Cadillac Palace Theatre

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Cadillac Palace Theatre
Cadillac Palace Theatre.jpg
Main entrance of venue, c. 2005
Former names New Palace Theatre (1926-31)
RKO Palace Theatre (1931-53)
Eitel's Palace Theatre (1953-72)
Bismarck Theatre (1984-99)
Address 151 W Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601-3108
Location Chicago Loop
Owner Van Kampen Family
Operator Nederlander Organization
Capacity 2,344
Opened October 4, 1926 (1926-10-04)
Renovated 1972, 1984, 1999
Closed 1972-84
Construction cost $12 million
($172 million in 2016 dollars[1])
$20 million (1999 renovations)
($29.4 million in 2016 dollars[1])
Architect Rapp and Rapp
Venue Website

The Cadillac Palace Theatre (originally known as the New Palace Theatre) is operated by Broadway In Chicago, a Nederlander Presentation. It is located at 151 West Randolph Street in the Chicago Loop area downtown.


The theater originally opened in 1926 as the New Palace Theatre with Roger Wolfe Kahn and his Orchestra topping the bill. It was built at a cost of $12 million as part of the Eitel Block Project. In 1984 the theater was renamed the Bismarck Theatre and turned into a rock venue. In 1999, it was renovated and renamed the Cadillac Palace Theatre after Cadillac purchased naming rights to the venue. It currently has maximum capacity of 2,344 people. Since this reopening it has been home to many pre-broadway hits. The theater is currently operated by Broadway In Chicago which has allowed for more Broadway hits to tour through Chicago causing a great economic impact on the city of Chicago.[2]


The French Baroque style of the interior.

The Rapp Brothers, George and Cornelius, were responsible for the design of the Cadillac Palace Theatre. The two men were also the architects behind the Oriental Theatre and the Chicago Theatre, as well as dozens of other theaters around the country. Their inspiration for the look and feel of the Palace Theatre came from the Fountainebleau and the Palace of Versailles, both found in France. The interior includes huge decorative mirrors, breche violet and white marble. The walls inside are adorned with gold leafing and wood decorations, as well as a series of complex arches and detailed brass ornamentation.


During World War II the United States government went around to most theaters and confiscated all the brass. Brass was melted down and used for ammunition, shells, etc. At the time, the owners of the Palace Theatre painted all the brass in the theater white, so that when the government came in, they were tricked into thinking the theater contained no brass. The brass was left this way and generally forgotten about until the recent renovation of the theater, when the paint was scraped off and the rare brass ornamentation was rediscovered and restored to its original state.

General interest[edit]

The theater also showed The Phantom of the Opera in the 2007-2008 season.

The theater was opened as part of vaudeville's Orpheum Circuit. As part of the Orpheum Circuit, the theater housed such stars as Jimmy Durante, Mae West, Jack Benny, Sophie Tucker, and Bob Hope. After the loss of interest in vaudeville, the theater was converted into a movie palace in 1931.[3]

Notable productions[edit]

The Cadillac Palace became home to pre-Broadway tours and world premieres with the opening of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida in the autumn of 1999. This was the beginning of many Broadway-caliber shows to pass through the Cadillac Palace. Mel Brooks's The Producers premiered in Chicago starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in February 2001. In October 2006 The Pirate Queen made its premiere. Oprah Winfrey presents The Color Purple sat down for its long-run from April to September 2007. In March 2009, the national tour of Mary Poppins began its premier engagement at the Cadillac Palace. Shrek the Musical launched their national tour there from July 13-September 5, 2010. Beginning December 1, 2010, Wicked played a limited return engagement on its first national tour, playing through January 23, 2011.


  1. ^ a b Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  2. ^ Skertic, Mark (1999-11-08), "Renovated Palace has open house" (– Scholar search), Chicago Sun-Times [dead link]
  3. ^ Carcione, Sandra Grant (2000-07-01), "Rebirth of a Dream", Buildings [dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°53′2″N 87°37′57″W / 41.88389°N 87.63250°W / 41.88389; -87.63250