May 19, 2011

Theaters Present

The Survivors
This post is related to another post called 
Theaters Past but first this one!
& Performing Arts Center
on Wellington
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 Theater opened in 1910 supported by 
St. Alphonsus Church parishioners as a recreational center serving the mostly German community of that 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 had been renovated to his past pristine glory. 
 a 1950 Sanborn Fire Map view of the general area 
with a zoomed view below
and zoomed once again
The Various Photo Angles
Joan O via Yelp
photo - Chicago Tribune
photo - Steve A via Yelp
 photo - Donald M via Yelp
 photo - Athenaeum Theater
 photo - Athenaeum Theater
photo - Mirko P via Yelp
 photo - Open House Chicago  
 a back stage view
photo - Athenaeum Theater
 photo - Open House Chicago
photo - Space Finder Chicago
photo - Atheneaum Theater
photo - Athenaeum Theater
 photo - Open House Chicago
photo - J.L. S via Yelp
 photo - Open House Chicago
 photo - Open House Chicago
Victoria G via Yelp
 Buzzy R via Yelp
photo - Aaron S via Yelp
titled 'craftsmanship' by photographer
A production called The Boxer 
photo - Mirko via Yelp
2018 photos 
by Michael Trudeau via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook

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 ...
3145 N. Sheffield Avenue
this drawing was created in 1935 by an artist named 
Anthony F Dumas - Ebay
A 1911 article about the ground breaking
image & photo - Cinema Treasures
1957 photo below - Museum of Innovation and Science 
via Cinema Treasures
The Vic Theater was designed by architect John E.O. Pridmore, opened as the Victoria Theater with a construction date of 1912. 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.
 a 1950 Sanborn Fire Map view of the general area
with a zoomed view below
The theater to the right and another entertainment spot called the Merry Garden Ballroom to the left 
1922 photo - Daily News Archives/Chicago History Museum 
 1950's - unknown source
photo - Cinema 

a 1980's view of the seating 
images - Tuts Chicago-Facebook
photo - Sure Blog
photo -  Chris Mutert via 14East
Various Photo Angles 2017
photo - Kelly N via Yelp
photo - Shannon J via Yelp
 Ben B via Yelp
photo - Vic Theater/About the Vic
photo - STS9
photo via Pinterest
photo - A.S.V. via Yelp
the old ticket booth
photo - Garry Albrecht
the architecture
photo - Patti Smith via Huffington Post
above photo - Doug K via Yelp
 photo - Groupon
 photo - Joshua Mellin via Flickr
 photo - George M via Yelp
above photo - Shannon J via Yelp
before a show
below photo from  Continuum Wedding Photography
a wedding venue

poster - Paul's Voyage of Discovery
The Vic still shows reels of classic films from a vintage projector on non-concert days. This theater was the home of Clubland, "a nigth club within a night club" (1979-89) that used tons of video screens throughout the night club space. Performers such as Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Heartbreakers, and Jerry Seinfeld have graced its' space. According to the article link above 'The Clubland was a more than respectable video club. But there`s more. Jarvis and Gentry have given the first floor of the Vic an extensive facelift, adding new tables and chairs (smaller and more intimate than before), a bench seating area and brass rails. It gives the room a sleeker, more clublike look, as well as providing more aisle room (which the partners hope they`ll need). ``Our object was to make the place more comfortable."'
 ticket - Concert Archives
 video - Dylan M via Yelp
Rodrigo and Gabriela 
photo - Vic Doug K via Yelp
 Allen Stone
photo - Iwona M via Yelp
 Bastille in 2016 
photo - Dylan M Yelp
 Bleachers 2014 
photo - Kristy B via Yelp
above photo Caroline M via Yelp
Devendra Barnhart & The Grogs 2010 
 Real Estate 2017 
photo - Vic Jessi C via Yelp
on Southport
(former Blaine Theater)
 above photo - B.L. via Yelp
below photo - photo - Chicago Musical Theater
Opened as the Blaine Theatre, a nickelodeon, in 1912, the theater later showed silent films until around 1920. According to Cinema Treasures 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 - owner of Cullen's Bar & Grill and Joe Carlucci transformed the building back into a theatre, the Mercury Theatre, a 300 seat performance venue in 1996 with “Pope Joan”. 
The renewed theater is located just a few doors down from the landmark Music Box Theater on Southport Avenue. 

