Uptown Theatre News


Uptown Theatre News — November 11, 2005

Michael Bisberg and John Pappas.

Michael Bisberg and John Pappas. Image courtesy CRCC collection.

Uptown Theatre Documentary Coming Soon!

John Pappas and Michael Bisberg of Northwestern University are working on a documentary chronicling the history of the Uptown Theatre and the current efforts to preserve and protect this important landmark. Filled with great interviews and amazing interior shots, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser! We plan to host a free downloadable excerpt of this film when it becomes available.

Balaban and Katz Historical Foundation

The Balaban and Katz Historical Foundation recently launched its Web site celebrating the history of the world-famous Balaban and Katz chain of theatres.

David Balaban, director of the foundation, has written a book entitled The Chicago Movie Palaces of Balaban and Katz. Featuring the Uptown Theatre on the cover and a foreword by theatre historian Joseph Ducibella, the book will be available in early 2006. You may pre-order it now. Be the first on the block to read this exciting new book!

The ABCs of “What is going on with the Uptown”

Reprinted with permission from the Uptown Adviser newsletter published by Friends of the Uptown.

The current status of the Uptown Theatre is, in brief:

The Uptown Theatre in early 2005, prior to graffiti removal and stabilization work.

The Uptown Theatre in early 2005, prior to graffiti removal and stabilization work. Image courtesy CRCC collection.

Uptown Theatre in October, 2005. The graffiti has been removed and the exterior terra-cotta is safely stored away.

Uptown Theatre in October, 2005. The graffiti has been removed and the exterior terra-cotta is safely stored away. Image courtesy CRCC collection.

  • A. The work, fences, scaffolding, and barricades that you see today are part of the continuing exterior stabilization effort. In order to begin remedying the building’s deferred maintenance, many bricks and pieces of ornamental terra-cotta must be removed and stored for safekeeping. Where parts of the building’s facade are removed, the area is strapped and bagged to hold it in place—and covered to weatherproof it.
  • B. The work is being done by an engineering firm and a masonry contractor. The project is being overseen by local officials, a circuit court judge and the court-appointed receiver.
  • C. The privately owned Uptown Theatre building remains closed, vacant, secure, [staffed], and in serious need of significant private investment for it to be renovated as an entertainment venue. No definitive plan or project for the building has been announced. The search for a viable entertainment prospect continues. Several state and local incentives are available—including city tax-increment financing—for a feasible plan that meets civic criteria and expectations for the multi-venued Uptown Square National Register Historic District.

Serious inquiries (only) should be directed to local officials, including Alderman Smith, the city planning department, and UPCORP.


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