Uptown Theatre

4816 North Broadway,
Chicago, IL 60640

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Showing 176 - 200 of 459 comments

uptownadviser on July 21, 2008 at 10:48 am

The chief of security at the UPTOWN continues to ask that interior photos not be posted online at this time due to security concerns. The building is probably one of the most photographed theatres of all time, and many historic photos are available through Theatre Historical Socity of America at www.historictheatres.org Photos taken on rare, approved tours are supposed to be for personal enjoyment only. Unfortunately, people still try to break in the building’s dozens of doors. There have been petty thefts in recent years, including a not-historic bust from a niche. We don’t want to risk any damage or theft to the building. We also don’t want to make it even more challenging for security. We’ve respected this specific request, online, since 1998 at www.uptowntheatre.com

balabanandkatz on July 21, 2008 at 10:26 am

There is a rumor going around that the final ownership of the theatre will be decided by the end of September. I took a walking tour with my friend Rene Rabiela Jr.a few days ago.(his dad, Rene Rabiela operated the theatre during its time as a rock and roll palace). The inside of the theater is in pretty rough shape but it is overewelmingly beautiful. There is a slide show of that tour on our website. www.balabanandkatzmagaine.com Check it out. Email me with any questions..
David Balaban
Balaban and katz historical foundation

uptownjen on May 19, 2008 at 2:05 pm

this blog explains what is happening at this moment with the uptown. it’s not much new news, though.

View link

k1052 on May 13, 2008 at 7:19 am

Warshauer is the Chairman of the Retzler Development Group so old news basically. No new entity has yet secured title on the property and won’t until the court cases run their course.

From what I’ve seen it looks appears that the city would prefer Live Nation be successful in their bid given the company’s deep pockets and the fact that they have the most to gain by restoring and operating the venue as quickly as possible. Unless something remarkable happens I’d expect that to be the eventual outcome though its going to take some more time.

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on May 11, 2008 at 7:06 am

I’m confused too. What does the Retzler group hope to do with the Uptown? And what’s happened to the other companies who were supposedly interested in this incredible theatre?

uptownjen on May 10, 2008 at 7:45 pm

thanks for the link, but i am personally confused as to what their involvement is with this theatre.

BartHalleman on May 7, 2008 at 3:47 pm

hey guys check out the retzler group web site you may find some of the projects interesting

Jayne1955 on April 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm

Hey, if the city would agree, I would agree.

Scott on April 30, 2008 at 11:08 am

No offense intended brucec, but when you’re done with that magic wand can I borrow it?

bruceanthony on April 30, 2008 at 9:23 am

The City should move quickly to secure and take care of all the legal issues concerning the Uptown. The current owner who ever they are can’t take care of this theatre properly which has led the decline of this theatre and at times has become dangerous structure.
Lets cut through the red tape and lets get going. There is a huge demand for a mid size theatre seating 4000 for touring musical acts who can’t fill the large arenas.brucec

paullewis on April 14, 2008 at 11:02 am

recently saw the video on the Uptown and concluded that this movie palace has to be included in the top 4 ever built and simply must be saved as the others have gone. Its loss would be equivalent to the demolition of the Fox San Francisco and the Roxy New York, acts of extreme vandalism from which those cities have never recovered.

uptownjen on March 24, 2008 at 5:37 pm

cool. thanks for posting those little tidbits.

Jayne1955 on March 24, 2008 at 4:56 pm

My uncle was working there in the 30’s, then went in the navy during WWII and came back for awhile in the 50’s, before going to work for Wanzer’s Dairy.

He said once someone stole a painting from one of the alcoves. He was asked to describe it, since no one could remember exactly what it looked like. They found it in a pawn shop, based on his description.

He’s got some great pictures of groups of staff sitting on the stage, but he won’t part with them long enough for me to get them scanned.

He was working one day and they called him into the office and told him he had to get home. His ten year old brother had just died of tetnus. The brother had been ill for awhile. The whole staff helped him get through that. He married a cashier from the Riviera, across the street.

