The Historic Chicago Theatre

How often do you go somewhere full of magic? Where your troubles seem to be left at the door? Well, the Chicago Theatre is just such a place because it was designed to be just that.

Today, I was lucky enough to go to the historic Chicago Theatre for a tour. We got basically an all access pass to see everything from the lobby, based on the Paris Opera House, to the backstage where so many legends have prepared before shows. Taking the tour of the theatre was both informative and absolutely beautiful.

Originally the Chicago Theatre was built for movies but has since hosted famous musicians, shows and comedians. Although not known for it’s theatre connection, it hosted Donny Osmond’s version of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat, which was the longest running show in Chicago before we became such a Wicked city.

The Chicago Theatre has had so many greats on it’s stage: Frank Sinatra, Prince, Ricky Gervais, Dean Martin, Julie Andrews and, of course, Charlie Sheen. If only walls could talk! Apparently, whenever Dean Martin had a show at the theatre, he would poke his head out of the star dressing room into the alleyway in an attempt to garner more audience members. This became such a favorite that teenyboppers would crowd the alley whenever Mr. Martin was in town. It’s hard to imagine how many more stories the historic theatre holds.

Beyond star power, the theatre itself is a thing of art. Done primarily in a French Baroque style, the entire building is stunning. It’s hard to imagine going to the movies in the 1920’s or 30’s for a mere 25 cents at such an ostentatious location. It was renovated in the 1950’s to update it to the less ornate styles of the time; these renovations were thankfully reversed to the original 1920’s splendor you see today.

All in all, the tour of the Chicago Theatre is something I would recommend to anyone interested in the arts and Chicago history. Not only will you learn and find inspiration, but will probably find yourself leaving your troubles at the door and feel the magic.

To experience the magic for yourself go to the Chicago Theatre’s website to find times for the standard tour or schedule a tour for a larger group.

Top Photo by Mike Warot