Paris has that beaux-arts triumph,the Paris Opera Garnier; and Chicago has this French Baroque-style marvel, The Chicago Theatre. The comparison isn't completely unfounded: Though the Chicago Theatre wasn't actually modeled after the Opera, it has the same grandiosity and gilded, oversized beauty (modeled in part after the Royal Chapel at Versailes). This is one of those great entertainment palaces where "too much" turns out to be just right. The Chicago's upright sign and marquee are "an unofficial emblem" of the city according to the Committee on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks.
Tours of the majestic lobby, great staircase, backstage areas and vast, luxuriously appointed auditorium are available. The 3,600-seat Chicago Theatre started out as a movie theater and now features live acts of all genres, from comedy stars (of the Jerry Seinfeld variety) to singers (on the level of Norah Jones) to popular authors giving readings (think David Sedaris). If you head here to a show by yourself, relax at one of the full service bars both before the show and during the intermission; you never know who you’ll clink glasses with.
Now owned by TheatreDreams, whose principals Larry Wilker and Bill Becker made headlines at the Kennedy Center and Cleveland's Playhouse Square, The Chicago Theatre's opulent interior makes it a venue that's worth a visit regardless of the performance. The venue also includes a studio space where the Chicago hit "Shear Madness" is remounted.
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