I’ll try to get him to talk about it more next time I see him, and I’ll try to get some of the old pictures copied.

uptownjen on March 24, 2008 at 3:12 pm

jayne, we’d love to “hear” any stories that you have from your uncle if you have a chance to type them up.

Jayne1955 on March 21, 2008 at 6:57 am

Nortown, send me a message at

I’m going to trust everyone here not to abuse my address. Anyone who worked at these theatres got very involved with them and has fun reminiscing. I hope everyone here will understand that.

My uncle is 96 and worked at the Uptown. I showed him some of the pictures from here and it brought out a flood of great stories.

Nortown on March 20, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Just catching up on these Uptown posts…it would break my heart to see the Uptown end up in rubble like the Nortown. As a side note, Jayne1955, you and I worked together at the Nortown for several years. Not sure if there is a way to say hi to you off line and catch up.

Jayne1955 on March 17, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Great post, Scott! You nailed it! That is the most fair resume of the situation I’ve seen in awhile.

Jayne1955 on March 17, 2008 at 7:25 am

I don’t care who saves it or for what purpose. The important thing is that it is saved. If we get an owner that doesn’t thrill us, well, owners come and go, as we all know well. That the building remains is what matters.

uptownjen on March 16, 2008 at 6:18 pm

*one more thing: i don’t want to come across as painting jam to be bad. i hope if anyone does anything with the uptown, it will be local. jam has done a great job with a lot of other venues in the city…i just hope they can do the same with the uptown!

carry on…

uptownjen on March 16, 2008 at 6:16 pm

let’s hope jam isn’t trying to be greedy, and, in the meantime, draw away any other interest to the theater.

i will keep optimistic as ever…it’s the only way to be. today, when my fiance and i came to the broadway/lawrence intersection, we were so entranced by its beauty (again!)that we missed our opportunity to walk! even in her current state, she sure is lovely! a week ago, we saw a theatre caretaker out front. the ugly boards that cover the entry doors were open, and we got a look inside. while it was dark (so nothing inside could be seen from where we stood) the facade hiding just underneath is lovely, just waiting for the outside world to marvel in her beauty again someday!

uptownjen on March 16, 2008 at 6:10 pm

this showed up today online concerning the uptown’s fate:

View link

here’s an excerpt:

The arrival of Chicago newcomers MSG Entertainment and C3 led the longtime Chicago-based promoter Jam to move to hold the mortgage to the troubled Uptown Theatre, 4814 N. Broadway, if only as a defensive position. But if the City of Chicago were to acquire the Uptown under eminent domain â€" as many of the theater’s boosters desire â€" that could open the way for a different entity to take over the venue, possibly the concert promoter Live Nation, which could use its own mid-size indoor venue. According to sources familiar with the current rearrangement of the Chicago live-entertainment business, a restored and reopened Uptown is looking more likely now than in recent history.

According to a recent report in Billboard, midsize venues such as the Chicago, Congress and Uptown have been showing particular strength of late. Billboard said that Radio City Music Hall rung up $87.6 million in concert grosses during 2007.

New venues in choice spots such as downtown Chicago are very difficult to find and massively expensive to build from the ground up.

uptownjen on February 26, 2008 at 8:50 pm

this from the latest on the theatre’s fate from the uptown chicago commission, as reported on uptownupdate.com (a great community information website!)last week:

Alderman Smith reports that two parties remain interested in purchasing and renovating the Uptown Theatre for use as a concert venue. A related court case is proceeding – as many parties (including the City) have liens on the property related to prior repairs. She remains optimistic that good things are to come.

BartHalleman on February 10, 2008 at 5:13 am

I think jam may make it work. they did good with the Riv.My only thought is what would stop a conserv. group for throwing a road block up in front of Jam. Telling them how they want to restore or save the uptown. Something like that may kill the dream from making it become a reality.

uptownjen on February 9, 2008 at 7:26 pm

also, here’s a recent interview from chicagoist, a chicago-related blog, with bob balaban, son of one of the balaban and katz founders. B & K, of course, were the original owners/operators of the uptown and many other chicago theatres, including the recently-closed esquire and uptown’s nearby neighbor, the riviera.

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