“Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past ten years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country. A Nederlander Company, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well over 1.7 million people annually in five theaters. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theaters in Chicago’s Loop including the Bank of America Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and, just off the Magnificent Mile, the new Broadway Playhouse. Broadway In Chicago is best known for attracting pre-Broadway productions, highlights of those include ‘The Producers,’ ‘Spamalot,’ ‘Movin’ Out’ and ‘The Addams Family’ as well as long-run engagements including ‘Wicked,’ Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Billy Elliot the Musical’ to name a few.”
“In the words of Mayor Daley, ‘Broadway In Chicago is a leader in the Downtown Theatre District, and an economic engine that will keep our downtown alive and full of energy for years to come.’”
Bank of America Theatre
“The Bank of America Theatre opened as the Majestic Theatre in 1906 and was Chicago’s first million-dollar-plus venue and the city’s tallest building at the time. A hot spot on the vaudeville circuit and later host to such luminaries as Harry Houdini and Lily Langtry, the Majestic closed during the Great Depression and was shuttered for fifteen years. Much of the original design was retained when the theater was remodeled and reopened in 1945, in time for the heyday of favorites like ‘Carousel,’ ‘South Pacific’ and ‘Guys and Dolls.’ The Bank of America Theatre has hosted the pre-Broadway world premieres of Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp’s ‘Movin’ Out’ and Monty Python’s ‘Spamalot.’ Recent shows include the Chicago favorite, ‘Jersey Boys,’ and ‘Rock of Ages’ featuring American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis.”
Broadway Playhouse at Watertower Place
“In April 2010, Broadway In Chicago announced a new location to their family of theaters: the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. The Broadway Playhouse went through a makeover to give the space an exciting new look, and reopened in September 2010 with a four-night inaugural engagement of ‘An Evening with Sutton Foster.’ ‘This theater will give Broadway In Chicago the ability to attract those productions that are better suited for a more intimate theater. We hope to be able to expand the theatrical experiences we offer with this intimate and unique venue in the heart of the Magnificent Mile,’ James L. Nederlander, President of the Nederlander Organization, announced.
“In the 1970s, the building was originally built to house the Drury Lane Theatre and over the years went from theater to movie theater and back to the legitimate theater Drury Lane Water Tower. Prior to Broadway In Chicago’s acquisition, they 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.
“The theater itself has undergone a complete renovation. The renovation includes a new entrance, lobby re-configuration, as well as a transformation of the interior décor that reflects a more modern look and attracts more theatrical producers interested in bringing their shows to Chicago.”
“The Palace Theatre opened at the corner of Randolph and LaSalle Streets in Chicago on October 4, 1926. Designed by legendary theater architects the Rapp Brothers, the theater’s interior featured a splendor previously unseen in Chicago—a breathtaking vision inspired by the palaces of Fontainebleau and Versailles. The theater’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; great wall surfaces enhanced with gold leaf and wood decorations; and 2,500 plush, roomy seats. The theater was 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, Jack Benny, Sophie Tucker and Bob Hope.
“Despite the popularity of such acts, audiences in the late 1920s and early 1930s had begun to lose interest in vaudeville, and in 1931 the theater was converted into a movie palace, initially presenting films with live stage shows, and then eventually showing only movies. When movie audiences began staying at home to watch television in the 1950s, the theater managers, hoping to attract larger audiences, booked occasional Broadway shows into the theater, such as ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ starring Carol Channing.
“During the late 1950s, the Palace was fitted with special equipment to show films in Cinerama. During the mid-1970s, the management of the Bismarck Hotel transformed the auditorium into a banquet hall by removing the seats on the orchestra level and bringing the floor flush with the stage. In 1984, the theater, now renamed the Bismarck Theatre, was converted into a rock venue. Sporadically used during the 1990s, the venue was completely restored and renovated during 1999, and renamed the Cadillac Palace.
“The renovated theatre was reopened during the fall of 1999, with the premiere of Elton John and Tim Rice’s ‘Aida.’ Since then, the Cadillac Palace has been the home to several pre-Broadway hits including ‘The Producers – The New Mel Brooks Musical’ and ‘Mamma Mia!’ as well as long-run engagements of ‘Disney’s The Lion King’ and ‘Oprah Winfrey presents The Color Purple.’”
