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The Info List - Auditorium Theatre


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3,875 seats

Construction

Opened 1889

Renovated 1967

Architect Dankmar Adler
Dankmar Adler
and Louis Sullivan

Tenants

Joffrey Ballet

Website

www.auditoriumtheatre.org

Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
is a music and performance venue located inside the Auditorium Building
Auditorium Building
at 50 Congress Parkway in Chicago, Illinois. Inspired by the Richardsonian Romanesque
Richardsonian Romanesque
Style of architect Henry Hobson Richardson, the building was designed by Dankmar Adler
Dankmar Adler
and Louis Sullivan
Louis Sullivan
and completed in 1889. The Chicago
Chicago
Symphony Orchestra performed in the theatre until 1904 as well as the Chicago
Chicago
Grand Opera Company and its successors the Chicago
Chicago
Opera Association and Chicago Civic Opera until its relocation to the Civic Opera House
Civic Opera House
in 1929. The theatre currently hosts performances by the Joffrey Ballet, in addition to a variety of concerts, musicals, performances and events. Since the 1940s, it has been owned by Roosevelt University
Roosevelt University
and since the 1960s refurbished and managed by an independent non-profit arts organization.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Opening and early years 1.2 Decline and closing 1.3 Revival 1.4 Music, dance, and productions 1.5 Present

2 Architecture 3 References 4 External links

History[edit] Opening and early years[edit]

The Auditorium Building
Auditorium Building
in 1890

In 1885, Chicago-based businessman and philanthropist Ferdinand Wythe Peck began ambitious plans for the building that would house the Auditorium Theatre.[1] At the time, Chicago
Chicago
was still recovering from the 1871 Great Chicago
Chicago
Fire and was rife with the contentious labor issues that would lead to the 1886 Haymarket Square bombing. Peck was committed to building a state-of-the-art performance venue that would make high culture available to the general public, while also helping to bolster Chicago’s sullied reputation. To subsidize the cost of performances, Peck envisioned a new concept in design: a multi-use structure that would encompass the theatre, as well as a luxury hotel and office space; proceeds from the hotel and offices would fund performances and keep ticket prices affordable.[2] The architecture firm Adler and Sullivan were retained to design the building at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Congress Street. It is considered to be one of their most notable buildings during their partnership together. The gala opening night performance on 9 December 1889 was a major social event bringing together politicians and national leaders. In attendance were President Benjamin Harrison, Vice President Levi Morton, Illinois
Illinois
Governor Joseph Wilson Fifer, Chicago
Chicago
Mayor DeWitt Clinton Cregier, the theatre’s financial backers, and the city’s elite. President Harrison (who had visited the Auditorium in 1888, when the theatre, still a construction site, housed 9000 Republican National Convention attendees) was evidently so impressed that he was rumored to have whispered to Vice President Levi P. Morton, “New York surrenders, eh?” Crowds of people lined the streets waiting to get a glimpse of the famous and wealthy guests.[3] A highlight of the evening was opera star Madame Adelina Patti’s rendition of John Howard Payne’s “Home Sweet Home".[1][4][5] The Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
played a critical role in Chicago
Chicago
being named host for 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Local civic leaders in Chicago
Chicago
were vying with those in St. Louis, New York City, and Washington to host a fair that could reestablish Chicago
Chicago
as a destination for travel and commerce.[6] The international sensation brought about by the opening of the Auditorium was seen by Congress as an indication that the people of Chicago
Chicago
possessed the vision and financing to successfully produce a world-class fair. During its early years, the Auditorium stage played host to the leading entertainers of the era, including John Phillip Sousa, Sarah Bernhardt, The Ziegfeld Follies, Anna Pavlova, and Helen Morgan, as well as political figures including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Booker T. Washington.[7] In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt famously told the Auditorium crowd, he felt "as strong a bull moose", during his controversial run for an additional term as United States' president.[8] It was also the home to the Chicago
Chicago
Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago
Chicago
Grand Opera Company,[9] and also featured indoor baseball games. Decline and closing[edit] Peck’s hope that the revenue from the hotel and offices would subsidize the cost of presenting performances ultimately proved unsustainable, particularly as more modern hotels (featuring private bathrooms) came about. The Chicago
Chicago
Symphony Orchestra moved to Orchestra Hall in 1904,[10] and the Grand Opera relocated to the Civic Opera House in 1929.[11] In the early 1930s, estimates were taken to demolish the building, but the cost of the demolition was more than the land was worth. Following a run of the comedic musical revue “Hellzapoppin", the Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
went bankrupt and closed in 1941.[12] In 1942, the Auditorium was taken over by the City of Chicago
Chicago
to be used as a World War II servicemen’s center. The stage and front rows of the theatre were converted to a bowling alley [7] and much of the ornate stenciling, plasterwork, and art glass was covered over. At the Auditorium Building, more than 2.2 million servicemen were housed, fed, and entertained between 1941 and 1945.

Visible damage on the Auditorium Theatre's plaster work before the renovation.

