Apollo Theatre AC
104 N. State Street,
2 people favorited this theater
Apollo Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Hainline Circuit
Previous Names: Apollo Theatre, Cinematix 770, Dollarodeon, Apollo Activity Center
As evidenced by this recent photo, the Apollo Theatre (and its surroundings) is in bad shape, but reportedly on the rebound. Along with the theatre, the downtown area of Belvidere was designated an Illinois Main Street Community project in 1996 and funds were allocated to restore the city and the theatre. It’s clearly coming along slowly, but the old Apollo Theatre, which opened with 950-seats on January 11, 1922 on the site of the former Derthick Opera House. It was built for and operated by the Rhinehardt family to be used for plays, movies and vaudeville. The opening production was the musical comedy “Take It From Me”. There were 14-dessing rooms and a pipe organ was installed. By 1936 it had been remodeled and went over to X-rated films in 1971 and was re-named Cinematix 770 and from 1974 was known as the Dollarodeon (a play on words of the old nickelodeons) showing regular movies for a dollar. In 1975 fire in the balcony (the work of two juveniles) closed the theatre for a while. It was reopened but closed again in 1978 until 1981 when it reopened screening family movies. In 2000 it became a banquet hall.
Megan Sawchuk of Belvidere Illinois writes as of 9/11/02, “The picture provided for this theatre shows construction in front of it, but it is not for the theatre. The bridge over the Kishwaukee river is right next to it and it was being rebuilt.
“Actually, the area around the theatre and the theatre itself are not in bad shape. In fact the theatre and the bridge are finished. Although, the theatre is no longer a theatre. It’s quite sad, but somebody bought the building and turned it into a Mexican dance club.
“It still has the marquee sign out front, but it just says ‘Apollo’ in big letters. All of the original furnishings have been discarded. This includes the original curtains, which were really something nice, and all of the seats.
“[The theatre] never looked as shabby as it does in that picture. I used to work across the street from there and I was there during the construction on the bridge. There is also a mural on the wall that is on the right side of the picture. It’s a Mexican heritage mural.
“It’s a shame that none of the integrity could be salvaged in this building.” It now is now in use as a banquet hall known as the Apollo Activity Center. By June 2022 it had reopened as a concert & live music venue renamed Apollo Theatre AC.
On the evening of March 31, 2023 the theatre was hit by a tornado which collapsed its roof. A concert by heavy metal band Morbid Angel was in progress and supporting act Brazilian death metal band E.T. Crypta had just finished their set. Reports came in of one death and 40 injured. The marquee on the front of the theatre also fell onto the sidewalk.
It reopened on September 9, 2023.
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.