Both a bold marriage of visual art and music and a tag-team of architectural ingenuity and sonic technology, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park straddles Chicago’s ‘front lawn’ with an artistic swagger that never overwhelms its plush green lawns. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the pavilion’s brushed stainless steel ribbons blossom into a 120-foot-high backdrop that mirrors a metal flower spreading its tendrils into the sky, or, as a New York Times writer likened it to, “a celestial gateway to another universe.” As writers from Time Magazine to USA Today have marveled at it’s sleek design, so too have many come forth to praise the Jay Pritzker Pavilion for its state-of-the-art acoustics. Wynne Delacoma, the classical music critic for the Chicago Sun Times, proclaimed that the outdoor venue “sounds as good as it looks.” Wynne went on to declare that its LARES sound system—notable for its suspended speakers that distribute sound to the far reaches of the venue while never obstructing the audience’s visual field—produces “that same warm, enveloping sound,” of an indoor theater. All of this, of course, is in service of its docket of diverse musical acts. National headliners such as Wilco and Tori Amos have entertained throngs of fans here, while the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has taken residency upon its vaunted stage, once even backed by then-senator and future president Barack Obama. A total of 11,000 music-loving fans can take in a show—4,000 in fixed seats and another 7,000 sprawled out on the ‘great lawn’—absorbing each note from beneath an intricately woven quilt of trellised pipes equipped with speakers that deliver front-row-clarity to every seat in the house. Flanked to the east by Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan, and to the west by the illuminated high-rises of Michigan Avenue and beyond, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion is a perfect place to spend an outdoor evening enchanted by the sounds of classical music.
The beaming vertical letters of "C-H-I-C-A-G-O" ascend six stories high on a sign that seems to be the establishing shot for any movie set in the Windy City. Tourists and natives often stand outside snapping pictures of the marvelous marquee, where the biggest names in music, theatre, and comedy are writ large under a miniature replica of Paris's Arc de Triomphe. The Parisian aesthetic continues inside The Chicago Theatre?s grand lobby, which recalls the Royal Chapel at Versailles with its gallery promenades. The staircase ascending to the Grand Balcony resembles that of the Paris Opera House, rounding out a French Baroque architecture that would cause Louis XIV to do a spit-take. Inside the seven-story-high, 3,600 seat auditorium, terra-cotta tiles, crystal chandeliers, and luxurious drapes give audiences visual overtures before every show.
As vital to Chicago as hot dogs and mustard fire hoses, The Chicago Theatre was America's first munificent movie palace upon its 1921 unveiling, where it was declared "The Wonder Theatre of the World." Beyond its silver screenings, the theatre became a beacon for live entertainment, as artists such as John Phillip Sousa, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman filled its first 40 years with oompah and swing. After a multi-million dollar restoration in 1986, the landmark venue remains the heart of art in the city, attracting the world's most popular entertainers to its stage almost every evening of the year.
The Murder Mystery Company sends temporary detectives down trails filled with clues, laughs, and imaginary murther most foul. During each crime-riddled event, participants work together to solve a perplexing homicide, combining their interrogative skills, keen eyes, and collections of fake mustaches to crack the case and apprehend the culprit. To further set the scene, The Murder Mystery Company encourages investigators to don costumes according to detailed themes, which range from the gangster-run speakeasies of the nineteen-twenties to the totally boss parties of the nineteen-eighties. The company's troupe of actors tailors the show to a wide range of functions, including team-building exercises, private get-togethers, and children's parties, but definitely excluding any of Professor Plum’s candlestick-filled dinner parties.
The Riviera Theatre has been a major part of Chicago since 1917. In that year, the Riviera was built – in what is now the Uptown theater district – as a movie theater. In 1986, the Riviera was converted into a nightclub and later morphed into what is now Chicago’s most well-known venue for concerts and special events. A brief look at their history and you’ll see that the Riviera has played host to the world’s most famous performers and has no intention of letting that reputation slide. The Riviera Theatre is also available for special-event rentals such as rock concerts, corporate parties, proms, and much more. Be sure to visit their website to find out about upcoming concerts, events, and other activities. Make the Riviera Theatre your place to go for all things entertainment related.
The Copernicus Center is one of the hippest, most modern musical meccas in all of Chicago. Formerly a movie palace, the Copernicus Center was renovated in 1981 to cater to the performing artists of the city. Some of the more notable events that happen here include comedic impersonations of famous celebrities including Elvis, Polka Band performances, and the annual Taste of Polonia festival, where a $7 adult ticket gives you access to ethnic food from all over the globe, access to a bouncy house, and prize games from as little as $5 per month. This fantastical event takes place in late August of every year, and features live musical performances from some of the biggest local names in music.
Looking for dinner and live show in Chicago? You'll find it at Mayne Stage in historic Rogers Park. What began as a vaudeville / movie house in 1912 now offers 230-seats of entertainment possibilities thanks to a multi-million dollar renovation. Catch musical acts, plays, comedians, dance troops… you name it. It's not only live performances at Mayne Stage though (or its onsite restaurant simply called The Pub). You can rent the space for your personal events like video shoots, educational performances, corporate events, reunions, receptions and fundraisers… just to name a few opportunities. If you’re seeking a vaudeville flare for the 21st Century, Mayne Stage is the place to be.