Ford Center for Performing Arts
Ford Center for Performing Arts Events
Ford Center for Performing Arts Information
7:30 pm - 11:00 pm,
When to Go:
Evening performances and shows.
Lake (Red Line), State/lake (Brown Line, Green Line, Orange Line, Pink Line, Purple Line) Washington-Blue (Blue Line)
- Decked out in lavish Orient-inspired decor, the Ford Center for Performing Arts opened in 1926 under the name The Oriental Theater.
- Up until the 1970's the Oriental Theater would show feature films, but now limits its entertainment to live-stage musical performances.
- In 1997, the theater was renamed the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.
- The Ford Center for Performing Arts is on the Federal National Registry of Historic Places list.
24 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
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*Some images shown above are not actual photos from the attraction, but category representations. Visit the attraction's web site for actual photos.
Ford Center for Performing Arts
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Top Musical Performances at this Chicago Theater.
Features: 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. 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, and later Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Little Richard.
Check the Broadway in Chicago website for upcoming performances.
Why We Go: Located in the heart of the Chicago Theater District, the Ford Performing Arts Center has been a popular fixture for more than 80 years. The lavish decor, ornate architecture, and stellar musical performances make a night at the Oriental Theater one to remember.
- Fabulous Entertainment: Over the years, the Ford Center for Performing Arts has seen a variety of amazing performances on its stage, including Billy Elliott, Wicked, and Beauty and the Beast.
- Great Seats: The plush velvet seats at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts offer unobstructed stage views.
Inside Knowledge: After becoming rundown and derelict, the Ford Performing Arts Center was closed in 1981. There were plans to demolish the iconic theater and build a two-storey shopping mall instead, but the iconic theater was restored to its former glory in the mid-90's. Reopened in 1998 after almost 20 years, the Ford Center for the Performing Arts has been a staple of the Chicago Theater District ever since.
Do's and Don'ts:
- Do Book Ahead: Make sure to snag tickets early for a show at the Oriental Theater, as tickets have been known to sell out ahead of time.
- Do Take a Tour: Every Saturday, the public can take a tour of the Ford Center Performing Arts theater as well as two other top Chicago theaters. The tour highlights the fascinating decor, costumes, and technology that make this Chicago theater so unique.
- Don't Forget to Bring the Kids: The theater isn't just for adults! The Ford Center for the Performing Arts offers a variety of kid-friendly entertainment, including the popular musical, Beauty and the Beast,
- Don't Forget to Admire the Decor: The Gothic Revival architecture is one of the main features of the Oriental Theater. A beautiful palate of rich colors and ornate carvings are almost as eye catching as the performances.