- 2200 Auditorium Drive
- Kalamazoo, MI 49008
- (269) 387-2300
I know this doesn’t fit into the “dining” category, but when J and I go out for a night on the town, I like to write about some of the entertainment venues we visit.
Both J and I have always been theater fans. It actually started in 8th grade with me. My class took a trip to the Chicago Theater to see Cats. To this day, I still love the show. A few years ago, I took J to see Cats at the Center for the Performing Arts in Bloomington, IL. She didn’t like it nearly as much as I did.
J’s been around theater her whole life. She was involved with her high school theater group and went to many shows in Chicago with her family. One of our first dates was a night out in Chicago where we saw Wicked at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, so seeing a show together is nothing new for us.
Unfortunately, Broadway Series shows are only a once in a while thing for us. Ticket prices are usually pretty high and it’s not something we can do every couple months.
Right after moving here, I found Miller Auditorium on Twitter. Last week, I noticed a tweet about a contest to win free tickets to see The Wedding Singer. I liked the movie with Adam Sandler and just about I’ve enjoyed just about every movie turned musical. I entered the contest and what do you know, I got a DM last night telling me I had won!
The James W. Miller Auditorium is on the campus of Western Michigan University. It’s a large brown building that really has no distinguishing features. It took me a little while to find because the address I initially found was a Michigan Avenue address. I noticed on their website after I got home that if you’re using a GPS, the physical address is actually on Auditorium Drive.
There is parking all around the structure. There’s a surface lot that is faculty parking during the day and there’s also a parking garage that’s connected with a skywalk to the auditorium.
Miller Auditorium is the fourth largest auditorium in Michigan. With a seating capacity just under 4,000, it trails only the Fox Theater, Masonic Temple, and Hill Auditorium. The Auditorium is named for former WMU president James W. Miller who was at the 1968 opening of the Auditorium.
After dinner, we headed down the street to WMU. We parked in the garage which is very unlike me. I was a little confused about where we could park in the structure. Some spots had meters while others had signs for student parking. We went all the way to the top where there were no meters nor signs for parking stickers. I was a little worried about it, but when we got out, there were no tickets under my windshield wipers.
We headed down one flight of stairs to the sky bridge and made our way into the Auditorium. We were met at the door by a greeter who opened the door and thanked us for coming. Nice touch.
Since we were picking our tickets up at the box office, the first order of business was finding the box office. We entered on the balcony level and made our way down to the orchestra level to find the ticket windows. I picked up the tickets and we headed straight to our seats.
Like I mentioned earlier, our tickets were comped due to a Twitter contest, so I was pretty surprised to see they were in the highest price level. Our seats were in Row 18 of the Orchestra level on the left side of the stage.
The auditorium itself is pretty nice. Nice big seats, big aisle, and great sight lines. It’s just small enough to be intimate, but large enough to hold some major productions like the one we were seeing tonight. A feature we both thought was cool was the balcony that extended along the sides of the auditorium. It was like box seating, but it looked to be still connected to the balcony.
At intermission, we got up and looked around a little more. There are concession stands on all levels that sell miniature cans of pop, Starbucks coffee, tea, and a few snacks. There’s also a bar that sells liquor, but the only beverage allowed inside the auditorium is water, so you have to drink fairly quickly. We just had to make a quick bathroom stop between acts, but I did want to see a little more of what was offered.
As for the show itself, we both really enjoyed it. I didn’t even really remember the storyline from the movie that starred Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, so it was almost like a new show to me. J and I were both kids in the 80’s, so we appreciated a lot of the inside jokes, costumes, and the music that was played before the show started. I told J before we got there, had I not won the tickets, it probably wouldn’t have been a show I would have went to, but I’m really glad we saw it. The music was pretty good. The story was interesting, and it’s a show I would recommend now that I’ve seen it. It’s not a Tony Award winner, but it’s got some laughs.
We were both really impressed with Miller Auditorium. It’s nice to know there’s a venue like that in town that brings in some pretty good acts and at a decent price too. Tickets at the Wharton Center in East Lansing seem to be a little bit more expensive for the shows I want to see which is why we never saw a show there. Miller has a performance of Avenue Q coming up in April that I am really looking forward to.
Speaking of tickets, another cool thing I want to add is about student tickets. Any student can get a ticket to this show for $10 and WMU students can get one for $5. I believe they do this for most if not all of their shows. I love the idea and am a little jealous. If I had a deal like that when I was in college, I would have saw a lot more shows. Kudos to Miller and the sponsors that allow them to do that!
I think it’s safe to say, this will not be our last trip to Miller Auditorium.