Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre

24 West Randolph Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 101 - 125 of 186 comments

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 16, 2007 at 9:18 pm

As I recall, the balcony of the Oriental isn’t too steep. I think you should feel safe. The only problem I can see would come into play if your seats are right up on the railing. It will be obvious at that point that you are about 1 ½ stories from the main floor.

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on January 16, 2007 at 9:06 pm

TO reginamon :
If you would like to see the Orential Balc pic you can try the broadway in chicago site that is the offical site for the Orential if you look at the top of the profile you will see a link for it onder related websites. If that cant halp you when you get to the theatre before you go to your ticked seat ask to speak to the HOUSE MGR. you might be able to get a relocation pass for your self but not the whole group. But as i sayed before before you go to the balc ask to speak to the HOUSE MGR. and see what he/she can do .
Have a great time and enjoy the show. :)

reginamom
reginamom on January 16, 2007 at 9:41 am

My Girl Scout troop will be attending the play Wicked soon at the Oriental Theatre and of course we have balcony seats, because cookie money doesn’t go very far! I am deathly afraid of heights and I was wondering if anyone can tell me where I can find pictures of the interior of the theatre so that I can mentally prepare for how high up the seats are before we go.
Thanks
Troop leader

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 13, 2007 at 5:01 pm

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978

New Masonic Building and Oriental Theater *** (added 1978 – Building – #78003401)
Also known as Oriental Theatre
20 W. Randolph St., Chicago
Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Rapp & Rapp
Architectural Style: Art Deco, Late Gothic Revival
Area of Significance: Architecture, Entertainment/Recreation
Period of Significance: 1925-1949
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade, Recreation And Culture, Social
Historic Sub-function: Business, Clubhouse, Theater
Current Function: Commerce/Trade, Recreation And Culture
Current Sub-function: Business, Theater

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 5, 2007 at 11:38 am

Here is a recent interior view of the Oriental Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 29, 2006 at 1:33 pm

This is a recent view of the Orien al (Oriental) Theater.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 18, 2006 at 6:30 am

In January, 1940, the Oriental and Woods shared Chicago’s premiere engagement of “Gone With the Wind,” but advertised separately:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/chiGWTW.jpg

DimitriusStrong
DimitriusStrong on December 18, 2006 at 2:24 am

Awesome, invaluable info. Thanks very much BW.

Broan
Broan on December 17, 2006 at 11:30 pm

The United Artists was at the SE corner of Randolph and Dearborn, The Woods was at the NW Corner, with the Cinestage and Michael Todd on Dearborn next to it. Next to the Woods on Randolph was the Garrick, which was long gone by the 80s, as was the Apollo a little north of it. Another block down was the Palace, which also did live shows as the Bismarck. Also next to the Chicago in the Walgreens building was the small Loop theater, and across from Field’s was the Roosevelt. These were the major theaters of the “Randolph Street Rialto”.

Thanks for all your recollections!

DimitriusStrong
DimitriusStrong on December 17, 2006 at 10:56 pm

Werent there several other theaters up and down the same street The Oriental was located? I was very young then to remember what they were named, but I do remember several more up and down the same block. Anyone who can name them for me, it would be greatly appreciated to further my research of these amazing theatrical palaces.

Broan
Broan on November 28, 2006 at 1:30 pm

Here is a 1960s shot of the Oriental reflected in a restaurant across the street.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 20, 2006 at 4:03 pm

Wish I could have seen it in person.

Broan
Broan on November 20, 2006 at 12:55 pm

1927 views of the Oriental Marquee can be seen by searching http://www.wttwdigitalarchives.com/searchres.php for 26128 or 26129.

Broan
Broan on November 17, 2006 at 12:21 pm

Here is the marquee in its ‘Wicked’ glory.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 1, 2006 at 4:23 pm

Amazing photo. I remember taking a bus from that Trailways depot when I was a really little kid.

Broan
Broan on November 1, 2006 at 3:14 pm

Here is a postcard view of the Oriental.

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on October 5, 2006 at 8:27 pm

As i have written in the other post in the Chicago Mag October edition.
on page 116 their is a very nice pic of the Orential sign and marquee
i think it is from the 401s judgeing from the car in the pic.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 1, 2006 at 11:19 am

This is a recent view of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theater.

Broan
Broan on August 20, 2006 at 1:57 pm

Here is a 1950s view of the glitzy Randolph Street Rialto.

Broan
Broan on August 20, 2006 at 1:30 pm

Here is an early postcard view of the New United Masonic Temple Building/Oriental Theater

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on August 3, 2006 at 11:58 am

Thank You for the HAARGIS photo i forgot how the Orential looked back then. Thank You for your time :)

Broan
Broan on August 3, 2006 at 9:30 am

Here is an early 1990s HAARGIS photo of the unrestored Oriental from across Block 37.

JimRankin
JimRankin on June 19, 2006 at 9:16 pm

The “open bulb” type of sign that Brian refers to is called a SKELETON sign, and was quite popular for its big impact and lower cost. Incandescent versions were most common, but neon versions also existed, especially in the less storm and ice prone areas.

As to why it seemed so redundant in multiple wordings, remember the tenor of times: the Second world War was over and the country was newly flush with money, materials for bigger signs, and the guys back from the war to make and install these things. Sign companies saw it as a bonanza for them as they would usually give a prominent palace a sweet dealm to ‘upgrade’ its signage so that their salesmen could flash new color photos of the newness to owners/operators of other theatres and claim the palace had increased its gate by some mythical percentage as a result of the new, larger, brighter signs attracting the eye of the passerby.

One must also remember that automobile ownership ballooned after the war and so passerbys were now often speeding by, so it took a bigger spectacle to assure they would see an exhibitor’s sign amid the clutter of many other new, larger signs of all businesses. This competition for always bigger and brighter got so extreme that social standards groups started campaigns to return to “sane” non-garish signage, and politicians who sensed the change in the wind of public acceptance, lost no time in enacting leglislation to limit the size and character of signs, and it was the theatre Vertical that was the most conspicuous and therefore often the first to go.

By the end of the Sixties, the country’s moral climate changed from the moral and conservative of the war years, to the permissive and amoral. Sign restrictions were seen as part of the old Blue Laws and were repealed — or simply unenforced — across the land. The psychedelic era arrived along with strobe lights, so bright lights were hip again and who would restrain trade? Some places will now accept Verticals, some won’t in the typical patchwork quilt of laws in this country. Read back issues of “Signs Of The Times” magazine for articles.