Chicago is filled with storied of haunted places and haunted theaters. From tiny black boxes to lavish, large scale venues, stories are told of strange occurrences. The old Iroquois, Biograph and Music Box Theaters all have chilling stories, both real life and supernatural. I am sure that there are folks out there with spooky tales to tell about Chicago’s decaying Uptown Theater. But more so than hauntED, this enchanting old movie palace proves to be hauntING to so many who have fought tirelessly to preserve it.
Closed to the general public since 1981, this architectural and historic landmark has inspired the imagination and passion of scores of people who have never even been inside. I first saw images of its ornate and crumbling interior when my dear friend, photographer and historic preservationist Debbie Dodge, shared them with me after gaining access to the inside a few years back. It was love at first sight.
The images evoked and Ivan Albright decay on top of an opulent extravagance. That is to say, a quintessential Chicago feeling. Debbie had the opportunity to go back to the Uptown Theater with the new owner last week and her latest series of evocative images struck me as a beguiling gift during this haunting season and a lovely tribute to this haunting theater.
Chicago Stage Review is honored to be the first to share this brief but beautiful photo essay with you.