23 East Galena Boulevard,
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The Paramount Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Balaban & Katz Corp., Paramount Pictures Inc., Publix Theaters Corp.
Architects: George W. Leslie Rapp
Firms: Rapp & Rapp
Functions: Concerts, Movies (Classic), Performing Arts
Styles: Art Deco, French Renaissance
Previous Names: Paramount Arts Centre
News About This Theater
- Aug 21, 2006 — Memories of the Paramount Theatre
Designed by the famed Chicago architectural firm of Rapp & Rapp, the Aurora Paramount Theatre opened to great fanfare on September 3, 1931, the first air-conditioned movie palace opened outside of Chicago in Illinois. The Paramount Theatre was built in an unusual but stunning hybrid of Art Deco and the firm’s traditional style choice of French Renaissance.
After delighting generations of Aurorans with not only its screen perfomances, but vaudeville, concerts, and even the circus; the Paramount Theatre closed in the mid-1970’s, but was almost immediately purchased by the Aurora Civic Centre Authority.
The theatre was given a $1.5 million restoration, transforming it back to its Art Deco grandeur. It reopened in 1978, as the Paramount Arts Centre, and has since been a very popular venue in Aurora for concerts, dance and family programming.
In 2002, the theater underwent a managment change in the hopes of attracting even more crowds to the former Art Deco movie palace. Its name was also changed to reflect a more entertainment-based approach and became, once again, the Paramount Theatre. From December 2011, the Paramount Theatre began screening classic movies on Monday evenings.
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Recent comments (view all 18 comments)
The marquee reminds me of the marquee of the Paradise Theatre in Chicago.
Russell Phillips Photo:
I took my mother here to see Olivia Newton John. Our seats were in the last row of the main floor. It was halfway over before she realized it wasn’t Ann Margaret.
I also saw Bjorn Again, an ABBA cover band here… I know…
The crowd was mostly seniors. So there must have been some kind of group packages offered or something.
The Paramount is an absolutely beautiful place. Took a while to get to, but well worth it. Right on a river, with storefronts that should be booming but weren’t.
They run stuff like the above, Brad Garrett, Turtles, etc. I think the parking as free and shared by a casino.
What a beautiful-looking theatre!! Love that design!
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The film “Public Enemies” about John Dillinger had a scene that took place in this theater.
Boxoffice magazine of September 15, 1956 has two small photos showing the restoration of the marquee:
Since its restoration the Paramount has been upgraded significantly. The original lobby was expanded into some kind of ballroom or party space. From what I can see it was tastefully done.
1972 Chicago Tribune photo added via Tim O'Neill.
This one opened on September 3, 1931.