Midway Theatre

721 E. State Street,
Rockford, IL 61104

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Midway Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened on August 3, 1918, this former movie house last hosted various live performances, from comedians to metal concerts. It appears to have closed around 2006.

Contributed by Paul Salley, Charlton F. Quinn

Recent comments (view all 60 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 12, 2013 at 12:21 am

An October 23 article in a Rockford newspaper (one of the worst newspaper web sites I’ve ever visited, so I won’t link) says that the Midway Theatre has been stabilized with a new roof, and the owners intend to restore the building, but the part of the article available to me didn’t say anything about it being used as a theater again. I got the impression that at least part of the theater will be re-purposed for other uses. The owners will attempt to get the building listed on the NRHP so they can get tax credits for any restoration work they do, and if they do get it listed the exterior at least should be safe.

The article also said that the theater has been vacant since 2003.

BobbyS on November 13, 2013 at 5:16 pm

If the Midway was used as a vaudeville theater in 1918 & beyond I could not find a stagehouse. I thought all theaters that used live shows had to have a stagehouse. Even some of the suburban theaters that had shallow stages and showed movies had a fly system.

Scott on November 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Bobby, the Midway had a stage, but it wasn’t very deep. Not sure of the fly system as all I saw there was movies. I believe the dressing rooms were in the basement. I’m going by memory, which is sketchy as I haven’t been in the Midway since the late 1970s. It was a very cool theater and I always enjoyed going there.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 14, 2013 at 12:52 am

In satellite view, it looks like the Midway had a very shallow stage house without a tall fly tower. Many vaudeville acts didn’t use much scenery, and some didn’t use any, so the space would have been sufficient for their purposes. The theater could never have mounted any sort of big stage production, though.

Scott on November 14, 2013 at 2:39 am

Joe, I concur. The theatre was built for vaudeville and movies, and was never intended as a presentation house. And later in the 1920s when Rockford saw the addition of the Capital and Coronado theatres, the use of its stage probably declined dramatically. As a movie house it was superb. Intimate yet ornate, and excellent acoustics.

rockfordmidway on January 19, 2014 at 5:46 am

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rockfordmidway on January 19, 2014 at 6:16 am

please ask your parents if they remember seeing shows at rockford midway theater.

DavidZornig on April 7, 2015 at 5:39 am

The Midway marquee appears multiple times in Cheap Trick’s 1997 video for “Say Goodbye”. Copy and paste to view.


DavidZornig on June 30, 2015 at 7:59 am

Undated photo added courtesy of the Rockford Rewind Facebook page.

DavidZornig on June 30, 2015 at 8:22 am

1939 photo with original marquee added courtesy of the Rockford Rewind Facebook page.

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