Historic Detroit

Every building in Detroit has a story — we're here to share it

Telenews Theater

The architect of the Telenews, Cyril E. Schley, designed other theaters while working as a partner to C. Howard Crane. He also designed offices for the radio station, WJR, and many Grosse Pointe residences in the streamlined moderne style.

The Telenews was Detroit's first full-time newsreel theater where hour-long programs of the latest news ran continuously. The basement still contains a sound booth where WJLB originated local newscasts and baseball games were read live on the air. With an original capacity of 465, the seats in the theater have been removed.

In 1971 the theater was renamed the Plaza Theater and changed its format over to foreign films, and then to first run action pictures. The theater was renamed the Tele-Arts in April 1988; it specialized in foreign and art films, but closed as a theater in 1991.

The Telenews is a streamline moderne structure originally sheathed with orange colored terra cotta panels and contrasting turquoise terra cotta at the wall edges and parapet. Its streamlined exterior featured a convex globe at the top to communicate its programming, which was world news. The southern half of the building contained a retail storefront, now covered.

A two-sided projecting horizontal marquee was removed when the exterior of the building was completely remodeled in the year 2000 with its conversion to a nightclub, and the terra cotta was painted blue and silver, resulting in a new look to the building.

When the theater was converted into a nightclub in 2000, it was called the Bleu Room Experience, which was open briefly, then closed, then reopened.

Today, Bleu Room Detroit is an upscale well-dressed techno club featuring live music and DJ's spinning electronic and hip-hop music.

The Telenews Theater is a contributing building in the Lower Woodward Historic District, which also includes the Kresge Building, the Traver Building, the Fowler Building, the Heyn's Department Store Building, the Bedell Building, the Elliot Building, the Valpey Building, the Frank & Seder Building, the Frank & Seder Co. Building (Albert's), the Woodward Building, the Richman Brothers Co. Store Building, the Grinnell Brothers Music House, the Fisher Arcade, the Himelhoch's Building, the David Whitney Building, the Broderick Tower, the United Foundation Building, the Lane Bryant Building, the A&M Coney Island Building, the Wright-Kay Building, the Kaiser-Blair Building, the Ferguson Building, the D.J. Healy Co. Building, the Beck Building, the Singer Building and the Rayl Building.

Last updated 14/04/2023