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Established in 1921 during the pinnacle of entertainment in the United States, the Chicago Theatre is the pioneering leisure and recreation center of its kind and inspired the creation of other theatres in America. It is the first really upscale theatre ever made costing around $4 million during that time.

Famously called the ?Wonder Theatre of the World?, it was one of the early theatres built in French Baroque architecture and is the oldest surviving building of its kind in Chicago. The building is seven-floor tall and occupies nearly half of a city block. The structural elements are does not fall short of being ornate and lavish which makes the theatre an unparalleled city landmark. The 18-meter arch on its State Street frontage is designed after the acclaimed Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the coat of arms of the founder of the theatre ? Balaban and Katz ? is encased in an elaborate Tiffany stained glass. Chicago Theatre?s exterior is cladded in off-white terracotta panels with Neo-Baroque embellishments.

The opulence of the Chicago Theatre continues to its interior inspired by the second French empire. Guests are welcomed with a rich and extravagant lobby modeled after the Royal Chapel of Versailles. The grand lobby alone is five-stories and is planked by gallery promenades at its mezzanine and balcony floors. A magnificent staircase mimicking the one in the Paris Opera House leads spectators to its numerous balconies found in the theatre. Completing the lavish look are luxurious drapes, grand furniture and expertly made chandeliers and bronze lighting elements.

The Chicago Theatre temporarily closed in 1985 due to the decline in the popularity of live entertainment, but was restored and reopened in 1986. Today, it can accommodate 3,600 people and is a famous venue for different performances from pop artists to cultural groups. Chicago Theatre?s marque (a Y-shaped icon representing the fork of the Chicago River) remains to be a long-standing representation of the city of Chicago.

The Chicago Theatre designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1979 and a Chicago Landmark in 1983.
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