The auditorium can be reached by a staircase from the main entrance, by an outdoor staircase on the north (left) side of the building, or by a ramp from the south parking lot.
Patrons who find stairs difficult to manage can be driven to the top of the ramp to enter the theater at floor level. To make this entrance available to anyone who may need it, the theater asks that no vehicles remain parked at the top of the ramp on performance days.


Local, regional, and touring acts interested in performing at the theater are encouraged to e-mail theater@ontonagontheater.org, or call Theater Board President Jim Jessup at (906) 884-6866.

Contact Information

Mailing address:
Ontonagon Theater of Performing Arts
PO Box 73
Ontonagon MI  49953
Jim @ (906) 884-6866


There are small parking areas on each side of the building. On-street parking is allowed, and there are no parking meters. Numerous parking areas owned by neighboring businesses and churches typically allow evening parking. Overflow parking can be found at the Village Recreation Center about one block northeast.

Rentals & Community Use

The theater may be rented by organizations that want to use it for fundraisers, public events, or informational programming. There is a charge to use the theater, which helps the theater meet its overhead expenses.
If your group would like to use the theater, please contact Jim Jessup, Theater Board President, for availability and to discuss the cost. If you decide to use the theater, you will be asked to complete a contract, provide proof of liability insurance, and pay the applicable fee. Jim can be reached at (906) 884-6866.

The Rieger Award

A non-profit like the Ontonagon Theater of Performing Arts survives because of its volunteers and supporters. Without them, we couldn’t fulfill our mission to bring live performance art to Ontonagon. We appreciate every gesture of support, but occasionally someone does something that can only be called exceptional. To honor that level of commitment to the theater, we created the Jon H. Rieger Award. Dr. Rieger has been the theater’s most dedicated individual supporter from the beginning, quietly funding projects and asking nothing in return. This award in his name is given to persons and organizations we feel provide exceptional service and support to our theater. The award is based on merit and is not presented every year.
2012 – Tom Lee
Tom wrote the first matching grant application for the theater’s restoration when we were just getting started. The grant money received allowed for plastering and painting of the gutted auditorium as well as upgrading the wiring. This was a significant step in the theater’s restoration, not only because it created the basic auditorium you see today but also because it fueled the belief that the theater dream could become a reality.
2010 – Thomas M. Strong
Tom was a charter member of the theater board and was instrumental in planning and renovating the theater. Although he left the board to pursue other interests, during his tenure he served as treasurer, helped acquire the theater’s IRS 501(c)(3) status, assisted with grant applications, completed carpentry projects, scrubbed floors, and performed on stage for fundraisers. Tom’s leadership and willingness to do any job to benefit the theater, no matter how menial, were key in creating the facility we enjoy today.
2009 – Norman Pestka and Pestka Construction
The theater selected Norman and his company for the 2009 award because of their volunteer work when the theater was just starting out. In the beginning, we didn’t have a dime, just a dream, and the demolition and repair work Pestka Construction completed in the auditorium gave us hope and helped with the in-kind contribution we needed to apply for a Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs capital improvement grant for funding to move ahead. In addition, Norman’s brother George Pestka, a company employee, served as a trustee on the board for a number of years, providing ideas and expertise for the construction projects.
2008 – Betty Jo and Dale Parent
The first Rieger Award was presented to Betty Jo and Dale Parent for sponsoring and producing a series of musical shows in memory of their daughter Jennifer Lynn and turning the substantial proceeds over to the theater.
2008 – Sandi and Bruce Stratton
In 2008 we presented a second Rieger Award to show our appreciation to Sandi and Bruce Stratton for creative fundraising for the theater. We presented two awards that year because the Strattons were visiting from their home in Corpus Christi, Texas, and we wanted to make the presentation in person. They had purchased a guitar and, using Dr. Bruce’s connections with the music industry, had it autographed by country music celebrities and offered it to us for a raffle. In addition, through his media connections, Dr. Bruce brought a first-run movie, “Palo Pinto Gold” to the theater as a fundraiser.

Technical Specifications

Proscenium opening:
Width: 30 ft.
Height: 17 ft.
Depth  (plaster line to back wall): 20 ft.
Wing space stage right: 9 ft. – Wing space stage left: 9 ft.
Depth of apron: 10 ft.
No fly loft

Load-in door – stage level: 7 ft. x 7 ft.
Load-in doors – house level:  5-ft.\11 in. x 7-ft.\ 5 in.
Vehicle can back up to either door via the ramp on the south side of the building.
No parking directly outside doors, but parking is available nearby after loading.
Single-phase power
No road box on stage
ETC 48/96 Express control board
Eighty-four 1200-watt dimmers
Electric pipes: Three over stage, one front of house, two box booms on outside house walls, one balcony rail 52 feet from stage.
(Nothing to be placed on handrail wall)
Independent electrical outlets: four on stage, one on balcony
One follow spot mounted on balcony, cannot be moved
Sound system: 24-channel Euro Desk MX 2442A
Sixteen-channel snake from stage
Two monitor speakers, etc.
Wireless headset communication for staff and crew (4 headsets)
Two Community 4-15 subwoofers
Two pair bag-end speakers TA 5000 – I
2 QSC RMX for mains – 1000 watts
One QSC PLX 3402 for sub woofers – 3600 watts
One Crown 800 watt CO 2000 for monitors
EQ DBX 1231 mains
EQ DBX 2231 monitor
Denon CD player
Four Shure ULXS4 wireless mic systems with Beta 58 mics
Four Beta 57s – two Beta 58s – two Beta 52s
The theater encourages all performers to use the theater’s sound system
Permanently placed video projector
DVD player
Retractable screen
Two large dressing rooms under stage
Dressing rooms have chairs, counters, shelves, and costume racks
Outer waiting area has sink, seating, and costume hooks
One bathroom with sink and toilet, no shower facilities
Refrigerator – theater does not supply food or drinks
Seating capacity: 342 (main floor 260, balcony 82)
Wheelchair-accessible via ramp
Vehicles may drop off patrons at house level and return to the parking lot.
No parking at top of ramp during programs
Doors generally open at 6:00 PM (Eastern) for evening performances
Auditorium and Chandelier Room are air-conditioned
No food, drink. or chewing gum in the auditorium
Refreshments may be served at Intermission in the Chandelier Room and lobby area
Baby grand piano on stage
No orchestra pit
Theater staffed by volunteers
Three unisex restrooms on main floor, segregated restrooms downstairs, additional restroom in backstage area