Music Box Theatre

3733 N. Southport Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60613

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Music Box Theatre

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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 theaters, 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 theater was showing Spanish and Arabic-language movies, as well as porn. The theater 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 theater is located in the bustling Southport area of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

Contributed by Alan Van Landschoot, Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 74 comments)

Giles
Giles on February 21, 2014 at 6:46 am

got some more info via facebook from the theater – Eastman ‘25’ projector for 16mm playback. Kinoton FP-20 for 35mm projection in the second auditorium. The NEC projector is not 3D capable. No word on if a 7.1 movie could be played back as such though.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 1, 2014 at 7:09 pm

This article outlines the expansion plans for the Music Box.

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140430/lakeview/music-box-add-lounge-tear-down-concession-stand-featured-curly-sue

MCHarper
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
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
Broan on June 4, 2016 at 5:51 pm

http://archive.org/stream/exhibitorsherald97unse#page/n727/mode/2up Very interesting article and original blueprints

MCHarper
MCHarper on June 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Broan: I found the August 30, 1928 article in the tribune archives http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1928/08/30/page/19 but I cant locate the October 28 article, do you have a link to it?

Broan
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
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.

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