2433 N. Lincoln Avenue,
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The Biograph Theater was opened in 1914. All 942 seats were on a single floor. This Lincoln Park neighborhood landmark is probably best known by Chicagoans as the place where John Dillinger was shot and killed on July 22, 1934 after attending a screening of “Manhattan Melodrama” starring Clark Gable (allegedly the ghost of Dillinger has haunted the theater ever since).
During the 1970’s, the second floor of the building was converted into two small additional screens. The original décor in the original main auditorium mostly lost, the historic Biograph Theater continued to show movies until 2001.
The theater reopened in 2002 under the Village Theatres chain, which operated it until September 2004, when it again closed.
The Biograph Theater was purchased by the legitimate Victory Gardens Theatre company in 2004. The interior has been entirely rebuilt, from a venue which could originally seat over 900 to 299 today (which is about 100 more seats than Victory Gardens' old space down the street, which will now be rented out to other area theater companies). The facade was repaired and cleaned and the marquee was rebuilt to resemble it’s original apperance. (The words “Victory Gardens” have replaced the word “Essaness” over the neon-lit Biograph name, Essaness being the chain that operated the movie house during the 1930’s.)
The Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph was opened on September 28th, 2006, with Charles Smith’s drama, “Denmark”.
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