Chicago Cinemas and Theaters

by Tonya Whitaker
Chicago is home to several established cinemas and theaters.

Chicago is home to several established cinemas and theaters.

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Chicago is home to dozens of cinemas and theaters. Venues vary greatly and meet the discretionary tastes of visitors and residents. If someone in the mood for a good flick, one can find a screen showing your movie throughout the Windy City. For those who want to see a a stage play, Chicago's entertainment scene meets those needs, too.

Apollo Theater

The Apollo Theater has a long history in Chicago. The Apollo (, on North Lincoln Avenue., is home to two stages. The main stage is where most of its acclaimed shows, such as "The Vagina Monologues," were performed. In 2005, the Apollo Studio opened. The studio, which seats 50, is a venue for comedy, sketch and upstart companies. Since 2006, it has been home to the Emerald City Theatre Company, Chicago's largest children's theater.

Profiles Theatre

The Profiles Theatre ( was founded in 1988 by five alumni of Eastern Illinois University. Located on North Broadway, Profiles is Chicago's longest-running storefront theaters. Profiles Theatre's primary goal is to showcase new and established playwrights. Enrichment training for playwrights also is held at the theater. The Profile Theatre only sits 50, but it provides the viewers with a more intimate theater experience.

Music Box Theatre

The Music Box ( is billed as the premier cinema for independent and foreign films in Chicago and has been for the past two decades. The venue was constructed in 1929 and has grown from a one-screen foreign film theater to a two-screen, cinema-style theater that plays independent and foreign films. The theater is also rumored to be occupied by a ghost named Whitey. According to the Music Box website, Whitey served as the manager of the theater for 48 years, from 1929 to 1977.

Gene Siskel Film Center

The Gene Siskel Film Center ( is a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The center was constructed in 1970 and continues to play world-class independent, international and classic movies. The Film Center is named after the late film critic Gene Siskel, who was legendary in the Chicago film community. The center also screens independent student films from the school.

The Second City

Touted as the world's premiere comedy theater and school of improvisation, The Second City ( is the place to go in Chicago. Some of the most well-known comedians -- including Tina Fey, John Belushi, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell and Bill Murray -- all got their comedic starts on location of The Second City Chicago stages. The main stage and the E.T.C. stages are where the shows are performed. On both stages, audiences are treated to shows that deal with local, national and international issues through satire. But, for those interested in a more intimate viewing experience, E.T.C. is ideal because it is smaller than the main stage.

Navy Pier IMAX Theatre

Chicago has movie theaters, but the Navy Pier IMAX Theatre ( is a destination. Chicago residents and visitors can get a taste of Lake Michigan and catch the latest movie releases enhanced in IMAX and 3D. The Navy Pier is a specially designed theater with the capability to deliver the ultimate movie-viewing experience. The theater is home to 18-story screens and a sound system that provides exacting sound quality.

About the Author

Tonya Whitaker has worked as a professional journalist and copy editor since 1998. She has written columns and features for "The Huntsville Item" and "North Dallas Gazette." Whitaker earned a Bachelor of Science in sociology from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and is pursuing a Master of Arts in English from Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas.

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