Chicago Theatre

175 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 101 - 125 of 277 comments

CinemarkFan on September 25, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Do you call first or just walk up & pay for the tour?

I might try & get down there next week.

JRS40 on September 25, 2008 at 12:15 pm

I have just returned from a tour of the theater. They are open to the public every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for $10 per person and it lasts just over an hour. I must say it was worth every penny. We went from the lobby to a suite box to the balcony down to the main floor again to view the original organ. Then we got to go on stage and then backstage. In the backstage area Frank Sinatra (who re-opened the theater in the 80’s) started a tradition by signing the wall in the hallway. Ever since every performer has signed including entire casts of shows. We got to see the star dressing room and then down to the basement to see some great pictures of the Chicago through the years (one from 1956 with the Chicago playing “Giant” and one from 1957 with the Chicago playing “Brigadoon” while the State Lake across the street was playing “The Bridge on the River Kwai”). Someone above mentioned the condition of the projection room and while we didn’t see it we were told no film projection equipment remains and is rented for the rare time a movie is shown. The guide also claimed cleaning people have seen ghosts at night but he was quick to add he had never seen one himself. It was a great time and I highly recommend it to anyone who can get to it. The tour group was small – only about 14 of us so it was perfect.

LuisV on August 18, 2008 at 8:55 am

Idiot! The theater should sue HIM for putting other patrons at risk for his own stupidity!

Broan on August 18, 2008 at 5:31 am

View link
Some fool injured himself trying to slide down the stair rail.

lwright on June 26, 2008 at 5:08 pm

A bit more on the Chicago sign – it was my grandfather, Nathan Sitkoff who started his own sign company called Paragon Sign Company and worked with Whiteway Company owned by Tom Flannery. Grandpa made the signs and Tom Flannery’s company maintained the signs. He also made the Rialto sign, the State and Lake sign, and a sign for a bowling alley that the bowlers arm and ball moved, among others. This is what was told to me by my dad the other day when I told him I was going to be visiting Chicago in July with a group of teachers. Can’t seem to find any documentation on the Internet but my search has just begun. Anyone have any specifics?

Broan on March 2, 2008 at 12:50 pm

You’re looking for this.

CHICTH74 on March 2, 2008 at 10:32 am

Their is a listing for a “RIO” theatre but it is located in
Chicago Hights Illinois and the listing for the seats is something like 250 or 750?

This CHICAGO THEATRE started out to be called “CAPITOL” it is on the 1st plans of construction but now it is known as the CHICAGO.

I hope that you find what you are loking for and thank you for your time.

CHICTH74 on February 27, 2008 at 4:47 pm

I (my self) find that the MEZZANINE in “N” is a good place to sit “N” is in the center of the mezzanine.

The Mezzanine is located below the Balc and a bove the main floor, you can connect to the CHICAGO THEATRE web site from this CT page.

Good luck and have a great time, it is a wonderfull theatre. : )

misse97 on February 27, 2008 at 3:06 pm

I have never been to the Chicago Theatre and will be attending a concert. I wanted to know where the best place to sit would be. We want to be close but not to close. Thanks so much!!

SPearce on February 3, 2008 at 10:13 pm

In 1958 or ‘59 (correct me if I’m wrong) Warner Bros. brought to the Chicago Theater for, I think, only one day, the full panoply of the stars from essentially all of its hit TV series then to each walk on and say a few words to the audience prior to the screening of, I believe, “The Young Philadelphians.” In fact, they had a showcase bus out front to suggest it was a “busload of stars” though I doubt they actually arrived on the bus; don’t know.

At that time Warners TV seemed to have every hit show on TV. I think this program included Jack Kelly (James Garner had already left the Maverick series, which was the biggest and an early hit for Warners, which started the ball roling) plus innumerable others (there must be records somewhere). There are some stars I think were there, but don’t want to name them and be wrong.

The two biggest stars publicized to be there were Connie Stevens featured as singer “Cricket” in “77 Sunset Strip,” and Edd Byrnes, a hit newcomer in the same series, who acted a valet at the nightclub where Connie sang; he being “Kookie,” who was always seen combing his pompadour (later memorialized in the tune, “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb”). Many students were primed to go to the Loop for that one, including me.

Shortly before the show date, the Press carried the story that all of these new stars and starlets were in contract negotiations fighting for higher pay, including Connie Stevens and Edd Byrnes, and would only be in the show if they had signed their contracts. All eventually had but Connie Stevens and Edd Byrnes. A day or two before the show, Connie signed her contract in Hollywood and it was announced she would come to Chicago, but Edd Byrnes did not. Still the young audience held out hope.

The TV stars appeared as a cavalcade, outfitted as appropriate for young stars and starlets then, walked across the stage, stopped and said “Hello, I’m , and I hope you will watch me in ,” and some engaged in a little real Q & A, and then moved on. They were all wonderful, they did what they were supposed to do, and actually seemed happy to be there. Connie, absent Edd Byrnes, was considered the leading star there, and she was introduced last. She was just like “Cricket” and herself, was very cute, with her usual French twist hairdo, and even was supposed to sing a little song.

I was sitting pretty close to the front of the stage, maybe Center between Rows 3 and 5. Connie came out and tried to chat (they were really trying to give us our monies worth), and the audience kept shouting at, and imploring her, “Where’s Kookie, where’s Kookie?” She was very commiserating with the young girls, and said things like, “I know, I know; he couldn’t be here; you wanted to see him, and he would like to be here, but he can’t.” She would never say it was about the money. She answered other questions, but they kept coming back to “Kookie.” She even tried to sing her cute song. It was a standard pop tune, something like “Sunny Side of the Street,” and sadly for Connie, the audience really wasn’t attentive to her. I felt a little sorry for her because I thought she really wanted to sing; maybe the presentation actually was to be a set off for her to develop her singing career more then, I don’t know. Anyway, it didn’t work that day. But the performers were all cheered greatly. They seemed quite happy with the response from the audience.

