Avalon Regal Theater
Avalon Regal Theater
Avalon Regal Theater
|Address||1641 E. 79th Street|
Chicago, Illinois: South Chicago
|Owner||Community Capital Investment LLC - JSJG1|
|Operator||Chicago Regal Foundation 501(c)(3)|
|Type||Performing Arts Center/African American Cultural Center|
|Closed||June 2003- October 2007|
The Avalon Regal Theater (originally the Avalon Theater, and later the New Regal Theater) lies just off the I-90 Skyway, at 1641 East 79th Street, in Chicago's South Shore community. The theater opened as the Avalon Theater in 1927, when the community was known as Avalon Park, a then predominantly German, Swedish and Irish neighborhood. During the 1960s, more African Americans began to move into the area, transforming local culture while taking advantage of this historic gem for their unique musical and artistic ends. Architecturally, the Avalon Regal's atmospheric Moorish Revivalist theme was conceived by Austrian-born architect John Eberson, who was nationally known for his exotic motifs. Legend has it that Eberson was inspired by an ornate Persian incense burner he found in an antique market in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The Avalon Theater was in business until the late 1970s.
Afterward, the building served as the home of the Miracle Temple Church until becoming a performing arts venue once again in 1987. At that time, the theater was renamed in honor of the old Regal Theater across town in Bronzeville, a cultural center for Chicago's African American community that was demolished in 1973. The old Regal Theater was located at 4719 S. King Dr
The Avalon Regal received Chicago Landmark status on June 17, 1992. The former owners of the New Regal Theater, Edward and Bettianne Gardner, closed the theater in 2003 after losing money for several years. In 2008, the building was purchased by a group that included Ron and Regina Evans with the hope of reviving it as a cultural venue. However, it saw little use. The site did hold a party to celebrate Barack Obama's presidential nomination acceptance speech in August 2008. The theater was foreclosed on in 2011; it was sold to Community Capital Investment LLC in 2014. The Chicago Regal Foundation 501(c)(3) was created to raise funds needed to reopen and operate it  The Foundation plans to recreate pivotal moments in entertainment history using holographic stage technology.
The Avalon Regal regularly participates in the Chicago Architecture Foundation's yearly event, Open House Chicago. This annual opportunity allows visitors to tour the interior of the building for free.
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