Water Tower Theatre

175 E. Chestnut Street,
Chicago, IL 60611

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Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on July 16, 2014 at 9:17 pm

The Water Tower 1-4 closed in May, 2000. The Water Tower 5-7 closed in November, 2000. Village Entertainment re-opened the 5-7 theatres in August, 2002. Closed one year later.

mo4040
mo4040 on July 16, 2014 at 4:58 pm

I saw ‘Rocky’ here in 1976 with some school friends.

JRS40
JRS40 on November 14, 2012 at 8:37 am

The ad in the photo section above is for the opening of the original Water Tower theaters I-IV located inside Water Tower Place. This would have been December of 1976.

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on December 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm

This theatre reopened in September with Sutton Foster in concert. It currently has the Canadian show TRACES. Broadway in Chicago has other shows scheduled to play here in 2011 including a revised version of WORKING.

Robin Roz
Robin Roz on August 21, 2010 at 6:36 pm

This entry needs to be changed. Drury Lane is no longer at Water Tower. They are solely at Oakbrook now.

This theatre is now known as Broadway Playhouse and it’s run by Broadway in Chicago. It will be closed until September 2010 for renovations. The website at least temporarily is www.broadwayinchicago.com

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 19, 2009 at 6:12 am

What are the other Water Tower Theatre’s, that were located upstairs and inside of the Water Tower Place Mall listed under on CT?

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I know, I know… check the box.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 12, 2009 at 4:00 am

I finally made it back in here a few Sundays back. For the next to last performance of “Xanadu”.
Much has changed since it’s off again/on again movie theatre days.
The Chestnut St. side entrance is pretty much in the same spot. But the theatre space has been built out differently and off to the left of the entrance.
The stage area seems much smaller. And the seats seem to rise above the new lobby area. I can’t recall the old multiplex configuration at/from street level. But I think it went straight back. Where the restrooms & coat check are now. The lobby has a lower ceiling like the old Drury Lane in Evergreen Park had. But there the theatre stage was downstairs. There is a brief “Drury Lane History” in the back pages of the Playbill. Possibly accessable online.
Or via the official site under this CT page’s description.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 30, 2008 at 9:48 am

Thanks CinemarkFan for the confirmation. I was pretty sure Drury Lane/WT is where I saw T2. I lived two blocks from there in `91.

The Drury Lane stage theater in Evergreen Park was in a complex called “The Martinique”. The place with the chapel, banquet hall & giant Vegas style signage. Inside the lobby near the theatre entrance was a small rather low `60’s looking bar. With swiveling, high backed vinyl bar stools that were attached to the floor. Pictures of Debbie Reynolds, Robert Goulet etc. adorned the walls.
It was razed to build a WalMart, but not sure if that ever happened.

In addition to Oakbrook, there is also a Drury Lane North in Lincolnshire.
A “theater in the round” as they say, but really it’s a smallish square stage with ascending seats on all four sides. It’s been active for quite sometime, and is part of a hotel complex itself. The theatre is designed for and only suitable for stage plays. Which is as far off topic as I’ll go.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on October 28, 2008 at 7:44 am

T2 did have a 10pm screening on 7/2/91 at WT Lower Level. And I remember the Drury Lane in Evergreen Park, but I never went inside.

I miss these places. It just seems that they had character.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 24, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Greetings. The Water Tower Theatre on the Chestnut Street level side, was indeed originally built for live theatre. The plays “Vanities” & “Evita” with Patti Lupone & Mandy Patinkin played there around 1981. Also possibly one of the first verions of “Love Letters”.
After that it was coverted to movie screens. I last saw “Kingpin” there when it came out. Possibly “Terminator 2” also.
And of course it is now back to being called Drury Lane, and features live theatre & music. Their one day promotion today was to receive tickets to January’s staging of “Xanadu”, if you were of the first 20 to roller skate up to the box office this morning.

There was another long standing Drury Lane Theatre in Evergreen Park, that did strictly stage shows for decades.
A time warp of a place that felt as if you were walking into a `60’s Las Vegas hotel lobby. It also had a unique wedding chapel & lower level banquet facility. The name of the entire complex escapes me.
It was sadly all torn down several years ago.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on September 23, 2008 at 11:25 am

Water Tower lower level aka 5-7 opened on 4/13/84. Opening attractions were “Swing Shift”, “Iceman”, and “Terms of Endearment”.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 15, 2007 at 4:20 pm

I did some research a few weeks ago, and when Village first became a chain circa 2000-2002, the company DID advertise its cinemas and did appear to be a legitimate chain and not a “crash-and-burn-operation”. The December 20, 2002 edition of The Chicago Tribune shows the following cinemas that Village advertised and the movies playing there:

