4816 N. Broadway,
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One of the last great movie palaces in Chicago, this fabulous theatre was built by Balaban & Katz Corp. in the Uptown neighborhood, north of Chicago in 1925. The Uptown Theatre was the largest movie palace in Chicago, larger than any in the entertainment hub within the Chicago downtown known as ‘The Loop’, and according to the Theatre Historical Society of America list, was the 12th largest movie palaces ever built in the U.S.A. It was opened August 18, 1925 with the world premiere of First National Pictures “The Lady Who Lied” with Lewis Stone and Virginia Valli. At opening the orchestra pit housed a 60-person orchestra and the theatre was equipped with a Wurlitzer 4 manual 20 rank theatre organ.
Changing times and the shift in population have not helped the Uptown Theatre and although it was a destination for moviegoers for several decades, it was closed December 19, 1981 with a concert by the J. Geils Band. Additionally, the Uptown Theatre has succumbed to water damage, vandalism and the wear and tear of time. Every year its exterior stands stoically facing the cold winter while its interior slowly erodes.
The Uptown Theatre is one of the last truly great theatres without a certain future. The Uptown Theatre must be saved before it is too late. In 2014 the building was purchased by JAM Productions for $3.2 million. On June 29, 2018 it was announced that $75 million had been granted to restore the theatre, with restoration work beginning Summer of 2019.
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