Cinestage Theatre

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

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Showing 1 - 25 of 39 comments

DavidZornig on September 1, 2015 at 6:19 am

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.

Khnemu on September 1, 2015 at 4:16 am

Judith and Moax, the Cinestage isn’t being used for anything, it was completely torn down except for the fa├žade. The Goodman Theater built on the site is new construction.

moax429 on September 1, 2015 at 12:48 am

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 7:32 pm

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 12:11 pm

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 7:21 pm

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 23, 2014 at 5:58 am

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 6:36 pm

“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 3:50 pm

“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 1:55 pm

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 27, 2011 at 6:14 am

mondojustin on November 24, 2011 at 2:28 am

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 24, 2011 at 12:27 am

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 11:45 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 7:02 pm

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 11, 2011 at 1:23 am

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 11, 2011 at 12:57 am

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.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on September 20, 2010 at 1:58 am

Michael Coate has done a great amount of research to come up with what CINERAMA movies played when at what theaters around the United States and Canada. These are the CINERAMA films that played at the Cinestage. Thanks Michael

All these films were in 70mm

This had been Michael Todd’s theater. When he left CINERAMA, he wanted to come up with “CINERAMA out of one hole” and he came up with TODD-AO. Years later his theater ended up having CINERAMA and it did come out of one hole, the answer was 70mm CINERAMA.

MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY, December 25, 1964, 13 Weeks, 70mm

GRAND PRIX, January 25, 1967, 24 Weeks, 70mm

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, April 11, 1968, 36 Weeks, 70mm

ICE STATION ZEBRA, April 17, 1969, 10 Weeks, 70mm

KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA, June 26, 1969, 12 Weeks, 70mm

vicboda on October 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm

I saw my first x-rated movie here in 1971. i think it was called Hot Connections and was about a telephone repairman named George. I was just 18 that day and when I walked in and saw what was going on up on the screen I just thought I LOVE THIS.

kencmcintyre on May 13, 2009 at 6:30 am

Here is the interior of the Selwyn, circa 1920s:

telliott on May 6, 2009 at 12:02 am

Thanks CW, always wondered about that.

CSWalczak on May 5, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Having heard many Chicagoan say the name and having been a regular visitor to the Windy City for decades, I have never heard it pronounced anything other than “Cin-eh-stage.” Perhaps some did mockingly when it showed X-rated fare, but not to my knowledge.

telliott on May 5, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Was this theatre pronounced “SINstage” or “SIN-EHstage”??

DavidZornig on November 20, 2008 at 8:23 am

There is a framed B/W picture of the Cinestage hanging in the Chicago Cultural Center. Second floor West walkway from the Washington Street side.

It is among other a few other Chicago buildings hanging in the walkway.
The picture appears to be mid `70’s complete with an AMC Gremlin parked in front. A portion of the Cinestage marquee is visible, along with the actual word Porno spelled out.

On the first floor walkway there is a much larger exhibit of historic Chicago buildings & landmarks.