August 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Uptown Theatre!

From the Uptown Adviser, reprinted with permission. For more information on the Uptown Theatre, go to Friends of the Uptown and visit the Uptown Theatre Fan Page on Facebook.

85 Candles for the UPTOWN

Today is the 85th anniversary of the UPTOWN THEATRE's opening to the public at 4814-4816 N. Broadway, Broadway and Lawrence in Chicago. Closed since 1981, this privately owned Chicago landmark is protected from further damage but needs tens of millions of dollars to be renovated and reused.

Largely unaltered from its Aug. 18, 1925, opening, the Spanish-Baroque themed UPTOWN is an American movie palace that features a monumental terra cotta facade, a grande lobby, a middle lobby, an exit lobby, a 4,300-plus seat auditorium with a mezzanine and balcony, a full working stage, an orchestra lift, two massive organ chambers (now empty), four floors of dressing rooms, an office suite, a radio broadcasting room, a deluxe playroom for children, men's and women's lounges, a decorative fountain and many staff areas.

It is interesting to note the reviews of the preview and opening from Aug. 17 and 18, 1925. Contemporary reviews are so revealing. The Jazz Age Chicago web site has done a great job of compiling this information.

Here's a brief history written with the late historian and designer Joe DuciBella, who worked there for a time for B&K.

Compass Rose Cultural Crossroads has found interesting artifacts when we thought they had all been scooped up and tucked away by previous generations!

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