Cadillac Palace Theater
Palace Theater (now: Cadillac Palace Theater)
151 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Screens: Single Screen
Style: French Renaissance
Function: Stage Shows
Firm: Rapp & Rapp
The Cadillac Palace Theater opened in October 1926, as the New Palace Theater (there was already a Palace Music Hall located at Clark Street and Randolph Street which was later renamed the Erlanger Theater), and was designed by Rapp & Rapp. Its interior design is similar in vein to the Los Angeles Theater - a French Renaissance beauty inspired by Versailles. The Palace Theater was originally opened as the flagship of the Orpheum vaudeville circuit (the State-Lake Theater, also in the Loop, was another one of the Orpheum circuit's vaudeville palaces in Chicago). After showcasing dozens of big-name stars during the late 1920s, the theater was converted into a movie palace in 1931 as the RKO Palace.
In the 1950s, attendance began to wane, at what was by then called Eitel's Palace and live shows were re-introduced to the repertoire. During the late 1950s, the Palace was altered to show Cinerama films. The neighboring Bismarck Hotel purchased the theater in the 1970s and the auditorium was converted into a banquet hall by removing the seats on the orchestra level. In 1984, the theater, now renamed the Bismarck Theater, was converted into a concert venue.
Barely used during the 1990s, the former palace was finally restored and renovated during 1999, and renamed the Cadillac Palace thanks to a large donation by the company towards the theater's spectacular restoration. The renovated theater was reopened during the fall of 1999, with the premier of Elton John and Tim Rice's "Aida". The renovation has made true the name of the Palace.