May 19, 2011

Theaters Present

The Survivors
This post is related to another post called 
Theaters Past but first this one!
and Performing Arts Center
This theater is the only continuously operating theater 

in the City of Chicago
1911 program cover
image via Jeff DeLong
a pin - Ebay
The Athenaeum opened in 1910 supported by St. Alphonsus Church parishioners as a recreational center serving the mostly German community of the time. The building featured a 1000 seat theater for German Operetta, gymnasium, bowling alleys, music and meeting rooms. Over the years, meeting rooms gave way to classrooms and the theater became a temporary church in the early 1950's after a devastating fire damaged the existing church building.
As of 2012, under the direction of ADP Productions, the Athenaeum is once again fulfills it's original purpose - to entertain. This now 985 seat theater space has been renovated to his past pristine glory. Read about the church that supports this incredible theater space.
A production called The Boxer 
The Thanksgiving Fire of 1939
This fire engulfed not only the theater but the church
These photos are from Jeff DeLong via Forgotten Chicago on Facebook. I have a post on the church within another post ...
Home of the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus

It is also the home of  the 150 person strong 
Gay Men’s Chorus - with video!
The Chorus performs three large-scale concerts during each performance season, usually at Chicago's Athenaeum Theatre along with several other 'run out' performances during the course of each year. The chorus has sung the National Anthem for Chicago Cubs games at Wrigley Field and has performed at several events hosted by former Mayor Richard M. Daley. CGMC delivers a unique entertainment experience found nowhere else in the city. We produce professional-quality shows that combine the best elements of musical theater, cabaret and traditional choral performance. But only CGMC can add that special “twist of gaiety” that can make each show fun, moving and memorable.
constructed in 1912
photo - SunTimes
The Vic Theater was designed by architect John E.O. Pridmore, opened as the Victoria Theater. It took three years to build that luxurious five-story vaudeville house. The lobby floor and staircases are still in Italian marble, and the interior still has most of the original ornate wall sculptures. Pridmore used handmade English quarry title in the walls and Italian marble on the lobby floor and staircases. Apparently, the theater was at one period of time connected to the Belmont L stop through a lighted lobby. “There was a shop open 24 hours where you could get newspapers". After decades of neglect and misuse The Vic, as a theater,would reopened in 1984. Currently, the theater airs movies as well as live performances.
The theater to the right and another entertainment spot called the Merry Garden Ballroom to the left 
- Daily News Archives 1922
photo - Cinema 

photos - Tuts on Facebook
photo - Flickr by Joshua Mellin
The Vic still shows reels of classic films from a vintage projector on non-concert days. This theater was the home of Clubland that opened in 1986 one of the first to use tons of video screens throughout the night club space. Performers like the likes of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, the Heartbreakers, and Jerry Seinfeld have graced its' space. 
View more photography via Flickr.
The Chicagoan
(former Blaine Theater)
constructed in 1912
Opened as the Blaine Theatre, a nickelodeon, in 1912, the theater later showed silent films until around 1920. From 1920 until 1947, the former theater served as a carpet cleaning factory using the rake of the seating area to lay rugs out and drain the water off.  
The owners, DeKoven family, used the building as series of retail uses until 1994, when it was purchased by Michael Cullen and Joe Carlucci and transformed the building back into a theater, the Mercury Theatre, a 300-seat legitimate house, which opened in 1996 with “Pope Joan”. The Mercury Theatre  is located just a few doors down from the landmark Music Box Theater on Southport Avenue in Lake View.

The original name to the theater
The New Blaine Theater - 1928
... and view more photography of this theater via Flickr.
constructed in 1929
 Ravenswood Lake View Community Collection via
Sulzer Regional Library 
Retro Gold via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
The Music Box Theatre opened on August 22, 1929, a time when the movie palaces in downtown Chicago each had seating capacities of around 3,000 people. The Music Box, which sat 800, was considered an elaborate little brother to those mega theatres of Uptown and downtown.  Theater Architecture noted in 1929 that this unique theater “represents the smaller, though charming and well equipped, sound or talkie picture theater which is rapidly taking the place of the deluxe palaces.”  
 images - Steve Zalusky via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
a page of shows 1986
Gail Perry via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - Planned Property Management
 photo - Roadside Architecture
 photo - Roadside Architecture
2013 photo - Lake View Patch

 photo - Roadside Architecture 
photo - Music Box-Facebook
photo - Music Box-Facebook
photo - Music Box-Facebook
It has not lost its same functional charm!!
 Renovations began in May of 2013 with a visit 
from the Chicago Tribune in August of that year. 
As of November of the same year this age old theater planned to expand its space to storefront just south
2013 photo - Lake View Patch
2013 photo - Lake View Patch
2013 photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Music Box-Facebook
 photo - Music Box-Facebook
photo - Music Box-Facebook
In other words, "Over the past five years the Music Box Theatre has invested in the audience experience by updating the HVAC and Electrical systems, reupholstering the seating in the main auditorium, installing digital cinema in both auditoriums while maintaining film projection, and a complete renovation of the smaller screening room in 2013.
... and view more photographs from this theater via Flickr
 In 2015 Chicago Trib reports 
a manager change after six years
home of the Chicago Critics Film Festival since 2012 
 since 1970 
building constructed in 1901
Pinterest via lonely
Home of the Blue Man Group for decades!
 Local Community Theatre
as a teaser to another post about this topic
Theater Wit


In April 2010, Theater Wit completed its renovation at the 1229 Belmont building. The facility includes: 
  • Three performance spaces
  • Computerized lighting and sound equipment
  • Lobby with a wine and coffee bar 
Most, if not all, of these theaters are a member of the 
Belmont Theater District that was established in 2012 to promote Lake View as an entertainment area within Chicago.

No Post Note

Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!

Post a Comment