Ang Manila Metropolitan Theatre (Tanghalang Pangkalakhan ng Maynila) o mas kilala sa tawag na MET ay isang gusaling na halimbawa ng Philippine Art Deco, na dinisenyo ng Arkitektng Pilipino na si Juan M. Arellano na sinasabing isa sa kanyang pinakamahalagang proyekto.
Binuksan noong Disyembre 10, 1931, ang teatro ay nagpalabas ng ilang mga international artist tulad nina Ted Shawn, Jascha Heifetz, Amelita Galli-Curci at Fritz Kreisler at mga lokal na palabas tulad ng “Mga Ngiti ng 1936,” “Querer Ranchero” at “Luisa Fer nando” na bahagi ng hitik na mga pagtatampok noong dekadang iyon. Ayon sa Arkitektong si Gerald Lico, isa sa pinakasikat na kaganapan na nangyari sa MET ay ang pagpapakilala kay sa karakter na si Mickey Mouse.
Sa kasamaang palad, lubhang napinsala ang gusaling ito pagkatpos ng Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig noong 1945, kung saan halos napulbos ang mga dingding at nawala ang ilan sa mga bubong nito. Bagaman naisalba ang malaking bahagi nito sa tulong ng mga Amerikano pagkatapos ng digmaan, nahirapang ibalik ang dati nitong sigla at unti-unting nawalan ng saysay hanggang noong 1960’s. Ginawa itong mistulang pabahay, paupahan, bar, boxing arena, basketball court at iba pa.
Ang mga pagsisikap sa maibalik ang MET sa dati nitong anyo ay sinimulan noong 1978, na pinamunuan ng pamangkin ni Juan Arellano na si Otilio. Ang plano na ito ay masusing sinuportahan naman ni Imelda Marcos sa panahon ng kanyang pamamahala bilang Gobernador ng Metro Manila. Ang ilan sa mga orihinal na detalye ng teatro tulad ng mga pinnacles at mask ay orihinal na kulay ginto.
Bagaman ang orihinal na kulay ng mga pader nito ay sinasabing off-white, iminungkahi ni Ginang Marcos na pinturahan ito ng malarosas na kulay, na hanggang sa kasalukyan ay sadyang kapansin pansin.
The Manila Metropolitan Theater is one of the best examples of a Philippine Art Deco building, which was designed by Philippine Architect Juan M. Arellano, and one of his most important projects.
Opened on December 10, 1931, the theater featured several international artists such as Ted Shawn, Jascha Heifetz, Amelita Galli-Curci and Fritz Kreisler and local shows such as “Smiles of 1936,” “Querer Ranchero” and “Luisa Fer nando” which was part of the hit scenes of that decade. According to Architect Gerald Lico, one of the most popular events that happened at MET was the introduction of the character Mickey Mouse,.
Unfortunately, this building was severely damaged after World War II in 1945, where the walls were nearly collapsed and some of its roofs disappeared. Although much of it was saved with the help of the American people after the war, it was very difficult to regain its novelty and gradually lost its significance until the 1960’s. Eventually it was made in to a temporary shelter, apartment, bar, boxing arena, basketball courts and more.
Efforts to restore MET to its original form began in 1978, led by Juan Arellano’s nephew Otilio. This plan was well supported by Imelda Marcos during his tenure as Governor of Metro Manila. Some of the early details of the theater such as pinnacles and masks were firstly painted in gold.
Although the original color of the walls were said to be off-white, it was Mrs. Marcos who suggested to be painted it in pink, which today is still striking.
Photograph by: John Tewell
Colorized by: Bilog Bilugan