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Chicago Theatre

Photo credit: Alan Brunettin
Architectural dramatists Rapp & Rapp created a fitting place for Hollywood to meet Middle America Photo credit: Alan Brunettin
Photo credit: Bill Richert
Going for French Baroque. Photo credit: Bill Richert

As the flagship of the famed Balaban & Katz “movie palace” chain, the 3,880-seat Chicago Theatre, built in 1921, set the bar high for architectural drama.

It was the first structure built in what would become Rapp & Rapp’s signature style for Balaban & Katz, a French Baroque approach that took its cues for interior décor from no less than the Palace of Versailles. The street facade is known for its heroic terra-cotta arch — a visual metaphor for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris — and of course, the “CHICAGO” marquee.

Today, the Chicago Theatre is owned by Madison Square Garden, Inc. and hosts national music and performing acts.