“best entertainment in the 'burbs!”
The best entertainment in the burbs! Recently named one of the Top Ten Theatres in Chicago by the League of Chicago Theatres, the Paramount continues to provide world-class entertainment—including dance, music, Broadway-caliber theatre, and children’s programming—for an annual audience of 150,000 patrons from over 250 communities. The Paramount also hosts free community events and its opulent interiors provide a spectacular backdrop for private functions such as wedding receptions or corporate galas. The $1 million dollar building opened on September 3, 1931, to wonder, excitement, glamour, laughter and music. An organist was flown in to play the Wurlitzer, local dignitaries attended the opening, and telegrams arrived from Paramount Studios stars such as Claudette Colbert, Sylvia Sydney, and Janet Gaynor.In addition to the movies, The Paramount also offered vaudeville, concerts, sing-a-longs and circus performances…all inside Illinois’ first air-conditioned building outside of Chicago. Acoustics and sight lines had been so well designed that there was not one bad seat in the house. The luxurious theatre gave its patrons a brief respite from the troubles of the Great Depression. The Paramount was open continuously until 1976 when ACCA purchased it from the Plitt Corporation. Plans for restoration began immediately and the firm of D’Escoto and Associates was hired as construction manager. Conrad Schmitt Studios were commissioned to restore the interior decor to its former grandeur. Working from black-and-white photographs dating back to 1931, obtained from the Theatrical History Society, Schmitt artisans and craftsmen gutted the interior and began restoration. The artwork decorating the ceiling was restored using old photographs as references, and by creating stencils traced from art that was undamaged. A mere 20 percent of the ceiling needed repainting, the other 80 percent needed only cleaning and retouching. Fortunately, most of the Paramount’s interior just needed touching up rather than replacing. Scenes from the film Public Enemies were filmed here.
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