Just a short walk a few blocks east of the Ogilvie Metra Station is the theater district. Our destination yesterday was The Chicago Theater. We were going to see Straight No Chaser, so we planned ahead to do a tour of the theater earlier in the day. The tour lasts over an hour and visitors get to really appreciate the architecture since the building is empty. Below is just a few of the thousands of light bulbs in the front of this theater. How many people does it take to change these light bulbs? …sounds like a joke I’ve heard about a million times, but this would be a real job!
Below the bulbs are all lit….still can’t imagine how long it takes to change these babies.
The Chicago Theater opened in 1921 as a movie house and was the first of its kind. It was a model for other theaters that followed. For 40 years the theater was known for movies and live entertainment. But from the 70’s until the mid 80’s the theater business hit a lull and the theater was eventually closed in 1985. In 1986, the theater was purchased and saved from demolition. (Are you starting to see a pattern here? People love to knock things over. It doesn’t end in childhood. Thank goodness for the other little kids who yell …nooooo, I’m gonna tell Mom!!) The theater was saved, refurbished and reopened in 1986 with Frank Sinatra as a headliner.
To marvel at the workmanship, is an understatement in this building. It was covered and remodeled in the 50’s with Formica and other trends at the time, but they were smart enough just to cover the details. All of it was preserved underneath to appreciate today.
At just .25 for the ticket, this was an event, not just a movie. Even the entrance to the men’s restrooms is elegant. This is where the men would lounge and have a pipe or cigar with the guys.
Elegance and opulence was the intention. The ceilings of today just don’t seem to get this much attention…
Treat yourself to this grand dame of a building. A Christmas Story, the Musical, is here for the rest of December. Next time you are there for a concert or musical, try to take a tour ahead of time and take time to look around…there is so much to see from days gone by.
Straight No Chaser is still in town, by the way, at The Rosemont Theater tonight (Dec 4) at 7:30. Run to the phone if you want to get tickets. Both shows were sold out yesterday. They were OUTstanding. Or get some of their music, you will love it.