The Palace Theatre opened at the corner of Randolph and LaSalle Streets in Chicago on October 4, 1926. Designed by legendary theatre architects the Rapp Brothers, the theatre originally opened as the flagship of vaudeville’s legendary Orpheum Circuit, and among the stars believed to have played the Palace in its early years are Jimmy Durante, Mae West, Sophie Tucker, Jack Benny and Bob Hope.
The theatre’s interior featured a splendor previously unseen in Chicago — a breathtaking vision inspired by the palaces of Fontainebleau and Versailles. The theatre’s distinctive characteristics included a lobby richly appointed in huge decorative mirrors and breche violet and white marble, which swept majestically through a succession of lobbies and foyers.
As one of the first motion picture palaces whose décor was inspired by the Far East, Chicago’s Oriental Theatre opened to much fanfare on May 8, 1926. Designed by George L. and Cornelius W. Rapp for theatre managers Balaban and Katz, the theatre, a virtual museum of Asian art, presented popular first-run motion pictures, complemented by lavish stage shows. Turbaned ushers led patrons from the lobby, with polychrome figures and large mosaics of an Indian prince and princess, through an inner foyer with elephant-throne chairs and multicolored glazed Buddhas, to the auditorium’s “hasheesh-dream décor.”
The theatre was opened on New Year’s Day in 1906 as the Majestic Theatre. The architects of the venue were Edmund R. Krause and George L. and Cornelius Rapp, and it was the first venue in Chicago to cost over one million dollars. The Majestic Building, the tallest building in Chicago when it was first built, became a Chicago landmark, and the theatre instantly became a popular destination for vaudeville acts.
In the same spirit in which the City of Chicago created the theatre district, Broadway In Chicago and Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University joined forces to light up the Auditorium Theatre. In 1889, Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, two of the most influential and transformative architects in history, unveiled their crowning achievement. A rare combination of staggering size and unparalleled acoustics , the Auditorium Theatre immediately established itself as one of the most sublime artistic venues in Chicago, America and throughout the world.
In April 2010, Broadway In Chicago added a new location to their family of theaters: the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. In the 1970s, the building was originally built to house The Drury Lane Theatre and, over the years, went from theatre to movie theatre and back to the legitimate theatre, Drury Lane Water Tower. Prior to its acquisition, Broadway In Chicago presented the year-and-a-half run of THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, as well as SHOUT and XANADU at the Drury Lane Theatre. After an extensive make-over to give the space an exciting new look, the Broadway Playhouse reopened in September 2010 with a four-night inaugural engagement of AN EVENING WITH SUTTON FOSTER. The renovation included a new entrance, lobby re-configuration, as well as a transformation of the interior décor that reflects a more modern look.