Chicago is the home of so many stunning theaters, where you can find not only the latest off-Broadway shows, concerts, and groundbreaking plays, but also surround yourself with history and architectural splendor. From the showstopping Chicago Theatre on State Street to the Art Deco magnificence of the Lyric Opera's Civic Opera House, here's your chance to go behind the scenes and learn the secrets of Chicago's most beautiful theaters.
Lyric Opera at the Civic Opera House
Founded in Chicago in 1954, with a premier season that introduced the U.S. to Maria Callas, the Lyric Opera of Chicago is today one of the leading opera companies in the world. Housed in the historic Civic Opera House, the second-largest opera auditorium in North America States and an Art Deco gem, the Lyric Opera has welcomed such greats as Rudolph Nureyev, Luciano Pavarotti, and Plácido Domingo to its stage.
Now it's your turn to journey into the heart of the Lyric Opera by heading behind the scenes on a rare, premier backstage tour. The 2 hour and 30 minute, 10-stop walking tour is guided by professional staff and trained volunteers, so expect it to be peppered with interesting discussion and demonstrations by experts in various staging areas. Tour participants see the inside of the Art-Deco/Art Nouveau Ardis Krainik Theatre before enjoying an up-close-and-personal view of the orchestra pit. The tour then journeys backstage through the orchestra pit to destinations including beneath the stage, the wardrobe department, the wigs and makeup department, scenery handling area behind the Ken Pigott Stage, and a 6th floor catwalk.
Premier backstage tours will only be offered two more times this year: March 6 and March 12. In addition to the tour, you'll also receive a professional commemorative picture of you (and your guests) taken on stage, seated lunch in the Graham Room, Lyric's private dining room, and a special Lyric gift. Click here for more information or to book your backstage tour.
James M. Nederlander Theatre, Cadillac Palace and The PrivateBank Theatre
Every Saturday at 11 am, Broadway In Chicago offers a public tour of three of Chicago's most spectacular, historic theaters: the Nederlander Theatre, the Cadillac Palace and The PrivateBank Theatre. The elegant Nederlander Theatre, built in 1926, was inspired by the architecture of India, and features fantastical elephants, griffins, and peacocks as well as opulent gold detailing throughout, while the Cadillac Palace, also built in 1926, was inspired by both the Palaces of Fontainebleau and Versailles. The PrivateBank Theatre, built in 1906 as the Majestic Theatre, was originally a popular vaudeville theater. Learn more about the fascinating secrets behind the scenes at these gorgeous theaters. Reserve your tickets at ticketmaster.com.
The Chicago Theatre
With its six-story high "C-H-I-C-A-G-O" sign and iconic marquee shining brightly State Street "that great street," the landmark Chicago Theatre still stands as one of Chicago's best - and certainly most beautiful - entertainment venues. Dubbed "the Wonder Theatre of the World" when it opened on October 26, 1921, it was the first large, lavish movie palace in the U.S. The theater debuted on October 26, 1921 with "The Sign on the Door", a silent drama starring starring Norma Talmadge and Lew Cody. Admission was just 25 cents until 1 pm, 35 cents in the afternoon and 50 cents after 6 pm, and 125 ushers welcomed guests to the chic theater, giving guest a taste of Hollywood opulence.
Behind-the-scenes tours will give you a closer look at the beautiful French-Baroque interiors as well as a peek at the autographed, backstage walls, where you'll find the signatures of such unforgettable stars as Frank Sinatra, Roy Orbison, and Liza Minelli. You'll also have chance to stand on the stage where show biz greats once danced and sang their hearts out, and where many of the top movies in cinema history where screened in Chicago for the very first time. Tours are offered daily at noon. For more info and tickets, visit thechicagotheatre.com/tour.html.