With the Kings Theatre restored, the biggest theater in America in dire need of rescue is the Uptown Theatre in the northern part of Chicago. This Spanish-style jewel opened in 1925 between the Riviera Theatre and the Aragon Ballroom and was one of the Balaban & Katz circuit houses. It features a very long lobby and a towering auditorium with well-over 4,000 seats. Closed since the late 80’s, it has suffered through countless cold winters and hot summers with some damage, but remains mostly intact. In fact, it is in far better shape than the Kings was before its renovation, a tribute to those volunteers who have struggled to preserve the old girl in the face of indifference and issues regarding the property’s ownership. Currently, the estimated price tag for renovation is between $80-$100 million. Would it be worth it? Yes.
So please, here, meet and greet the Uptown and make her feel welcome. As always, all photos are from the Cinema Classics website.
The damaged auditorium