Congress Theater

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Congress Theater
Congress Theater Chicago.jpg
The Congress Theater in 2008
Address 2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, Illinois
United States
Coordinates 41°55′12″N 87°41′32″W / 41.92°N 87.69222°W / 41.92; -87.69222
Owner Eddie Carranza
Designation Chicago Landmark
Type theater
Capacity 4,900
Current use live music venue
Built 1926 (1926)
Years active 1926-present
Architect Fridstein & Company
Designated July 10, 2002
Designated January 6, 2017

The Congress Theater is a historic movie palace in Chicago. It was built by Fridstein and Company in 1926 for the movie theater chain of Lubliner and Trinz. It features ornate exterior and interior design work, in a combination of the Classical Revival and Italian Renaissance styles. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

In its heyday, the Congress Theater could seat over 2,500 moviegoers and also had storefronts facing the streets. More recently, the theater operated as a 3,500-capacity live music venue. The theater was also used for professional wrestling shows by Dragon Gate USA beginning in 2009.

Under the ownership of Eddie Carranza, the venue undertook an "ambitious" renovation designed by CBD Architects in 2012.[1] It was a source of controversy due to issues such as liquor violations, a notoriously tough security team, and lax building upkeep.[2] In April 2013, the theater was shut down and had its liquor license revoked due to numerous safety code violations.[3]

In early 2014, it was reported that Carranza would sell the theater to developer Michael Moyer.[2] Moyer plans to spend $55 million restoring the theater, with the goal of reopening the Congress in 2017.[4]

Notable events[edit]

The sign of the theater
  • Oprah Winfrey filmed the introduction to her television show in the lobby of the theater.[when?][5]
  • The theater was designated a Chicago Landmark on July 10, 2002.[6]
  • In August 2008, pop punk band Paramore recorded a live CD/DVD titled The Final Riot! at the theater. It was released in November 2008 and it was awarded in US (Gold Album) and Canada (Platinum Album).
  • On March 31, 2009, VH1 Storytellers recorded a segment on blues band ZZ Top at the Congress Theater; the show aired June 27, 2009, on VH1 Classic.
  • As part of his 2012 New Year's Eve performance, producer/DJ Rusko shot the music video for hit single "Somebody to Love" , released via Diplo's Mad Decent record label. [7]


the theater in 1999
  1. ^ "Exclusive: Ambitious Congress Theater Renovation Aims to Create Neighborhood Destination". Chicago Pipeline. August 29, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2015. ...Jeremiah Johnson of Chicago Building Design, PC to serve as Executive Architect. Johnson is well known in the hospitality industry for projects such as Public House, The Hubbard Inn, and the much anticipated Boarding House restaurant. 
  2. ^ a b Sale of Congress Theater pending | WBEZ 91.5 Chicago
  3. ^ SFONDELES, TINA. "City revokes Congress Theater's liquor license; owner vows to appeal". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ History and Description
  6. ^ "Congress Theater". City of Chicago. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  7. ^