“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. Also designed by George L. and Cornelius W. Rapp for theater managers Balaban and Katz, the theater, 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.’ Among the many stars that played the theatre are Paul Ash (billed as ‘the Rajah of Jazz’), The Three Stooges, Judy Garland, Al Jolson, Stepin Fetchit, Sophie Tucker, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Fanny Brice, Danny Kaye and Alice Faye. During a record-breaking week in 1930, as many as 124,985 patrons visited the Oriental to see the hit film ‘Flight.’ Although management changed hands several times in the subsequent decades, the theater continued to feature films until the early 1970s, at which time the M&R Amusement Company briefly presented live performances by such artists as Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Little Richard.
“Soon the theater fell into disrepair. In an effort to preserve the theater, it was added to the Federal National Registry of Historic Places in 1978, but the building continued to crumble. The theater was closed to the public in 1981, and the site was considered for a two-story, 50,000 square-foot shopping mall and a 1,600-seat cinema. In 1996, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced that the Oriental would be restored to its original grandeur for the presentation of live stage musicals by Livent, Inc. Renamed Ford Center for the Performing Arts in 1997, the restoration of the theater was completed in October 1998, at which time it was opened with the Chicago premiere of ‘Ragtime.’ The venue was acquired by SFX Theatrical Group in 1999, and its production of ‘Fosse’ debuted at the Ford Center before embarking on a national tour. The list of hits goes on including the pre-Broadway of ‘Blast’ in 2000, the world premiere of ‘Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz’ in January 2003 and the record-breaking run of Wicked from 2005 to 2009.”
“In the same spirit in which the City of Chicago created the theater district, Broadway In Chicago and Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University join forces to light up the Auditorium Theatre. The two organizations have formed a long-term alliance that allows Broadway In Chicago the theatrical rights to book the prestigious Auditorium Theatre.
“Opened in 1889 by famous architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, the Auditorium’s architectural ingenuity, perfect acoustics, technical versatility and sightlines became internationally revered. The Auditorium building was the first multi-purpose building incorporating a hotel, offices and retail spaces along with the theatre, and one of the first public buildings to use newly developed modern technologies of its time: electric lighting and air-conditioning. There are hundreds of Sullivan’s intricate stencil patterns, ornate gilded and bas-relief designs and endless floor and wall mosaics. Radiant 24-karat gold-leafed ceiling arches and exquisite murals adorn the house of the theater. Frank Lloyd Wright, who received much inspiration working his first job as a draftsman on the project, said the Auditorium is, ‘The greatest room for music and opera in the world—bar none.’
“The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, an independent not-for-profit organization, is committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural and community programming in Chicago, and to the continued restoration and preservation of the Historic National Landmark Theatre.”
Production history available here.
Leadership (Past and Present)
Lou Raizin, President
Suzanne Bizer, Vice President
Eileen LaCario, Vice President
Productions of Note
“Rent” Due in Chicago
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Artists of Note
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Where They Perform
Broadway in Chicago performs on stages of five theaters in Chicago’s Loop, including the Bank of America Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and just off the Magnificent Mile, the new Broadway Playhouse.
“West Side Story,” “Love, Loss, and What I Wore,” “Ann: An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards,” “Memphis,” “Donny & Marie: Christmas in Chicago,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” “Come Fly Away,” “Chicago,” “Mary Poppins,” “Rock of Ages,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “The Addams Family”
“I Love Lucy Live On Stage,” “Kinky Boots,” “Sister Act,” “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,” “War Horse,” “Peter Pan,” “Rock of Ages,” “Stuffed and Unstrung,” “Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles,” and “Les Miserables.”
Full season announcement here.
Box Office: (800) 775-2000
Tickets range from $15-150+
Some student and group (15+) discounts available
Bank of America Theatre:
18 W. Monroe, Chicago
24 W. Randolph, Chicago
Cadillac Palace Theatre:
151 W. Randolph, Chicago
175 E. Chestnut, Chicago
50 East Congress Parkway, Chicago
Unless otherwise noted, all biographies and quotations are from the theater’s website.