image - LISEC Architects
Sanborn Fire Maps
 the above image is a 1923 Sanborn Fire Map
as 3743 N Southport Avenue
and the below image is of the same location in 1950
but listed simply as the 'Club Rm'
image - LISEC Architects
photo - GoldStar
 Allison W via Yelp
photo - Mercury Theater
photo - Mercury Theater
 chart - Theater in Chicago
 backstage view
photos - Space Finder Chicago
with an entrance to the upper balcony
below photo - Chris T via Yelp
photo - Pam D via Yelp
 The Christmas Schooner
photo - Mercury Theater
 Freud's Last Session
above photo - Mercury Theater
below photo - YouTuve/Mercury Theater
I Wanna Be a Producer
 and adjacent to it ...
Venus Cabaret
This theatre opened in 2017 as a expansion to the Mercury; once called Cullen's Bar & Grill
 above photo - their website
below photo - Chicagoland Theatre
April 2021
 The Music Box
on Southport
photo - Music Box Theater
above photo - Linda G via Yelp
below photo - Chicago Traveler
The original name of the theater
was The New Blaine Theater in 1928
This small theater 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 theaters of Uptown and downtown.According the Cinema Treasures The Music Box Theater would later play to mainly second and third-run movies as well as closing and reopening several times. By the 1970’s, the theater was showing Spanish and Arabic-language movies, as well as porn. The theater had become more than a 'bit rough around the edges' when it was closed in 1977. With new owners the theater was renovated in 1982 and reopened in 1983 showing an eclectic mix of classic, foreign, and art house films ever since. 
A publication called '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.” 
Sanborn Fire Map
 a view from 1950 with an address of 
3731-35 N Southport Avenue

photo - Cinema Treasures
 Ravenswood Lake View Community Collection via
Sulzer Regional Library 
The Architecture
 images - Steve Zalusky via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
a page of shows in 1986
Gail Perry via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - Gunaixn Travel
photo - Roadside Architecture
photo - Roadside Architecture
photo - Roadside Architecture
photographer Kyle Brown via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
photo - Roadside Architecture
photo - Music Box
photo - Music Box
photo - Music Box
photo - Open House
 photo - Music Box
 photo - Music Box
Dave Jennings, the theater's general manager, announced the $280,000 plans according to DNAinfo in 2013.
"Since 1991 guests have enjoyed thousands of films that have screened in the smaller auditorium while occasionally taking issue with seats in need of replacement, limited visibility and sound pollution from passing cars," Jennings wrote in a blog post. "The renovated space will present the best in digital and film projection and programming capabilities that Music Box patrons have come to expect."
2013 photo - Lake View Patch
2013 photo - Lake View Patch
2013 photo - Lake View Patch
 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".
The Rocky Horror Midnight Production
by Linda G via Yelp
... and view more photographs from this theater via Flickr.
The Re-Opening in June 2020
photo - Trip Advisor 
photo - Trip Advisor 
 photo - Trip Advisor 
photo - Trip Advisor 
photo - Trip Advisor 
'This building was constructed in 1901, this space was used as the stables where the horses used and owned by Marshall Field's would stay. These horses were used for the companies delivery service. As time passed, the lot became useless until 1970 when Walt Topel, founder of Topel and Associated, Ltd., bought the building from Werner Kennelly Moving and Storage Company. He redesigned it into a sound stage/office where his film production company. 
Before BlueMan Group ...
 images - Ebay
From 1977 to 1985, this building also housed Walt Topel's post-production company, Cinetronics, Ltd. In 1985, the theater was reopened and became a part of the culture that is Chicago. The Blue Man Group is a group about three bald men dressed black clothing and the remaining showing skin is painted blue. During the performance, they incorporate the audience through theater, persuasive music, art, science, and vaudeville in a way that has not been experienced in any other form.' - Wikipedia
a 1923 Sanborn Fire Map view of the general area 
 a 1923 zoomed view of the building horses & wagons
vs a 1950 zoomed view of the building for automobiles 
The Seating
photo - Trip Advisor 
the ceiling 
 image - Ebay
a decal for a T-shirt - Ebay
 photo - Trip Advisor 
 photo - Trip Advisor 
above photo - Trip Advisor 
below photo from their website

Post Notes
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!

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