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Oriental Theatre

24 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL, USA
Seats (approximate): 2249

As one of the first motion picture palaces whose décor was inspired by the Far East, Chicago's Oriental Theatre opened to much fanfare on May 8, 1926. Also, designed by George L. and Cornelius W. Rapp for theater managers Balaban and Katz, the theatre, a virtual museum of Asian art, presented popular first-run motion pictures, complemented by lavish stage shows. Turbaned ushers led patrons from the lobby, with polychrome figures and large mosaics of an Indian prince and princess, through an inner foyer with elephant-throne chairs and multicolored glazed Buddhas, to the auditorium's "hasheesh-dream décor." Among the many stars that played the theatre are Paul Ash (billed as "the Rajah of Jazz"), The Three Stooges, Judy Garland, Al Jolson, Stepin Fetchit, Sophie Tucker, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Fanny Brice, Danny Kaye and Alice Faye. During a record-breaking week in 1930, as many as 124,985 patrons visited the Oriental to see the hit film "Flight." Although management changed hands several times in the subsequent decades, the theatre continued to feature films until the early 1970s, at which time the M&R Amusement Company briefly presented live performances by such artists as Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Little Richard. Soon the theater fell into disrepair. In an effort to preserve the theatre, it was added to the Federal National Registry of Historic Places in 1978, but the building continued to crumble. The theatre was closed to the public in 1981, and the site was considered for a two-story, 50,000 square-foot shopping mall and a 1,600 seat cinema. In 1996, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced that the Oriental would be restored to its original grandeur for the presentation of live stage musicals by Livent, Inc. Renamed Ford Center for the Performing Arts in 1997, the restoration of the theatre was completed in October 1998, at which time it was opened with the Chicago premiere of "Ragtime." The venue was acquired by SFX Theatrical Group in 1999, and its production of "Fosse" debuted at the Ford Center before embarking on a national tour. The list of hits goes on including the pre-Broadway of "Blast" in 2000, as well as the world premiere of "Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz" in January 2003.