Revival[edit] In 1946, Roosevelt University
Roosevelt University
saved the venue from demolition by acquiring the building, but lacking the money required to renovate the theatre, kept it dormant for two decades.[12] In 1963, Mrs. Beatrice Spachner, with the approval of Roosevelt University, created the Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
Council and undertook a campaign to restore and reopen the theatre, raising nearly $3 million to renovate the structure. Architect Harry Weese oversaw the refurbishment[9] of the theatre, and on Oct. 31, 1967, the Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
reopened with a gala performance of the New York City
New York City
Ballet’s[13] production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream". Music, dance, and productions[edit] Beginning in the late 1960s through today, a host of rock and pop performers have played at the theatre, including Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Bette Midler, and ABBA.[14] The venue also began to host more dance companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Bolshoi Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. Broadway musicals with long-running productions at the theatre have included The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, Show Boat, Hello Dolly!, The King and I, and The Who's Tommy. On July 5, 1970, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young performed at the venue, with a portion of the concert recorded for their live double album 4 Way Street. The British progressive rock band Genesis also performed as part of their Selling England by the Pound Tour (April 11, 1974), The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Tour (on April 11 and 12, 1974), A Trick of the Tail Tour (April 16 and 17, 1976) and Wind & Wuthering Tour on (February 15, 16 and 17, 1977) of which the February 16, 1977 concert was also broadcast live on Chicago's WKQX-FM radio station. Present[edit] Today, the Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
continues to maintain and restore the Adler & Sullivan building. Recent innovations include the introduction of the theatre’s first public elevator as well as the Katten/Landau Studio housed in the Roosevelt University
Roosevelt University
Wabash Building. Typically, more than 200 performances and events—ranging from dance and theatre to music, educational programs, and religious services—attract more than a quarter of a million people every year. Under the leadership of CEO Tania Castroverde Moskalenko,[15] the venue presents a wide array of international, national and Chicago-based dance and music programming. The signature program of the Auditorium’s Creative Engagement department is “Hands Together Heart to Art”,[16] a summer camp that utilizes the performing arts of music, theatre and dance to provide healing opportunities for children who have experienced the death of a parent. Winner of State Farm Insurance’s 2009 “Embrace Life” award, the camp helps the children gain self-confidence, learn to express themselves and fosters emotional growth through interaction with other campers and caring adults who have experienced the same loss. On October 2, 2014, it was announced that the 2015 NFL Draft
2015 NFL Draft
would be held at the Auditorium Theatre, making the first selection meeting outside New York City
New York City
in fifty years. The first round of the draft took place there on April 30, 2015. The draft ended after 7 rounds and 256 selections on May 2, 2015. The venue hosted the NFL Draft
NFL Draft
again in 2016. The Auditorium has been the home the Joffrey Ballet
Joffrey Ballet
since 1995.[17] Architecture[edit] The theatre featured many technological advancements for its time, including the display of 3,500 bare carbon filament light bulbs (only publicly seen for the first time in 1879), unrivaled acoustics, air conditioning (which called for the delivery of 15 tons of ice daily), 26 hydraulic lifts that could easily raise and lower sections of the stage, and an expansive 95-foot loft above the stage for flown scenic elements.The Theatre, with 3,901 seats, is the second largest concert hall in the U.S., after the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.[18] Sullivan’s vision for the theatre was to create a space that was democratic, where the best seats were not reserved for the wealthiest patrons.[19] So the box seats were relocated to the sides, with an expansive main floor and generous balconies offering optimal sightlines to the general public. Ornamentation did not glorify a noble figure or mimic baroque palaces but rather featured the artful interpretations of natural elements including flowers and vines, and bucolic murals.[20] The Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
also exemplifies an architectural technique called "compression and expansion". Each patron was required to move through the small, dark entrance way into the theatre. The entrance was "compressed" by low ceilings in a way so that when patrons left the lobby to enter the theater, the impact of "expanding" into the towering six story auditorium, with its grand gilded arches and glittering ceiling, would be all the more dramatic.[21] References[edit]

