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The Metropolitan Theatre in downtown Morgantown was billed as ‘‘West Virginia’s most beautiful playhouse’’ when it opened in 1924. Architect C. W. Bates was commissioned to build the theater by the Comuntzis brothers, Greek immigrant businessmen. The finished building cost more than $500,000 and was one of the state’s finest examples of neoclassical revival architecture, a scaled-down version of New York’s famous Metropolitan Opera House. Opening night featured a vaudeville program. The theater stopped featuring such acts in September 1928, and booked its first talking motion picture six months later.

The Metropolitan was the only one of Morgantown’s four theaters left open by 1931. It was known as ‘‘The House of the Pipe Organ’’ because of the large organ that accompanied performances. Some of the era’s biggest stars performed at the theater, including Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Helen Hayes, and Jack Benny. After World War II, the theater began to show mostly movies. Later, West Virginia University used it for classes and local dance companies for recitals. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, but closed just three years later.

Efforts to renovate the theater began in the early 1990s. The Metropolitan Theatre opened again in the fall of 2003 and hosted performances for six years before closing again for the final phase of the restoration. The theater, which is now owned by the city, reopened in September 2010.

Read the National Register of Historic Places nomination.

This Article was written by Greg Moore

Last Revised on July 25, 2016


Core, Earl L. The Monongalia Story 5 vols. Parsons: McClain, 1974-84.

Callahan, James M. Jr. "Morgantown 1925-1950." M.A. thesis, West Virginia University, 1953.

Morgantown Historic Landmarks Commission. Notes on Historic Downtown Morgantown. Monongalia Historical Society, 2001.

Cite This Article

Moore, Greg "Metropolitan Theatre." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 25 July 2016. Web. 22 March 2018.


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