The Uptown Community Portrait 2005

Uptown Theatre Press Release

“Uptown Community Portrait 2005” set for Saturday, Aug. 20
Neighbors and fans to reprise famous 1925 and 2000 scenes

CHICAGO—Uptown neighbors and fans of the Uptown entertainment district are encouraged to help make history by posing for a classic photograph in front of the neighborhood’s namesake historic theater at noon Saturday, Aug. 20, at Broadway and Lawrence.

Plasterwork detail inside the Uptown Theatre

Plasterwork detail inside the Uptown Theatre, Chicago.
Image copyright © Steve Duncan.

Marc Smith, internationally acclaimed poet and creator of the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, will emcee the event. Quest Theatre Ensemble will entertain with a “Wizard of Oz” spectacle of costumed actors from its current production at Klasen Hall in Edgewater.

The free, rain-or-shine “Uptown Community Portrait 2005” event celebrates the community and the 80th anniversary of the historic Uptown Theatre, 4816 N. Broadway. The theater has been closed since 1981 and is in serious need of significant private investment for it to be renovated as an entertainment venue.

While exterior repair work is ongoing and development prospects continue to express interest in renovating the Uptown Theatre, no definitive project or plan for the privately owned building has been announced. A court-appointed receiver and local officials continue to monitor its condition and marketing. 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. However, the search for a viable entertainment prospect continues.

The goal of the “Uptown Community Portrait 2005” is to create a high-quality color photograph of the event, duplicating historical views of the theater’s opening day in 1925 and the “Uptown Community Portrait 2000.” More than 300 neighbors and fans turned out for the event in 2000. Sponsored by the Uptown Chicago Commission, the Uptown Community Development Corporation and Friends of the Uptown, the community portrait is used in many publications and advertisements to represent the people and buildings of the now-ascendant district. Noted Chicago architectural photographer Bob Nick will capture the picture from a perch on a scaffold across the street from the theater.

A similar photo was taken on opening day in August 1925, when crowds waited in lines around the block for the Uptown Theatre’s first presentations, which included the silent film The Lady Who Lied. Likewise, enthusiasm for the neighborhood and the theatre was captured in the “Uptown Community Portrait 2000.” Prints of the 1925 and 2000 photographs are available for ordering. Prints of the “Uptown Community Portrait 2005” will be available for purchase and delivered by mail soon after the event.

Historical, 1925 vintage views of the interior and exterior of the Uptown Theatre are available from Theatre Historical Society of America, Elmhurst, Ill. Call (630) 782-1800, or view the Web site, to learn more about this organization, archive, and museum.

Fans of the Uptown Theatre may show their support for the concept of renovating the building for an entertainment use by signing an ongoing, related online petition posted at More than 800* signatures have been collected.

For more information about the “Uptown Community Portrait 2005,” please send an e-mail to Friends of the Uptown via, call (773) 250-7665, or view the Web site,

*As of February 1st, 2007, there are more than 1500 online and 800 hand-written signatures in support of the theatre!

Cultural Crossroads
About Us
Now Available
Upcoming Releases
Contact Us
Cultural Resources
Folklore, Fairy Tales, & Myths
Uptown Chicago Resources
Table of Contents
About This Collection
Submit Your Photos and Stories
Uptown Theatre
Uptown Community Portrait 2005
Read Petition
Sign Petition
Compass Rose Cultural Crossroads