^ a b Swanson , Stevenson. “ Dankmar Adler
Dankmar Adler
and Louis H. Sullivan's Auditorium”, Chicago
Chicago
Tribune, Retrieved 2014-01-20. ^ Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
[1] at the Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
of Roosevelt University ^ Roberts, Michael J. (September 15, 2013). “The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
Roosevelt University
Celebrates 125th Anniversary During 2014 – 2015 Season” , Showbiz Chicago, Retrieved 2014-02-24. ^ "Dedicated to music and the people". Chicago
Chicago
Tribune. 10 December 1889. Retrieved 12 October 2015.  with artist's sketch of Patti on stage. ^ Flinn, John J. (1893). Chicago
Chicago
the Marvelous City of the West: a History an Enyclopedia and a Guide (2nd ed.). Chicago: National Book and Picture Co. pp. 117–8.  ^ Rydell, Robert W. ‘’World's Columbian Exposition", The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago
Chicago
. Chicago
Chicago
Historical Society. 2005 ^ a b Hughes, Bob (September 29, 1985). “The Dramatic Story Of A Magnificent Chicago
Chicago
Landmark”, Chicago
Chicago
Tribune, Retrieved 2014-02-14. ^ "American Experience - Chicago: City of the Century - Special Features".  ^ a b Pridmore, Jay. The Auditorium Building: A Building Book from the Chicago
Chicago
Architecture Foundation, Pomegranate, 2003, p.5 ^ Rosenberg, Chaim M. America at the Fair: Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition Arcadia Publishing, 2008, p.61 ^ Knox, Janice A. and Heather Olivia Belcher Chicago’s Loop, Arcadia Publishing, 2002, p.56 ^ a b Gross, Theodore L. The Rise of Roosevelt University: Presidential Reflections, SIU Press, 2005, p.136 ^ Kogan, Rick. "Auditorium Theatre's new CEO says that grand venue is her kind of place".  ^ Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2014-02-24.  at the Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
of Roosevelt University ^ "Tania Castroverde Moskalenko has her eye on Auditorium's future".  ^ Batterson, Brett (June 9, 2013). “Brett Batterson on how the performing arts can help heal a child’s grief”, Chicago
Chicago
Sun-Times, Retrieved 2014-01-27. ^ Macaulay, Alastair (February 22, 2008). "In Chicago, the Elusive Genius of Tudor Revisited". New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2017.  ^ Magida, Phyllis (October 31, 1986). “An Inside Look At A Landmark”, Chicago
Chicago
Tribune, Retrieved 2014-02-13. ^ Twombly, Robert C. and contributor Narciso G. Menocal Louis Sullivan: The Poetry of Architecture W. W. Norton & Company, 2000, p.46 ^ Cayton Andrew R.L., Richard Sisson, and Chris Zacher The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia, Indiana University Press, 2006, p.544 ^ Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2014-02-24.  at the Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
of Roosevelt University

External links[edit]

Official website Warnecke, Lauren. "'Golden Celebration of Dance' celebrates Auditorium Theatre's 50th — and echoes a big night in 1967". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2017-11-08.  Genesis Wind & Wuthering Tour Live at the Auditorium Theatre
Auditorium Theatre
on YouTube

Preceded by Radio City Music Hall Venues of the NFL Draft 2015 and 2016 Succeeded by Philadelphia City Hall

v t e

Louis Sullivan

Adler & Sullivan works

Martin Ryerson Tomb
Martin Ryerson Tomb
(1897) Auditorium Building, Chicago
Chicago
(1889)

Auditorium Theatre

Carrie Eliza Getty Tomb
Carrie Eliza Getty Tomb
(1890) Wainwright Building
Wainwright Building
(1890) Wainwright Tomb
Wainwright Tomb
(1892) Bellefontaine Cemetery
Bellefontaine Cemetery
(1892) Prudential (Guaranty) Building
Prudential (Guaranty) Building
(1894) Chicago
Chicago
Stock Exchange Building (1894) Bayard–Condict Building
Bayard–Condict Building
(1899) Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building
Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building
(1899)

Sullivan works

Bradley House (1909) Charnley House (1892) Pilgrim Baptist Church
Pilgrim Baptist Church
(1890) Farmers and Merchants Union Bank (1919) Gage Group Buildings
Gage Group Buildings
(1898) Halsted House (1883) Adams Building (1913) Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral (1903) Home Building Association Bank (1914) Jewelers Building (1882) Krause Music Store
Krause Music Store
(1922) McVicker's Theater
McVicker's Theater
(1891) Merchants' National Bank
Merchants' National Bank
(1914) National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna (1908) People's Federal Savings and Loan Association
People's Federal Savings and Loan Association
(1917) Peoples Savings Bank
Peoples Savings Bank
(1911) Purdue State Bank
Purdue State Bank
(1914) St. Paul United Methodist Church (1914) Van Allen Building
Van Allen Building
(1913)

Lost buildings

New Orleans Union Station
New Orleans Union Station
(1892–1954) Dooly Block (1891–1965) Louis Sullivan
Louis Sullivan
Bungalow (1890s–2005) Garrick Theater (1891–1961, A&S) Pilgrim Baptist Church
Pilgrim Baptist Church
(1891–2006, A&S) Dexter Building
Dexter Building
(1887–2006, A&S)

Affiliations

Adler & Sullivan Dankmar Adler

Other

Prairie School Tall: The American Skyscraper and Louis Sullivan "Form follows function"

Commons Wikiquote

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Chicago
Chicago
area theaters

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Loop

Auditorium Theatre Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place Cadillac Palace Theatre Chicago
Chicago
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Chicago
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Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace First Folio Marriott Theatre

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United Artists Theatre Chicago
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Opera House Garrick Theater Iroquois Theatre Woods Theatre

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Music

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Former

Central Music Hall Chicago
Chicago
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List of festivals in Chicago

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