The Oriental Theatre, a motion picture palace with décor inspired by the Far East, opened to much fanfare in 1926. Designed by George L. and Cornelius W. Rapp for theater managers Balaban & Katz, the theater, a virtual museum of Asian art, presented popular first-run motion pictures complemented by lavish stage shows. Like the other great Loop theaters, it went through a period of decline despite being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Fortunately, restoration of the theater was completed in October 1998, at which time it re-opened with the Chicago premiere of Ragtime. The Oriental Theatre has since staged a long list of premieres and traveling hits, including the record-breaking run of Wicked from 2005-09, the national tour of Motown in 2014, and the pre-Broadway world premiere of On Your Feet! in 2015.
Get a rare chance to explore this stunning theater—usually only open to the public during performances.