The Warners movie was a melodrama featuring beautiful young people, including Paul Newman.

I am simply drawing on memory and this is the best I can remember it; but it was at the Chicago Theater. I was there with a schoolmate. Her older brother was required to accompany us to this because her family didn’t think she (and I) should be unaccompanied for the stage show! He, decidedly, was not interested in any of this, I thought. He was only required to be there for the stage show, and when that ended, he said to us, “Okay, I was only supposed to stay with you for the stage show,” and left. Then I decided not to stay for the movie then, and I think we all returned to the North side on our own.

bruceanthony on January 30, 2008 at 9:55 am

The Chicago should do just fine with concerts which fill Radio City Music Hall for most of the year. The Chicago with 3600 seats is a little large in this market for Broadway shows. The Oriental seats 2200, Palace around 2400 and the Bank La Salle around 2000 which are better suited for Broadway productions. The Chicago already is booking more concerts since MSG has taken over. I hope they are able to figure out how to fit the Radio City Christmas Spectacular into the Chicago which would be a scaled down version of the show at Radio City in New York.brucec

Broan on January 21, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Here is an early view

dsadowski on January 6, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Responding to an earlier question, in the 1950s the theater now known as the Cadillac Palace was outfitted for Cinerama. So Cinerama wasn’t shown here.

But I did see the restored Abel Gance 1927 film Napoleon at the Chicago Theater prior to renovation. while not Cinerama, this did involve three synchronized projectors. The three images were tinted different colors.

This showing featured a live orchestra under the direction of Francis Ford Coppola’s father.

LuisV on January 1, 2008 at 1:16 pm

I just saw The Kathy Griffin special “Going Straight To Hell” and I was struck at how beautiful the theater was. I waited for the closing credits and saw that it was indeed The Chicago Theater. It was great to see this theater full and looking so beautiful.

CSWalczak on December 13, 2007 at 8:15 am

In a sense, yes. Most Broadway shows in Chicago are now booked in as part of the Broadway in Chicago series each year which is a joint venture of the powerhouse Nederlander Organization and Live Nation. They either own or have long term leases on the Cadillac Palace, the Oriental (Ford Center), and the LaSalle Bank Theatre (formerly Shubert) They also occasionally book shows into the Auditorium Theater and the Drury Lane at Water Tower Place. With that kind of clout, it would be difficult for another house to compete for the shows. Also given the up and down availability of product, the question would have to be asked if Chicago really needs another large capacity house intended for Broadway-type shows right now.

I have also been told that the Chicago, is spite of its seating capacity (over 3,000) has both a shallow stage and inadequate load-in and load-out access to the stage, making it difficult if not impossible for shows with large and complex sets to play there. It did have runs of a few shows in the past “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for example, but the staging of that show is simple compared to, say, “Wicked”. Many of the classic movie palaces that began as vaudeville houses or combination movie and stage show houses had shallow stages because vaudeville and the stage shows back then didn’t require complex stage sets.

This is one of the reasons that the costs of restoring and adaptive re-use of theaters are often staggering: the stagehouse has to be thoroughly rebuilt, brought up to modern building codes, and equipped with new rigging, computerized lighting,loading docks and large access doors. When the now defunct Livent company acquired the Oriental, it also acquired the old Bailey Typewriter Building behind the Oriental’s stage house, broke through the wall, and expanded the stage space so that the modern Broadway blockbuster could play there. I have been on the restored Cadillac Palace’s stage and it too now has large access doors, modern rigging, and fly space. The former Shubert/Majestic has had a number of remodelings, a huge one just recently.

I’m sure that MSG will decide if it wants to make the kind of investment that would enable make the Chicago capable of handling a contemporary Broadway blockbuster or use it as is for different kinds of events and entertainments. Given how slowly things sometimes move in Chicago (look at Block 37 across the street), I wouldn’t think an overhaul of the Chicago’s stagehouse will happen any time soon, even MSG decides to go that route.

Robin Roz
Robin Roz on December 13, 2007 at 6:25 am

I hope that MSG can do a better job of booking the theatre. What has kept it busy has been the revival of “Shear Madness.” But that’s only playing in the basement and is a terrible under-use of the space. Yeah, it’s probably bringing in some money. But the big shows seem to go elsewhere.

Have the Oriental and Cadillac Palace taken bookings from the Chicago? I heard that the Chicago is too small for today’s big shows.

Broan on November 12, 2007 at 8:20 am

Here is a recent shot of the facade

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 31, 2007 at 11:36 am

That has been discussed in the past. But the building owners were smart. They knew they had something the theatre wanted and asked for a huge sum of money. MSG definitely has deep pockets. So maybe a deal will come to pass this time.

oldjoe on October 30, 2007 at 5:10 pm

there has been talk of msg buying the building behind the stage and breaking thru the wall

bruceanthony on October 13, 2007 at 9:44 am

I am happy that Madison Square Garden Entertainment is in the process of purchasing the great Chicago Theatre. It was one of the most sucessful movie palaces in the nation and has been used very poorly and under booked as a stage house. MSG may have the muscle to compete a little better with Brodaway in Chicago. I know that some of the larger productions have a problem with the stage area of the Chicago but some would fit perfectly. Im sure concert bookings would improve greatly since MSG owns both Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon in NYC.Hopefully they can figure out a way of fitting the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in the Chicago. brucec

vic1964 on October 12, 2007 at 6:09 pm

Cam!Truly amazing!

Cam on September 10, 2007 at 9:30 pm

Hi LTS — thanks for the kind words. If you get a minute, shoot me an email (). It’s about a project you might find interesting.