Productions Production Dates
Wicked - Munchkinland
Musical, Original
Music by Stephen Schwartz; Book by Winnie Holzman; Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Dec 06, 2017 - Jan 21, 2018
An American in Paris
Musical, Original
Jul 25, 2017 - Aug 13, 2017
Something Rotten!
Musical, Original, Comedy
Jul 11, 2017 - Jul 23, 2017
The King and I
Musical, Revival, Comedy,Drama
Jun 13, 2017 - Jul 09, 2017
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Musical, Original
Music by Stephen Trask; Book by John Cameron Mitchell; Lyrics by Stephen Trask
Mar 07, 2017 - Mar 19, 2017
The Illusionists
Special, Original, Magic
Music by Evan Jolly
Feb 21, 2017 - Feb 26, 2017
The Bodyguard
Musical, Original
Jan 31, 2017 - Feb 12, 2017
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Play, Original
Music by Adrian Sutton; Written by Simon Stephens
Dec 06, 2016 - Dec 24, 2016
Fun Home
Musical, Original
Music by Jeanine Tesori; Book by Lisa Kron; Lyrics by Lisa Kron
Nov 02, 2016 - Nov 13, 2016
Kinky Boots
Musical, Original
Music by Cyndi Lauper; Book by Harvey Fierstein; Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper
Aug 30, 2016 - Sep 04, 2016
Matilda The Musical
Musical, Original
Music by Tim Minchin; Book by Dennis Kelly; Lyrics by Tim Minchin
Mar 22, 2016 - Apr 10, 2016
If/Then
Musical, Original
Music by Tom Kitt; Book by Brian Yorkey; Lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Feb 23, 2016 - Mar 06, 2016
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
Musical, Original
Dec 01, 2015 - Feb 21, 2016
Newsies The Musical
Musical, Original, Comedy
Music by Alan Menken; Book by Harvey Fierstein; Lyrics by Jack Feldman
Dec 10, 2014 - Jan 04, 2015
Motown The Musical
Musical, Original, Drama
Apr 22, 2014 - Aug 10, 2014
Wicked - Emerald City
Musical, Original
Music by Stephen Schwartz; Book by Winnie Holzman; Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Oct 29, 2013 - Dec 22, 2013
Once
Musical, Original, Romance
Oct 09, 2013 - Oct 27, 2013
Evita - 2013
Musical, Revival, Drama
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; Lyrics by Tim Rice
Sep 17, 2013 - Oct 06, 2013
Fela!
Musical, Original
Additional music by Aaron Johnson, Jordan McLean; Music by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti; Book by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis; Additional lyrics by Jim Lewis; Lyrics by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
Mar 27, 2012 - Apr 15, 2012
American Idiot
Musical, Original
Feb 07, 2012 - Feb 19, 2012
Mamma Mia! - Second National
Musical, Original, Comedy
Jan 24, 2012 - Jan 29, 2012
Chicago
Musical, Revival, Comedy
Music by John Kander; Book by Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb; Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Jun 07, 2011 - Jun 12, 2011
Hair
Musical, Revival, Fantasy
Mar 15, 2011 - Mar 20, 2011
Hair
Musical, Revival, Fantasy
Mar 08, 2011 - Mar 13, 2011
Billy Elliot The Musical
Musical, Original
Music by Elton John; Book by Lee Hall; Lyrics by Lee Hall
Mar 18, 2010 - Nov 28, 2010
Fiddler On The Roof
Musical, Revival, Comedy,Drama
Music by Jerry Bock; Book by Joseph Stein; Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Jun 09, 2009 - Jun 28, 2009
Legally Blonde
Musical, Original, Comedy
Music by Laurence O'Keefe, Nell Benjamin; Book by Heather Hach; Based upon the film by MGM; Lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe, Nell Benjamin
May 12, 2009 - Jun 07, 2009
A Chorus Line
Musical, Revival, Drama
Apr 14, 2009 - May 03, 2009
Rent - Mark
Musical, Original, Drama
Music by Jonathan Larson; Book by Jonathan Larson; Lyrics by Jonathan Larson
Mar 31, 2009 - Apr 12, 2009
A Bronx Tale
Play, Original, Solo
Original music by John Gromada; Written by Chazz Palminteri
Mar 10, 2009 - Mar 22, 2009
Chicago
Musical, Revival, Comedy
Music by John Kander; Book by Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb; Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Feb 24, 2009 - Mar 08, 2009
Wicked - Emerald City
Musical, Original
Music by Stephen Schwartz; Book by Winnie Holzman; Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Apr 29, 2005 - Jun 12, 2005
Mamma Mia! - Second National
Musical, Original, Comedy
Nov 23, 2004 - Dec 26, 2004
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Musical, Original, Comedy
New Music by Jeanine Tesori; Book by Dick Scanlan, Richard Morris; New Lyrics by Dick Scanlan
Feb 17, 2004 - Feb 29, 2004
Hairspray
Musical, Original, Comedy
Dec 16, 2003 - Feb 15, 2004
The Producers - Leo
Musical, Original, Comedy
Music by Mel Brooks; Book by Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan; Lyrics by Mel Brooks
Oct 14, 2003 - Nov 30, 2003
Mamma Mia! - First National
Musical, Original, Comedy
Jul 22, 2003 - Sep 28, 2003
42nd Street
Musical, Original, Comedy
Music by Harry Warren; Book by Mark Bramble, Michael Stewart; Lyrics by Al Dubin
Nov 19, 2002 - Dec 08, 2002
Fiddler On The Roof
Musical, Revival, Comedy,Drama
Music by Jerry Bock; Book by Joseph Stein; Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
May 07, 2002 - May 19, 2002
Contact
Musical, Original, Dance
Written by John Weidman
Apr 09, 2002 - May 05, 2002
Kiss Me, Kate
Musical, Revival, Comedy
Music by Cole Porter; Book by Bella Spewack, Sam Spewack; Lyrics by Cole Porter
Mar 26, 2002 - Apr 07, 2002
Guys and Dolls
Musical, Revival, Comedy
Music by Frank Loesser; Book by Abe Burrows, Jo Swerling; Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Dec 04, 2001 - Dec 16, 2001
Fosse
Musical, Original, Revue, Dance
Jul 17, 2001 - Jul 29, 2001
The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas
Musical, Revival, Comedy
Music by Carol Hall; Book by Larry L. King, Peter Masterson; Lyrics by Carol Hall
Apr 24, 2001 - May 06, 2001
Swing!
Musical, Original, Dance, Revue
Apr 10, 2001 - Apr 22, 2001
Saturday Night Fever
Musical, Original
Mar 03, 2001 - Mar 25, 2001
Cinderella
Musical, Original
Jan 16, 2001 - Jan 28, 2001
Fosse
Musical, Original, Revue, Dance
Sep 14, 1999 - Jan 09, 2000