The Metropolitan Theater is a stage theater located on High Street. Founded in 1924, it is one of West Virginia's foremost centers for the dramatic arts, hosting stage plays and other presentations several times a year. Featured on the West Virginia Historic Theatre Trail, the Metropolitan Theatre is a cornerstone of Morgantown history and culture and introduces local youth to the dramatic arts through its junior theater programs. Outside the theatre, a statue of Morgantown native Jesse 'Don' Knotts has been installed. Knotts frequently performed at the Metropolitan.
The Metropolitan Theatre is the only theatre in Morgantown to have retained its original architectural integrity since opening in 1924. Shortly after opening, the Metropolitan Theatre was deemed West Virginia's most
beautiful playhouse. George P. and John P. Comuntzis bought land from Milton and Hattie Hirschman of
New York City for $130,000 on January 10, 1921 and began construction on their playhouse. The same man who built the West Virginia University College of Law building, C.W. Bates of Wheeling, was also responsible for building the Metropolitan Theatre.
The plans for the $500,000 building are gone, and the architect's
wife destroyed his sketches, so it is hard to know exactly how many rooms
are in the building. A 1924 description noted a large room in the basement
to house a cafeteria, billiard room and barber shop, a sub-basement
included the power plant and heating and ventilating systems. Under the
stage was a room for musicians, plus space for scenery, baggage rooms and
dressing rooms. The dressing rooms were on outside walls to get light
and ventilation. Above the pool room (below the theatre) are two storage
rooms - one very large under the lobby area and a smaller one under one
of the small storage rooms. A complete sign shop was located in one of
the basement rooms. 1