The Congress Theater--whether in session or in recess--puts on a great show

September 16, 2011

These are precarious times for old Chicago theaters. The New Regal Theater on east 79th is in foreclosure; dedicated volunteers are fighting to get a new use for Bridgeport's Ramova Theater.

And the Uptown has been closed 30 years of its 86-year existence. Ah, but there is the Congress Theater, quietly chugging along at 2135 N. Milwaukee, booking an assortment of live acts from Bone Thugs N Harmony a couple of years ago to Erasure this month. And of course, there is the architecture of the former 1926 movie palace which puts on a show all by itself:

Designed by architects Fridstein & Company, the theater is a designated Chicago landmark. And if you look closely, you can spot all kinds of gilded details in its facade. One of the nicest design features is the way the building seamlessly transitions to an apartment house on its northern side with the help of a faux exterior wall that knits the facade of the residences and the theater together. Good show, indeed.