Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oriental Theater

25 W. Randolph. Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theater. The Oriental Theater first opened in 1926 to much heraldry. Inspired by the architecture of India, patrons were led by turbaned ushers through the ornate lobby and onto the auditorium's hasheesh-dream decor. It fell into disrepair during the general economic decline of the 1970s and had to be closed in 1981, reopening in 1998 after a two-year restoration project.


  1. What a sumptuous interior. I'd love to be visiting this lovely building for a performance. Beautiful photo.

  2. My favourite theatre in Chicago! I took a tour of it the year that it re-opened, and it was really interesting to hear about all that went into the project. Of course, I've forgotten all of that now, but I remember being impressed.

  3. thank you jilly and mel. it's a beautiful theater indeed. they say the interior tends to compete with the show!

  4. What a great post.

    During my time in Chicago (1978-88), I wasn't even aware of the existence of this theatre.

    My husband, (who I didn't know at the time) tells me he saw "Sleep-Away Camp," a 39-cent horror movie, on a double-bill with "Dawn of the Dead," at the Oriental in the mid-1980s. Homeless guys were camping in the back row. A rat ran across my then not-husband's foot. He watched the whole show (probably with his feet on the seat), but left pretty quickly afterwards.

  5. thanks petrea, wow amazing isn't it things rise and fall and rise again...