Studebaker Theater & Playhouse Theater

410 S. Michigan Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60605

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Showing 1 - 25 of 105 comments

Broan on November 27, 2015 at 6:37 pm

I don’t think the Playhouse is open.

spectrum on November 27, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Here’s a direct link to the article at (referenced two comments above):

From that article it looks like in fact both theatres have been restored and reopened (What are now called the Studebaker and the Playhouse)

DavidZornig on November 25, 2015 at 6:30 pm

1915 photo added courtesy of Jori Sobery Curry.

Broan on October 18, 2015 at 10:53 am

Name should be changed to Studebaker, status to Open

Broan on October 4, 2015 at 7:07 am

Incredibly, in 1917 the Studebaker was closed only 5 weeks for renovations.

DavidZornig on October 2, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Current piece on the Studebaker with great current photos. Copy and paste to view.

Mikeoaklandpark on August 16, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Great news. A theater once more and not demolished or converted into some stupid retail space. :)

Broan on August 16, 2015 at 9:08 am

The Studebaker is apparently to reopen October 18.

Broan on January 14, 2014 at 8:45 am

The newspapers were a little unclear. “The Fine Arts Theatre” and “The Fine Arts Music Hall” both appear in the Tribune from 1908-1912. I suspect the ‘music hall’ references were talking about Assembly/Curtiss Hall on the 10th floor but it’s not really clear. I’ll take it down and re-edit.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on January 14, 2014 at 12:20 am

Bravo!!! One thing I noticed; you mention the small theatre was renamed the Fine Arts in 1908 and then you mention that the small theatre was renamed the Fine Arts in 1912. Is this an error in naming of the smaller theater?

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on January 13, 2014 at 9:13 pm

We’re not not “bitching” about bad writing; we’re mentioning the fact that the description has way too many historical inaccuracies. For an excellent piece of writing on the history of the Fine Arts Theatres, and other Downtown Chicago movie houses, pick up a copy of “Downtown Chicago’s Historic Movie Theatres”, by Konrad Schiecke. I couldn’t have written it better myself.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on October 22, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I worked at the M&R Fine Arts Theatre 30 years ago. I wish somebody would re-open these 2 historic late 19th Century theatres.

Broan on October 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Yes, this is a particularly inaccurate and confusing entry.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on October 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Broan; I’m glad you got it right. The author of this page has so much info incorrect.

Broan on October 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Actually the Playhouse was University Hall until about in 1903, when it was renamed Music Hall and may have gained its balcony, renamed again in 1912, when it was rebuilt as the Fine Arts Theatre which it remained until 1917, when it was renamed the Playhouse, until it was renamed World Playhouse in 1932. Oddly, in 1917, the Studebaker was run by Jones, Linick, and Shaefer while the Playhouse was run by Alfred Hamburger, a competitor.

Broan on October 22, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Here are 1898 views of the Studebaker and the Playhouse (then known as University Hall until the 1916 remodeling)

Broan on October 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Here are recent views of the Playhouse and Studebaker

Broan on October 8, 2013 at 8:38 am This year’s OpenHouseChicago features the opportunity to step inside the Studebaker.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 8, 2012 at 7:09 am

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on March 13, 2011 at 1:22 am

Here is a 2006 video tape from CLTV News in Chicago. At the end of the report is footage of the auditorium of the Studebaker Theater a.k.a. Fine Arts Theatre #1.

cbnight on December 10, 2010 at 10:50 am

Another image in the lobby by the manned elevator.
View link

cbnight on December 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I have an image from the 1980’s out front here
View link

And a recent image made vintage
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 7, 2010 at 4:15 am

Solon S. Beman was the architect of the Studebaker Building, but a pamphlet providing information for self-guided walking tours of the Fine Arts Building (Google Documents quick view) says that the 1917 Studebaker Theatre was designed by architect Andrew Rebori. Solon S. Beman died in 1914.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 25, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Tim,thanks for the article and your hard work putting it together one has to have worked at a theatre to want to take the time to research and write it up. Thanks.And because you worked in the business it means more to us that did work in a theatre. Has Too.

JudithK on May 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I saw quite a few films right up to the closing of the Fine Arts complex (just once in what was the Studebaker); there were issues of renovation that needed to be addressed, but I loved the place. I hope it re-opens.