Music Box Theatre

3733 N. Southport Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60613

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Music Box Theatre - Chicago, IL  June 1995

Viewing: Photo | Street View

When it was opened in 1929, the Music Box Theatre was considered tiny compared to its much larger, more palatial neighbors. Many of these larger theatres, like the Uptown Theatre, were often too large to stay in business throughout the rest of the 20th century.

The Music Box Theatre later played mainly second and third-run movies as well as closing and reopening several times. By the 1970’s, the theatre was showing Spanish and Arabic-language movies, as well as porn. The theatre had become more than a bit rough around the edges when it was closed in 1977.

Renovated in 1982, the Music Box Theatre reopened in 1983 and has been showing an eclectic mix of classic, foreign, and art house films ever since. In 1991, the Music Box Theatre added a small 100 person auditorium. The theatre is located in the bustling Southport area of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

Contributed by Alan Van Landschoot, Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 76 comments)

MCHarper on June 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Can someone help me clear up the confusion over Louis I. Simon (not A) being the architect of the Music Box? and where can I go to get documentation?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 4, 2016 at 2:56 pm

I just read the article about the renovations. I can’t tell from the photos if the concession area has been redesigned, etc…

Broan on June 4, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Yes, the concession area is now on the opposite side of the lobby than before and is now more of a counter

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 4, 2016 at 5:13 pm

MCHarper: In this comment from 2005, Cinema Treasures contributor Broan cites two 1928 Tribune items naming Louis I. Simon as the architect.

Broan on June 4, 2016 at 5:51 pm Very interesting article and original blueprints

MCHarper on June 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Broan: I found the August 30, 1928 article in the tribune archives but I cant locate the October 28 article, do you have a link to it?

Broan on June 5, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Must have been a typo, it was actually August 21. It’s not in that archive – not a complete archive – but I’ve posted it in the photos section.

Broan on June 5, 2016 at 3:53 pm

It also looks like Louis I. Simon was really more of a structural engineer so Edward Steinborn may deserve more credit as design architect.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 27, 2016 at 1:09 am

Haven’t been here in years. But my memory is that the concession stand was designed to blend with the lobby design. Hopefully whatever they put in during this renovation fits just as well.

rivest266 on November 13, 2016 at 7:32 am

This opened on August 5th, 1983. Its grand opening ad can be found in the photo section. No ad found on August 22nd, 1929.

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