Theater stages Obama event

posted by Andy Pierce on September 2, 2008 at 10:54 am

CHICAGO, IL — Presidential candidate Barack Obama loomed larger than life last night in Chicago, despite his being far away in the center of Denver’s Mile High Stadium.

In fact, he was a hit at the old thee-ay-ter in the neighborhood. More than 1,500 people gathered in the auditorium of the historic New Regal Theatre, 1645 E. 79th St., last night, Thursday, August 28, 2008, to watch Barack Obama give his acceptance speech live on the big screen. Several media outlets covered the event from the back of the main floor as the crowd cheered and rose to its feet to show enthusiasm for the individual campaign promises Obama made.

Ron and Regina Evans, the theater’s owners invited the public to watch the broadcast live and for free. Registration was required at

The bejeweled lobby hosted several tables of Obama memorabilia and voter registration opportunities. Popcorn, sodas and other snacks were available as per custom.

The New Regal’s creative marketing of the event read: “If you cannot make it to Denver, you can get together with your friends at the Regal Theater (sic) and watch Barack." Also, there was an opportunity to sign up for the New Regal’s mailing list.

Native Chicagoans recall this building was originally the Avalon Theatre, a fantastic 1927 atmospheric design from architect John Eberson. Restored in 1985 in a project sponsored by Ed and Bettian Gardner, of Softsheen Products and backed in part by the City of Chicago, the New Regal is perhaps the best restoration of a movie palace in Chicago.

It was renamed to capture the spirit of the lost Regal Theatre, 47th Street and South Parkway (now MLK). The original Regal was sited in the second expansion of the Black Metropolis in Chicago’s Bronzeville. It was a movie palace built for African American audiences and was venue to many important musicians in the decades before its 1973 demolition.

Story courtesy of Uptown Adviser,

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