On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog

Landmark Chicago Theater Marquee

Orange Y in middle of circle represents the three forks of the...

Arc de Triomphe facade

Grand staircase modeled after the one at the Paris Opera House

Lobby modeled after Royal Chapel at Versailles


Beautiful plaster ceilings



Wurlitzer organ made with special sound buttons that would accompany action in...

View from on stage

Behind the scenes controls

The start of a tradition

The Chicago Theater gives a "Marquee Tour" at noon almost every day in the summer months - cost is $12.00. The theater has been featured in many movies and TV shows and is a historic landmark in Chicago. Built in 1921 , this French Baroque silent movie house is stunning - the lobby, the grand staircase, the ceilings and the outside facade of the building - all very impressive. There have been many owners through the years - at one point it was scheduled for demolition but was saved - and is now owned by the Madison Square Garden group.

We were given the history of the building as we stood in the lobby and admired our surroundings. Then it was up to the mezzanine and then the balcony where we sat and got an even better view of the art work all around us. The guide walked us down to orchestra level and we were allowed to go on stage. What a different perspective looking out at the seats from the stage. It was so interesting to look stage left and then stage right at all of the ropes and controls for the curtains, the movie screen, and other mechanical stuff.

Off stage and down some steps was the "green room". When asked the meaning of the name, our guide said that it is the place where actors get sick just before they go on stage - ha, ha. As we climbed back to the main level, we saw hundreds of signatures on the walls. It has become a tradition for anyone who performs here to sign the wall. This was started by Frank Sinatra in 1986 and to date the only person that the guide knew of that didn't participate was Diana Ross.

The tour lasted an hour and fifteen minutes and the time just flew by. In 2001, Tom and I ( along with my sister and her husband) took a backstage tour of Radio City Music Hall and we loved it. Now I've done a Chicago theater landmark and I loved that too.

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