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Mayor Lightfoot Issues Proclamation Declaring October 26 Chicago Theatre Day

Join the Celebration by Wishing The Chicago Theatre a Happy Anniversary Using #ChicagoTheatre100

The Chicago Theatre will celebrate its 100th anniversary on October 26, 2021. In honor of this milestone anniversary, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot issued a proclamation recognizing tomorrow as Chicago Theatre Day saying, “Theater is foundational to the life and culture of Chicago, as our productions draw crowds from all over the world and spark inspiration and engaging conversations. For the past 100 years, The Chicago Theatre has contributed to this reputation by illuminating State Street with fantastic shows and films. I am thrilled to wish the Theatre a happy 100th anniversary and celebrate Chicago Theatre Day as we embark on yet another next century of entertainment in our city.” Chicagoans and fans of the theatre are encouraged to wish The Chicago Theatre a Happy 100th Anniversary and share their favorite moments at the venue by using #ChicagoTheatre100 across all social media platforms.

Known as “The Wonder Theatre of the World” when it opened on October 26, 1921 as a lavish movie palace, Balaban & Katz’s Chicago Theatre is a City of Chicago Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1921 silent film, “The Sign on the Door,” starring Norma Talmadge, was the first event held at the iconic theatre. A 50-piece orchestra accompanied the film, with Jesse Crawford on the mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. A staff of 125 ushers welcomed guests into the more than 3,000-seat theatre – with an entry price ranging from 25 to 50 cents depending on what time of day they arrived.

Since then, The Chicago Theatre has hosted the world’s biggest stars, films and productions – including Allman Brothers Band, Arcade Fire, Jack Benny, Harry Connick Jr, Brett Eldredge, Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, Indigo Girls, Benny Goodman, Alicia Keys, David Letterman, Madonna, Sebastian Maniscalco, John Mulaney, Oasis, Dolly Parton, Prince, Diana Ross, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Van Morrison, Eddie Vedder, Widespread Panic, Wilco, Robin Williams and more.

Built in French Baroque style, the venue’s exterior features a miniature replica of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe sculpted above its State Street marquee. The grand lobby is modeled after the Royal Chapel at Versailles and is surrounded by gallery promenades at the mezzanine and balcony levels. The grand staircase is patterned after the Paris Opera House and ascends to the Great Balcony.

The venue’s vertical “C-H-I-C-A-G-O” sign, which has kept State Street lit for 100 years, is a landmark itself at nearly six stories high – and one of the most recognizable symbols of the city of Chicago.

Acquired by MSG Entertainment in 2007, The Chicago Theatre is part of MSG Entertainment’s portfolio of world-class venues, which also includes New York’s Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre.

Upcoming shows at The Chicago Theatre include Big Time Rush, Elvis Costello, Brett Eldredge, Chelsea Handler, Barry Manilow, Andrew Schulz, Will Smith, She & Him, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Widespread Panic and the return of family holiday theatrical “’Twas the Night Before…” by Cirque du Soleil.

Images and the proclamation can be found HERE. (Current images credit: MSG Entertainment; vintage images provided on a quitclaim basis)

Celebrate The Chicago Theatre by using #ChicagoTheatre100 across all social media platforms 

Rachel Schulman / [email protected]
Grace Harris / [email protected]