Gorilla Tango Skokie Theatre

7924 Lincoln Avenue,
Skokie, IL 60077

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Gorilla Tango Skokie Theatre

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Originally opened as the 425 seat Niles Center Theatre in 1915 or 1916. In the 1940’s it was re-modeled in a classic Art Moderne style. Renamed the Skokie Theatre, this single-screen movie house with its brown and white checkerboard facade was for many years a first-run house but in the last couple decades, closed and reopened a number of times. The Skokie Theatre was screening a mix of art/foreign film, second-run commercial fare, and Bollywood movies when it closed for the last time in fall of 2004.

The theatre was acquired in spring of 2005 by the Skokie Theatre Music Foundation (then called the Cavalcade of Music Foundation), based in the Chicago suburb of Kenilworth, which has converted the Skokie Theatre into a 148-seat concert venue for various styles of music. Renovations, have included new lighting and sound systems, repairs to the exterior, and making the building handicap accessable. The marquee has also been restored and relit. It was closed on December 31, 2011.

It was reopened in April 2012 as the Skokie branch of the popular Bucktown neighborhood’s Gorilla Tango Theatre, now called the Gorilla Tango Bucktown. In Skokie, the program features sketch, improv comedy, burlesque and other live entertainment.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 39 comments)

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 26, 2006 at 6:03 pm

You are talking about fine cinematic standards. I am talking about having a good time there when I was a little kid. I thought the 7-9 was cool too. So we certainly live in different worlds. Never went to the 3 Penny. But it did look like a pit. I will give you that.

I am happy that they renovated the Skokie for new use, and I understand that actions of this nature require change. But I still don’t see why they couldn’t have saved a little more of the decor for old time’s sake.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on August 24, 2008 at 11:06 pm

The Skokie Theatre has had a virtually non-stop schedule in recent months. Singers, musicians & even plays such as Hizzoner.

Within the last year, The Village of Skokie has been working towards a plan to build a new CTA/Skokie Swift platform at Oakton Street & Skokie Blvd. Basically on the site where the was one originally. They were last trying to appropiate the land of an existing truck rental firm, to clear and create enough room for a Kiss & Ride stop as part of the new platform. In addition to helping the revitalization of downtown Skokie, this should help the Skokie Theatre as well.

Last year I believe they ran Charlie Chaplin films at the Skokie Theatre as part of the village’s Backlot Bash.

So some provisions must exist for it to again be able to show movies.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on February 8, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Just to further confirm, the Skokie Theatre does have provisions to show films. Though I don’t know the projection or screen specifics, the silent film “Nosferatu” is scheduled there for 8PM on February 27th.

It is advertised along with the rest of Skokie’s full stage, comedy & music schedule for Feb. & Mar., in Street Level. A free local newspaper serving Nortside Chicago, Evanston & Skokie.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 15, 2009 at 12:02 am

Reactivate Notification Status.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 3, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Greetings ken mc. Neither link seems to work.
I tried accessing them from a couple different servers, to no avail.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 28, 2011 at 10:24 pm

The Skokie Theater is closing as of December 31, 2011 and the theater is for sale:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-skokie-theatre-closed-20111228,0,7040078.story

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on December 29, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I’m sorry to see it close. Al Curtis & his crew did a great job trying to keep it versatile. I don’t know why the bank/owners would think it will look more viable to potential buyers, if it’s completely inactive. Defies logic really. Sell the sizzle, not the steak.

Since they knew they were keeping theater style seating, I think the renovation should have kept the old or newer projectors in place. So it could moonlight an an art house and run films on off nights. Like the old Varsity & Parkway used to.

Once they knew that they weren’t keeping them, the seating design should have been changed to one with tables or standing room by the stage like at Martyrs on Lincoln in the city. And removed the inclined floor. Strictly theater seating limited themselves and the venue to attracting younger acts and their followings. Or older tribute acts with crowds that could move about inside. Martyrs or the Vic is the best examples I can think of.

With a capacity of only 148 people, even at $25 a ticket for sell-outs, there’s not enough left to pay for bigger name talent. Add in virtually zero foot traffic, and you have an even bigger struggle.

I wish them all the best of luck.

Broan
Broan on December 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I doubt there was room for projectors when it was done. The place is just too small and narrow – only 10 seats wide. As much as I love old theaters, this should have been turned into a store, they could have built a better theater in almost any building and fit more than 148 people in it. How difficult can it be to have “perfect acoustics” in such a tiny space? 1.5 million could have gone a lot farther elsewhere.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm

And now Gorilla Tango might be selling the theater

http://skokie.patch.com/articles/is-skokie-s-gorilla-tango-theater-for-sale?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001

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