such as the one being featured at this screening, bringing the action of the film to life for those in the theater. It has been played almost daily since 1972 and currently provides audiences with a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience before movies, lectures, and concerts and offers a glimpse of the past as it accompanies screenings of classic silent films several times a year. This screening will help to raise fund toward the current $200,000 restoration of the Barton Organ necessary to keep the music playing for future generations of theater goers.

Reserved seat ticket prices are $10, $12 & $15. VIP tickets are $50. Patrons who purchase the VIP package are invited to a special pre-show dessert and champagne reception sponsored by Zingerman’s Bakehouse from 5:30- 6:30 PM in the Michigan Theater grand foyer. The VIP package also includes reserved seating for the film screening at 7 PM. Tickets available at ticketweb.com. For more information, go to annarborago.org/phantom.

The Ann Arbor Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) works to support and foster the enrichment of lives through organ and choral music. The chapter has enjoyed long and deep ties with local arts organizations and universities, making Ann Arbor the epicenter of commitment to fine organ and choral music for 45 years. Beyond providing professional development and inspiration to organists of all ages, the chapter engages wider audiences with the historic and evolving roles of organ and choral music through free public concerts and lectures.

Now celebrating its 88th year, the Michigan Theater is Ann Arbor's award-winning non-profit historic center for fine film and performing arts. The Michigan Theater welcomes more than 250,000 visitors each year to its art house films, concerts, lectures, live theater, and special programs such as Sundance Film Festival USA and Cinetopia International Film Festival. The Michigan Theater also owns and operates the historic State Theater located just up the street at 233 State Street. The Michigan Theater is located in downtown Ann Arbor at 603 East Liberty Street. Visit michtheater.org or call the 24-hour information line at (734) 668-TIME for schedule and ticket information.

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