Uptown Theatre

4816 N. Broadway,
Chicago, IL 60640

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Showing 201 - 225 of 464 comments

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.

View link

uptownjen on February 9, 2008 at 7:20 pm

speaking of my favorite theatre, here’s some pictures that i just came across. sorry if they have been mentioned earlier in previous posts:

View link

uptownjen on February 9, 2008 at 7:19 pm

here’s Jam Productions, Inc.’s info:

207 W Goethe St Fl 5
Chicago, IL , 60610-1809
Phone: 312-266-6262
FAX: 312-266-9568
Website: www.jamusa.com

let’s make this happen, people!

Jayne1955 on February 9, 2008 at 6:46 pm

To Charles…
Amundsen High School, Mundelein College- now part of Loyola University. All through HS and College I worked at the Nortown, but I helped out at other places.
Sorry to all the people I just spammed with that.

Back on topic…Has anyone actually tried to contact JAM to encourage them to get involved? I would if I could find an address. This winter has been brutal and I fear it’s taking a further toll on the old girl on Broadway.

charles1954 on February 9, 2008 at 3:32 am

Hi Jayne1955! What school did you go to? I have a feeling we were calssmates! Did you go see the American International BEACH PARTY films at the Uptown too?

uptownjen on January 22, 2008 at 7:29 pm

had a bit of a panic moment today when i heard that fire trucks showed up at the theatre this morning when smoke was seen coming out of the west side of the building.

turns out they had the old boilers fired up…something with keeping the place heated so pipes don’t burst…my heart has restarted.

Jayne1955 on January 10, 2008 at 4:05 pm

If there are legitimate people interested in it, How do we encourage such people?

I worked at the JAM concert that they held at the Uptown with the Bay City Rollers. I know I’m showing my age, but I am more familiar with them than with Live Nation.

uptownjen on January 10, 2008 at 7:12 am

i received the following update last night, which, to me, sounded like more good news. i am going to stay positive about this for now, even though i know failed attempts have been made in the past. it’s still better than thinking the ‘ol girl is in limbo with no interested parties.

Today’s Uptown Advisor further clarifies today’s Sun Times article. The Uptown Advisor is a volunteer service of Friends of the Uptown, an outreach activity of Landmark Uptown Theatre Corp., an Illinois not-for-profit corporation. Visit http://www.uptowntheatre.com for more information and to sign up for their newsletter.

Uptown Update January 9, 2008

Editor’s note: Chicago-based JAM Productions, which made some of its first fortunes booking rock shows onto the UPTOWN’s long-forgotten stage from 1977 to 1981 (?), has long been named as one of the recent and active contenders for ownership or control of the UPTOWN THEATRE, Chicago.

The second prominent contender, Live Nation, which is a major entertainment corporation, was not too public until today.

Sources have suggested that each company is interested in renovating and reusing the UPTOWN for entertainment. At this time, that’s good news for the landmark and its large community of fans, supporters, neighbors and volunteers.

Jayne1955 on January 9, 2008 at 8:08 pm

I hope they can work out a deal to save it.

uptownjen on January 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm

good news for the uptown’s possible future in today’s chicago sun-times:

Live Nation has eyes on Uptown
REAL ESTATE | Northerly Island promoter seeks to restore theater’s glory

January 9, 2008
BY DAVID ROEDER Sun-Times Columnist

Live Nation Inc., the concert promoter that manages the outdoor performance stage at Northerly Island, is negotiating with city officials to take over the landmark Uptown Theatre, 4816 N. Broadway.

The 1925 building has been mostly unused for 25 years. But Live Nation is said to be interested in restoring it to its former glory and using its 4,300-seat auditorium for concerts and other events.
» Click to enlarge image
It’s been about a quarter of a century since the Uptown Theatre has been used regularly. If it can deal with all the potential roadblocks, Live Nation Inc. would like to change that.
(Al Podgorski/Sun-Times file)

Possible hitches — and there are many — include a city subsidy for what could be a $40 million restoration. Also, the city has a lien of at least $1 million on the property because of emergency repairs it had to order on the building. The City Council has given Mayor Daley’s administration authority to acquire the Uptown via condemnation.

City Hall and Live Nation had no immediate comment. Ownership of the Uptown is a matter of litigation.

Jayne1955 on December 27, 2007 at 6:59 am

What can I say? I’m old. I remember all of that useless old stuff. Just do not ask me where my keys are this morning.

uptownjen on December 26, 2007 at 8:18 pm

A good point indeed, Jayne!

Jayne1955 on December 26, 2007 at 9:10 am

Someone should remind Oprah that “Queen for a Day” was broadcast from there. First show that focused on women. It was cheesy, but it was there. Maybe a reunion for people involved with that show could get the old place some attention?

uptownjen on December 26, 2007 at 8:37 am

Oprah could surely make it happen too, if she wanted to. She’s good at making dreams come true, right?

BartHalleman on December 22, 2007 at 9:09 pm

Here is an idea. If the city does want to be involved. Maybe Sam Zell might be interested?