HINSDALE: Lord of the Ring: The Two Towers
GLENWOOD: Two Weeks Notice, Wild Thornberry’s, & Lord of the Rings 2
BURNHAM PLAZA: Gangs of NY, Lord of the Rings 2, Drumline, Empire
BLOOMINGDALE: Gangs of NY, Two Weeks Notice, Lord of The Rings 2, Drumline, Star Trek Nemesis, Die Another Day.
STRATFORD: Wild Thornberry’s , Lord Of the Rings 2, Hot Chick, Harry Potter & the Chambers Secrets, Analyzze That.
WATER TOWER: Personal Velocity, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Emporer’s Club,Ararat.
BIOGRAPH: Analyze That, Two Weeks Notice, Gangs of New York.
VILLAGE: Gangs of NY, Rodger Dodger, Emporer’s Club, Man From Elysian Fields.
VILLAGE NORTH: Lord of the Rings 2, Drumline, Star Trek Nemesis.
GOLF GLEN: Two Weeks Notice, Gangs of NY, Wild Thornberry’s, Lord of the Rings 2, Harry Potter, and Analyze That.

Apparantly, Village Entertainment was promoting its cinemas and had decent bookings (although it still gets decent bookings). And Water Tower was showing art films! The questions are what happened and when did Village become a “crash-and-burn” operation?

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 29, 2007 at 9:05 am

It appears that initially, Village tried to make a go of this place. Especially as an art/indie house. Up above, it is stated that Village renovated this place. What exactly were those renovations? Village always talked about doing renovations on its cinemas but almost rarely did so.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on November 5, 2006 at 5:34 pm

I just got a little choked up. That looks so attractive. I miss Water Tower, McClurg Court, Esquire and many other theaters in the area that I remember.

Now if only someone could post some photos of WT 1-4.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on August 15, 2006 at 4:11 am

Yep, Water Tower held the exclusive first run showing of Rocky. Paul, do you think Mesbur & Smith(architects for Cineplex Odeon) might have photos of the remodeling jobs they did for this theater? I hoping they do, I just want to see pictures of WT again. They may have been small, but it was comfy and made every moviegoing experience memorable. Some movies I saw in the mall include: Broken Arrow, The Rock, Long Kiss Goodnight, The Relic, and John Carpenter’s: Vampires. Some movies I saw in WT 5-7 include: Speed, Scream, Double Team, and Black and White.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 11, 2006 at 5:13 am

This theater had the Chicago priemier of “Rocky”, I believe.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on January 27, 2006 at 7:20 am

I wish I went here more than I did. The street level theatres were nice, but not has classy as the mall theatres. I just love those red curtains that covered those small but pretty screens. The last movie I saw in the mall was John Carpenter’s Vampires(I remember that day like the back of my hand). Say, does anybody have any pictures of WT 1-4? please let me know.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on January 27, 2006 at 6:34 am

This place was great in the 70s. Everything in the booth was brand spanking new. We used 6,000 foot reels to make changeovers, rather than 2,000 foot reels. Wow! The only place more automated was the Marina with its… shhh… platters. This was a classy place in its day to see a movie.

reiermann
reiermann on July 6, 2005 at 3:21 am

In their heyday, the theaters showed a lot of premiere/exclusive engagements. (I saw Rocky, All That Jazz, Schindler’s List and many others here.) The upstairs theaters were very attractive but very tiny. Actually not much bigger than some new wide-screen tv’s. Attending a movie here was a treat. The theaters downstairs which were converted from the Drury Lane theater (and ironically turned back into the Drury Lane) were kind of an afterthought. The lobby and restrooms were nice, but the auditoriums were cookie-cutter.

TRAINPHOTOS
TRAINPHOTOS on May 24, 2005 at 2:09 am

The Drury Lane opened recently. The first musical was “The Full Monty”. The play was quite successful. and the new Drury Lane Theatre at Water Tower Place received rave reviews.

msd01
msd01 on November 27, 2004 at 8:16 pm

W-T theaters on the street level (Theaters 5-7) were Drury Lane Water Tower Theaters, showing stage productions. The theaters were then converted to movie theaters.

brianlewis
brianlewis on May 20, 2004 at 1:31 pm

a lot of my friends worked there in the 70’s. it was my hangout to see many many movies. animal house played there for something like 24 weeks in the fall of 1978. i saw foul play there, heaven can wait, annie hall, raging bull, interiors, flashdance, footloose, gremlins,
so many late 70’s and early 80’s movies. i don’t think i ever paid to get in there

JohnSanchez
JohnSanchez on January 8, 2004 at 12:28 pm

The original 4 screen theater was located on the second floor of Water Tower Place. It opened in December of 1976 with its premiere attractions being the exclusive openings of “Rocky” and “The Seven Percent Solution” (on 2 screens each). The auditoriums were nice but very small and it was easy to sell out a movie. In the 70’s and early 80’s WT 1-4 played a mixture of first run and art films. I remember seeing the long forgotten “Sunday Lovers” there. By the late 80’s it was all first run but with the opening of other theaters in the vicinity (the 600 North and 900 North Michigan theaters) getting good films first run became more difficult at Water Tower. Their last hurrah was getting the exclusive Chicago premiere of “Schindler’s List”. Now a department store there is no evidence that the theaters were ever there.