In the twenty-first century, Chinese cities tend to rely on cultural megastructures to define their new districts and reflect their aspirations. A grand theater, which is a complicated building type in terms of technology and has a striking image, is a central attraction and the focus of a new district. This paper focuses on Taiyuan City, a second-tier Chinese city with a brilliant history that has been gradually reduced to mediocrity. This paper aims to reveal the relationship among productivity, urban development, and theater construction in different historic periods; highlights the initiation, design, and implication of the latest grand theater designed by a French firm; and investigates the city and its performing arts spaces, stakeholders, and various forces that make the theater and its urban form. These affective forces may be typical in Central China, which is a generally backward area compared with the entire country. The paper presents proper descriptors for performing arts buildings in Taiyuan for three generations, and the lessons from Taiyuan can provide references for other cities that face similar problems and challenges.