Jayne1955 on December 22, 2007 at 5:56 pm

I could just see something funky like an anime convention running in the Uptown. That would be a perfect fit. A Harry Potter convention would have gone over well in the old castle, too. There are all sorts of possibilities for the place besides films and plays. They could have another theatre conclave and use it as a base.

I was at the Chicago in the early 80’s when Lillian Gish brought some of her films and gave a talk on her career, and they played the films and used the Chicago Theatre organ. That kind of thing would be cool there, too. Some kind of annual theatre history program.

bruceanthony on December 21, 2007 at 7:56 am

The area around Loew’s 175th has improved in the last ten years. Most people seemed surprised when attending this theatre for the first time. Cablevision isn’t the only company out there, AEG is another company presenting concerts in theatres across the U.S. and they are in the expansion mode at the moment. AEG will be running the huge Midland in Kansas City after renovations take place. AEG also runs the new 7000 seat Nokia near Downtown LA next to the Staples Center. The strength of the Uptown is its size but it will take the City of Chicago to get it up and running and interest somebody like AEG. I think people should be pointing out the positive when talking about the Uptown as a concert venue rather than the negative. Most movie palace restorations across the U.S. were very difficult to get off the ground but a clear vision and leadership make it happen. The Uptown is the largest not restored movie palace in North America.brucec

oldjoe on December 18, 2007 at 3:00 am

there ia demand the venues of this size, but at the right price, a company that is obviously expanding its real estate holdings by leasing the chicago and has a huge bankroll, balked at the price…..the city has make the business opportunity interesting to save the uptown – the city “could” , but they did not ….and the uptown’s best chance at survival to date slipped thru chicago’s fingers.

the loews 175 is selling out, but many first time patrons have been surprised at the state of the neighborhood ….lets keep our fingers crossed and wish the 175 luck, added police protection on show nights would be a big plus in keeping this venue filled. word of mouth stories could damage sales …this also differs from mst other theatres that it functions full time as a church, if the venue dark for six weeks – no biggie, it is not necessary to fill 150 dates on the calender , i assume the promoter is paying a rental fee for each event

bruceanthony on December 5, 2007 at 10:30 am

I think people should focus on the viability of a mid size concert venue in the 3rd largest city in the U.S. The Nokia a 7000 seat venue in LA was built at a cost of over 100 Million in a City that has many theatres. The Nokia was built near central downtown which was a depressed area a decade ago. A billion dollars has been spent over a period of years to bring back this area. The Nokia which opened recently is booked solid. Remember L.A. is less centralized than Chicago and many have to drive a great distance to get there. Majority of music acts cannot fill arena’s seating 18,000 but midsize concert venues from 2500 to 7000 seats. Radio City Music Hall is booked solid most of the year with mucical acts that wouldn’t fill Madison Square Garden. Radio City with nearly 6000 seats is the largest theatre venue in NYC and the Uptown with nearly 4400 seats is the largest in Chicago. Cablevision seeing the demand for midsize concert venues increase purchased the Beacon in NYC which seats nearly 2600 displacing the booker in the Beacon who is now invlovled with the 3300 seat former Loew’s 175th Street which is selling out on a regular basis. Cablevision was interested in the Uptown becuase it sat 4400 seats but decided on the Chicago Theatre with 3600 seats becuase of the location and the theatre was already in good condition. The North Loop wasn’t in good shape until the restoration of the Palace,Oriental and the new Goodman. The Uptown area is not that far from the Loop and will revive within the next 10 years as the area improves but the Uptown theatre cannot wait that long without some intervention. The City could make the Uptown area an improvement zone which would attract federal dollars and help the entire area. The City could invest in parking in the Uptown area which would attract investment and spend some seed money to get the Uptown Theatre up and running. I think with a clear plan both the Uptown area and the Uptown Theatre would become viable again.It has to become a combination of public and private to make it happen. Keep in mind that there is a demand for a theatre the size of the Uptown or Cablevision wouldn’t have looked at the theatre in the first place. There is a big difference between the cost of making the Uptown operatinal along with cosmetic improvements and full restoration. Many former movie palaces were made operational and ran years of live performances before full restoration occured. We are very lucky the Uptown is still with us becuase it probably would have been demolished had the Uptown area been a hot investment zone. The decline of the Uptown area helped close the Uptown theatre and at the same time help save it.brucec

Jayne1955 on December 3, 2007 at 9:43 am

The problem is, no matter how many people think it’s worth saving, by the time they quit arguing about HOW to do it, the place will be rubble.

oldjoe on December 1, 2007 at 6:05 am

i am not trying to side track with numbers but clarify …dozens of times on this post people wishing that private sector would save this theater. As jayne said, a company took a good hard look and spent 100’s of 1000’s studing the site. at 90 million, a 4500 seat theater (rounding) making $10 profit per seat after all labor and operational costs and would have to sell out 2,000 shows to recoup costs. if they booked 150 shows a year, it would be 13 years to recoup investment …. this is without calculating interest on loans, or the fact that 150 sell out concerts for 13 years in a row is a very rosy picture. If the city is interested in revitalizing its own neighborhoods and developing more tax revenue , it has to help invest in itself by making development by the private sector a sound investment