Paramount Theatre

23 East Galena Boulevard,
Aurora, IL 60506

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Paramount Theatre

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Designed by the famed Chicago architectural firm of Rapp & Rapp, the Aurora Paramount Theatre opened to great fanfare in 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.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

GWaterman
GWaterman on December 3, 2005 at 12:09 pm

I saw movies at the Paramount as a child; of all the theatres my parents took me to, this was the one I loved the best for its ornate loveliness. The approach to it is wonderful, with the river right there to see. During the ‘80’s I traveled with a theatre company that played this hall after it’s renovation. It’s still a wonderful building.

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on June 29, 2006 at 6:17 pm

The marquee reminds me of the marquee of the Paradise Theatre in Chicago.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 7, 2008 at 5:40 pm

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.

MPol
MPol on November 7, 2008 at 5:58 pm

What a beautiful-looking theatre!! Love that design!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 10:15 am

Reactivate Notification Status.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on August 5, 2009 at 5:55 pm

The film “Public Enemies” about John Dillinger had a scene that took place in this theater.

jwballer
jwballer on January 28, 2010 at 11:50 am

A 3/13 Wurlitzer was installed in the theatre in 1931

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 23, 2010 at 11:22 am

Boxoffice magazine of September 15, 1956 has two small photos showing the restoration of the marquee:
View link

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm

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.

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