Opening its doors in August of 1929 during a time when movie palaces in downtown Chicago were able to seat 3,000 people, the Music Box Theatre, with its modest 700 seats, was considered a “little brother” to the larger capacity movie palaces of the time. Over the years, the theatre has been able to retain its original design and architecture. Reminiscent of a night sky due to its dark blue ceiling, moving cloud formations, and “twinkling stars” as well as walls and towers resembling an Italian courtyard, the theatre gives patrons the feeling of watching a film in an outdoor Tuscan palazzo.
In addition to the theatre, the building originally included nine storefronts and 32 apartments and was designed by Louis I. Simon, a local architect who was a graduate of the Armor Institute in Chicago. The total cost of the building was $260,000 of which $100,000 was used to build the theatre. The building was constructed by Southport Avenue Businessmen’s Association, and the day-to-day operations of the theatre were handled by Lasker and Sons.
Between 1977 and 1983, the Music Box Theatre was used sporadically for Spanish language and Arabic language films. In 1983, the management reopened the theatre with a format of double feature revival and repertory films. Foreign films eventually returned to the roster along with independent and cult films. Currently, the Music Box Theatre presents an annual average of 300 films. A second screen was added in 1991, and rather than split the main theatre in two, a smaller theater was constructed in an existing storefront near the lobby.
Music Box Theatre Location
McKinley Family Google Map
Music Box Theatre Google Map
Directions from Music Box Theatre to McKinley Family Chiropractic