Cinestage Theatre

180-190 N. Dearborn Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 1 - 25 of 46 comments

DavidZornig on October 18, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Five January 1960 Smell-O-Vision related images added, courtesy of Sid Terror’s Haunted Film Vault Facebook page.

MSC77 on April 11, 2018 at 9:12 am

Fifty years ago today, Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” premiered here.

To celebrate the occasion, I’m sharing the link to a new retrospective article on the film. This and many other cinemas get a mention in the piece.

rivest266 on February 24, 2018 at 10:02 pm

August 28th, 1970 reopening as a adult cinema.

Cinestage reopeningCinestage reopening · Fri, Aug 28, 1970 – 49 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) ·

DavidZornig on September 16, 2017 at 7:57 am

1987 photo added, as the Dearborn part of M&R Dearborn Cinemas, via The Man On Five website.

Coate on May 22, 2017 at 9:48 am

New Showcase Presentations in Chicago article includes mention of the numerous 70mm (and roadshow) engagements here at the Cinestage (along with other Chicagoland cinemas).

DavidZornig on May 22, 2017 at 9:04 am

Blurry Cinestage in the background.
October 1966.

rivest266 on November 12, 2016 at 7:35 am

April 4th, 1957 grand opening ad as Cinestage as well as the December 20th, 1985 grand opening ad as Dearborn Cinemas can be both found in the photo section for this theatre.

Broan on January 17, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Here is a THSA photo of the Selwyn’s terrible projection booth. More photos available there through search.

DavidZornig on August 31, 2015 at 10:19 pm

Khnemu is correct. See the photo I posted on 08/25/15. Only the facade of the old Cinestage remains, with a new theater built behind it.

moax429 on August 31, 2015 at 4:48 pm

I remember when we lived in Glenwood, Illinois from 1978 to 1983, I happened upon those “telenovelas” airing on WCIU-TV, Channel 26 weeknights from 10:30 to 11:30 P.M. (one I remember was called “Accompaname,” and had a catchy theme song; I could understand a little Spanish).

But what was especially funny about that was on Thursday and Friday nights, when Channel 26 aired commercials for the Cinestage in Spanish! I just howled with laughter when I heard the announcer say the names of the films in English with a Spanish accent; the first – and funniest – of these I remember was for a double bill of “Teeny Buns” and “Sweet Cookies.” Then the announcer said the Spanish equivalent of, “All entertainment is rated X – for adults 18 and over only. Cinestage! Dearborn near Lake.”

Those commercials are what made me think of this theater. However, it is good to see it has long since closed after that incarnation and is now being used for legitimate, non-“adult” purposes.

DavidZornig on August 25, 2015 at 11:32 am

1998 photo added of the demolition and shoring up of the Selwyn facade. Photo credit John P Keating Jr.

JudithK on August 10, 2015 at 4:11 am

I was in the Goodman Theatre yesterday, seeing a production in the Owen Theatre, which was formerly the Michael Todd Theatre. Very impressed with the Owen, and looking forward to seeing the mainstage, which was formerly the Cinestage Theatre.

elkayo56 on March 1, 2014 at 11:21 am

I saw “Lawrence” there in 1962 with my mother. I remember I was dying of thirst at the intermission and they were selling little cartons lemonade for $1.50 in the lobby. What a magnificent film. I saw “2001” in 1968 with my girlfriend after dinner at Plato’s Place on the corner. She thought “2001” was “nice”.

Redwards1 on February 22, 2014 at 9:58 pm

I saw Around the World in 80 Days at the Cinestage, which had a floor to ceiling concave curtain in front of a deeply curved screen. The interior of the auditorium had dark wood paneling. The projection booth was built in the center of the balcony with seating on top. Capacity was 1,100 seats. This was not the first Todd-AO installation in Chicago. That was a year earlier at McVickers for Oklahoma.

jkrukones on July 10, 2012 at 10:36 am

“Lawrence of Arabia” opened and played at the Cinestage Theatre. At the same time the Michael Todd was playing the Brando/Howard “Mutiny on the Bounty,” which opened there late in 1962.

RobertEndres on February 27, 2012 at 7:50 am

“Lawrence of Arabia” played the Michael Todd theatre next door. Both houses were equipped for 70mm projection. The Todd had a flat rather than a curved screen. I had just gotten a degree from the U. of I. in Champaign, and stayed over the summer to work at the University radio and TV stations. I remember getting up early on a Sunday morning to catch the train into Chicago specifically to see the “Lawrence” matinee at the Todd. The presentation was great with one curious exception. Four-track 35mm magnetic prints put the surround information on a narrower mag stripe on the film than was used for the stage channels. To minimize track hiss when there was no surround information the channel was muted. When the track was used a 12Khz “trigger tone” unmuted the channel. Four track systems filtered the tone out so the audience wouldn’t hear it. The “Lawrence” 70mm screening at the Todd apparently took its surround information from the four track version, and since 70mm systems didn’t need the tone it wasn’t filtered out. At that age I could still hear 12 Khz, and the arrival of any surround information was forecast by the annoying whine of the tone which could be plainly heard in the Todd surround speakers.

jbg1633 on February 27, 2012 at 5:55 am

Did “Lawrence of Arabia” debut in 1962 at The Cinestage.
If not, what was the first theatre it was shown at in Chicago?

Broan on December 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm

mondojustin on November 23, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Hello I’m currently working on a book about the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and am looking for photos and programs/newspaper clippings etc from each city in which the film premiered in originally in 1968. If you saw the film in it’s initial run in the theater have a good memory of your experience, I’d love to interview you about seeing it. To date I have interviewed over 20 people that have worked on the film, and several close members in the Kubrick camp as well. If you can help please email me at

CSWalczak on November 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Ken McIntyre posted an interior picture of the Cinestage on May 13, 2009 at 12:30 am (see earlier comments). My recollection is that it little changed during its days as a Cinerama house, except for the installation of an orchestra level projection booth. Except for a screen with a shallower curve compared to the original Cinerama installations at the Palace and McVickers theaters in Chicago, I thought was a terrific Cinerama house

This is an updated link to a picture of the shredded Cinerama strip screen at the Cinestage:

JudithK on November 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm

The Art Institute of Chicago is featuring “Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention”. It will be in place until January 15, 2012. The Cinestage is mentioned in it; evidently Michael Todd and Bertrand Goldberg were friends and collaborators. Goldberg had a hand in the redesign of the interior of the theatre when it re-opened in the 1950s. Todd and Goldberg were working on establishing a chain of motion picture theatres called Cinestage; this endeavor never occurred due to the death of Michael Todd. Along with figaro14, I am interested in photographs of the interior of the Cinestage along with anyone’s memories of the theatre building.

figaro14 on October 13, 2011 at 11:02 am

I saw the original 70mm Cinerama showing of 2001 A Space Odyssey at the Cinestage in 1968. It was a reserved seat showing and souvenier program books were sold. I still have my program book along with several Chicago Tribune Cinestage ad clippings. Does anyone have any interior photos of the Cinestage? I remember the design being very clean and simple, and not an extremely large looking space, compared to the sister Michael Todd next door.

CSWalczak on April 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Considering it was a reserved seat, Cinerama showing, actually ten weeks was a rather short run. It was the only film I ever saw there.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Sorta surprized to see a 10 week run on “ICE STATION ZEBRA”,while I liked the movie, i always assumed it was one of those one week runs and it gone films.Of course it is Chicago,and was probably only playing at the Cinestage.