Music Box Theater restores marquee

EMBED </>More Videos

Almost 90 years after the Music Box Theater's marquee first lit up Chicago skies, Lakeview's famed movie palace got a facelift. (WLS)

Almost 90 years after the Music Box Theater's marquee first lit up Chicago skies, Lakeview's famed movie palace got a facelift.
"It's the first thing you see when you think about the Music Box before you come in our doors," said theater general manager Ryan Oestreich, of the marquee that can be seen blocks away, rising above businesses' roofs.

He called the venue "the landmark of this neighborhood."
With that in mind, Oestreich and staff spent close to a year restoring the bright sign out front to its original splendor.
The vision started with one theater projectionist finding a 1929 photo of the theater on eBay; Oestreich urged his colleague to buy it. The black and white image features a sign advertising a new "talkie" picture to be shown.
Upon closer examination, Oestreich noticed design details that had disappeared over time.
"All of that trim," he said, pointing to the regal molding that adorned the marquee.
Oestreich wanted to keep to the theater's authenticity, so he asked partner Landmark Signs to recreate the classic movie palace look while keeping neon lettering that has become synonymous with the theater over the years.

The Music Box regularly screens films of all kinds and hosts special events like sing-a-longs. Its famous auditorium stands unchanged with much of the theater décor also original, including stained glass windows and hallway tiling. This cultural center brings over 200,000 visitors to the area each year according to Lakeview Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lee Crandell.
"...They're going out for dinner, going out shopping, so it's really great for our neighborhood," he added.
"We can predict our business sometimes based on how many tickets they've sold," said Grassroots Neighborhood Eatery owner Lynne Wallack, who often talks with Music Box to get a sense for crowd sizes to come.
Wallack also lives nearby. She's happy to see the marquee restored, hoping it helps keep business going in the area.
For the Music Box Theater, keeping the lights on means keeping a piece of Chicago history standing tall.
Related Topics:
entertainmenttheatermovie theaterhistoryChicagoLakeview
(Copyright ©2018 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)