Gracing Chicago’s downtown area at 24 West Randolph Street is the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre. The Oriental Theatre, as it was known at the time, was opened in 1926 as a movie palace by the Rapp and Rapp firm. Today the theater is operated by Broadway in Chicago where visitors can view some of the hottest shows on Broadway in the Windy City.
History of the Oriental Theatre
In its heyday, the Oriental Theatre hosted both movies and Vaudeville Acts, but eventually it ended up primarily becoming a movie house in the 1930s. On occasion live acts and concerts were held, including frequent appearances by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra. Other well known celebrities frequented the Oriental Theatre such as the Three Stooges, Judy Garland, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and many others. The Oriental continued to be part of Chicago’s theatre district for many decades.
With its unique Indian inspired motif, the Oriental was practically its own museum of Asian Art. Imagine the days of turbaned ushers guiding patrons to their seats: passing large mosaics of an Indian prince and princess, elephant-thrown chairs, and images of Buddhas.
Later in the 1970s, the Oriental came under renovation. It was added to the Federal National Registry of Historic Places in 1978. Then In 1997 it was renamed the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Now a part of the Broadway in Chicago circuit, the Ford Center Oriental Theatre is one of 5 theaters where you can see some of the most popular shows playing on Broadway today. This ranges from the long-standing Les Miserables to more modern shows such as the Book of Mormon.
See a Broadway Show in Chicago
If you’re visiting Chicago and you’ve already experienced the museums, the city’s history tours, sampled as many wonderful morsels in all the amazing restaurants that you could; and now you want to do something a little more relaxing, why not spend a night watching a show? You should make it a date. Find out what shows are playing, ticket prices, and group discounts by visiting the Broadway In Chicago website for more information.
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