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Riviera Theatre

Address

4746 N. Racine Ave.

Neighborhood

Uptown

Hours

Sat, Oct 15: 10am - 2pm

Sun, Oct 16: Closed

Photography Permitted Washrooms Available

Exterior

unknown

Interior & completion

Rapp & Rapp, 1918

Description

The Riviera Theatre was the largest and most ornate of Uptown's movie theaters until the opening of the Uptown Theatre almost a decade later. Opened in 1918 at a cost of well over half a million dollars, this Rapp & Rapp-designed house originally seated over 2,500 and its building also featured eight storefronts and over 30 apartments. The Riviera ended up becoming the second major theater of the Balaban & Katz circuit, which at the time also included the Central Park Theatre. Featuring movies accompanied by an orchestra, the Riviera also presented “high class” musical acts onstage. The theater mainly catered to the upper-middle class residents of the Uptown area, especially women. The Riviera remained one of the neighborhood’s most popular movie houses for decades. In 1975, Jam Productions began its long relationship with the Riviera by presenting Supertramp as its inaugural concert at this historic venue. Tom Petty, Billy Joel, Adele, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Roxy Music, David Byrne, the B-52s and many other superstars have graced the Riv's stage.

Visitor Experience

Visitors can view some Rapp & Rapp historical gems that were uncovered during the theater's recent facelift, including the original windows above the entry doors and at the back of auditorium, original wall stencils and original terrazzo stairs and auditorium entry signs.