Places to see in ( Chicago – USA ) Oriental Theatre

The Oriental Theatre is a theater located at 24 West Randolph Street in the Loop area of downtown Chicago, Illinois. Opened in 1926 as a deluxe movie palace, today the Oriental is operated by Broadway In Chicago, a subsidiary of the Nederlander Organization. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as New Masonic Building and Oriental Theater.

The Oriental Theatre opened in 1926 as one of many ornate movie palaces built in Chicago during the 1920s by the firm Rapp and Rapp. It was built on the same location as the former Iroquois Theatre (later the Colonial Theatre) site of a disastrous 1903 fire that claimed over 600 lives. Although the façade looks identical, the Oriental retained nothing from the building that once stood on the same site.

The Oriental continued to be a vital part of Chicago’s theater district into the 1960s, but patronage declined in the 1970s along with the fortunes of the Chicago Loop in general. Late in the decade, the theater survived by showing exploitation films. It closed in 1981 and was vacant for more than a decade. The Oriental is one of several houses now operating in Chicago’s revitalized Loop Theater District. According to Richard Christiansen, the opening of the Oriental spurred on the restoration of other theaters in The Loop.

The district is also home to the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre (formerly The PrivateBank Theatre), the Goodman Theatre, and the Chicago Theatre. Randolph Street was traditionally the center of downtown Chicago’s entertainment district until the 1960s when the area began to decline. The now demolished United Artists Theatre, Woods Theatre, Garrick Theater, State-Lake Theatre and Roosevelt Theatre were located on or near Randolph Street.

The architects of the Oriental were George L. and Cornelius W. Rapp, who also built the Palace and Chicago Theatres. The Oriental features decor inspired by the architecture of India. The 3,250-seat theater was operated by the city’s dominant theater chain, Balaban and Katz (a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures).

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