3955 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive,
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Architects: Henry L. Newhouse
Previous Names: Grand Oak Theatre, Peerless Theatre, Ritz Theatre
This South Side theatre was opened for the Ascher Brothers circuit in 1917 as the Grand Oak Theatre, and sat just over 900. Later that year it was re-named Peerless Theatre. It was located on Grand Boulevard (today’s S. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive) in the community of Kenwood.
It originally presented both vaudeville as well as motion pictures. In 1924, a Kimball organ was installed at a cost of $10,000. Also, in its early years, the Peerless Theatre had its own house orchestra.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s, it occasionally played host to big-name jazz performers on its stage. The Grand Terrace Café, a jazz venue which also hosted some of the biggest names in jazz of the day, was in the same building as the Peerless Theatre.
Closed in 1928, it re-opened in 1937 as the Park Theatre which closed in 1958. It re-opened in 1964 as the Ritz Theatre but closed the following year. Later used as a church, the auditorium then stood unused. In recent years it has been used as a parking space for condominiums. In 2007, the front of the building is being converted into offices and the façade will be restored.
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