Woods Theatre

54 W. Randolph Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 1 - 25 of 100 comments

DavidZornig on October 15, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Thank you CT Admin’s for updating the Woods page. Here is further confirmation that 1918 is the correct year for the Woods opening.


DavidZornig on October 15, 2015 at 5:55 am

Just found a few other book sources that confirm March 11, 1918 was the opening date of the Woods Theatre.

DavidZornig on October 15, 2015 at 5:52 am

Added an opening photo to the Photos Section. Although the photo is dated 1917, all sources including Variety linked below say “Friendly Enemies” opened the Woods Theatre March 11, 1918. Photo image credit Geroge Krejci.com

So the opening date should be changed as well as the spelling of “Theater” to “Theatre” in the Overview and page top. The building may have been constructed in 1917 but did not open until 1918.


DavidZornig on October 3, 2015 at 7:37 pm

6/09/78- 7/20/78 photo added, photo credit Jesse Williams.

DAL on August 10, 2015 at 7:45 am

If being demolished is considered adaptive use in architectural design, then I guest the people who designed the Woods might smile. The building that stands where the Woods was is new construction.

JudithK on August 10, 2015 at 4:24 am

Never visited the Woods Theatre; it is now part of the Goodman Theatre complex, hosting Petterino’s Restaurant and (this is a guess) the offices and common areas of the Goodman. Thus, in a way I finally visited the Woods after all. An unusual and successful example of adaptive use in architectural design and I think the creative people involved in the planning and design of the Woods would be happy with the way things turned out.

neeb on July 8, 2014 at 6:10 am


Article about the last night of the Woods. Has a few internal photos.

DavidZornig on May 23, 2014 at 1:56 pm

The Woods is seen at 4:51 in this Vivian Maier film.


Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on April 26, 2013 at 11:12 pm


DavidZornig on February 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Cool. It appears to Roland Burris & Ald. Fred Roti (gray trench coat)standing to the left in the photo.

DaveTracz on February 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Yes. The facade of the Oliver Typewriter Building still stands, but the windows are blacked out as it is now the back wall of the restored Oriental’s stage. Restoration wasn’t viable unless the stage could be enlarged to accomodate the big touring Broadway productions.

VintageBob on October 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Can anyone tell me if they remember a restaurant called the Centennial Restaurant near the Woods Theater? I used to eat there as a kid, and for the life of me I can’t find a single reference to it anywhere. I’m pretty sure it was on Dearborn near the Woods, because I remember eating at the Centennial and looking down the street to see a sign for the movie Penitentiary II (with Mr. T) playing there.I can’t recall if this restaurant was near the Woods or the McVicker, but it was near whichever theater played Penitentiary II. Anyone?

Broan on July 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Here is a 1964 view

Broan on May 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I don’t know that I’ve seen a good view of the whole building before.

TLSLOEWS on May 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm

WOW what a great page.Lots of photos and history,I do not know how I have missed this one till now.

RickB on April 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm

In one place on IMDB it has the release date as January 1962, but if you click the link it has a list including December 20, 1961, Chicago, Illinois. So The Happy Thieves may have been a world premiere engagement at the Woods.

Mark_L on April 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Looking closely at the marquee of The Woods, it looks like the theatre was playing THE HAPPY THEIVES with Rita Hayworth and Rex Harrison. IMDB shows a release date of this of December, 1961.

Sure are some BIG cars parked on that street!

Broan on April 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm

View link A nice view of the dearborn facade

teddy666 on March 29, 2011 at 8:31 am

I would love to see the interior of this theater.

JRS40 on March 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

That double feature Rich speaks of could have been at the UA Marina Cinemas. They often played double features during their brief 7 year existence. But Tim is correct there is NO WAY that was at the Woods or any other Loop palace. Please see the booking history from the mid 60’s to 1980 for further confirmation.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on March 17, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Rich, I think you saw this double feature somewhere else. Believe me……The Woods Theatre NEVER showed an Ingmar Bergman movie in the 1970s. Maybe you saw this double bill at the Esquire or Playboy, but at the Woods………….no way.

Richard3150 on March 13, 2011 at 10:37 am

I saw the one of the oddest double-bills ever at the Woods: CRIES & WHISPERS and THE LAST DETAIL. Both terrific films, but the audience was there for THE LAST DETAIL.
Guess which film was shown first.

CSWalczak on February 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm

A picture of the theater in 1964 taken from under the marquee of the United Artists diagonally opposite: View link It is interesting, after looking at all the photos that have been posted, how many stores and restaurants occupied that corner space.

GButters on January 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm


I’m a film historian working on a book on movie theaters in the Chicago Loop in the 1970’s. I would love to interview individuals who attended the Woods Theater at that time. To reach me, email me at


DavidZornig on August 13, 2010 at 9:18 pm

By the way, the film on the Woods marquee in “Mickey One” was “The Cardinal”. Which is the first film on JRS40’s 05/04/07 list of movies.
“Mickey One” itself would later play at the Woods as well when it was first released. Starting 10/27/65, according to the same list above.
Another notable Chicago site in the film was the old Gate Of Horn nightclub on the S/E corner Dearborn & Chicago Ave. Which doubled as a place called Xanadu in the film.
A club where Lenny Bruce had played and I believe was later arrested in.