Studebaker Theater & Playhouse Theater

410 S. Michigan Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60605

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Showing 1 - 25 of 113 comments

DavidZornig on April 1, 2024 at 7:27 am

Vintage Tribune link with multiple photos.

Dplomin on September 4, 2023 at 6:48 pm

I saw On Golden Pond with Janet Gaynor there in the…..80’s? Only time I was in that theater. I’ve been in The Studebaker for live theater and later movies. Glad it’s been reopened and opened again! ❤️

DavidZornig on June 7, 2022 at 7:15 pm

Status is now Open. “Skates A New Musical" is running through August 28, 2022. Link about the newly renovated Studebaker Theater below. Same article as the Sun-Times minus the paywall.

DavidZornig on December 25, 2021 at 11:08 am

From the Fine Arts Building Facebook page.

Do you have a story about the Fine Arts Building? We want to hear it.

We are collecting memories and personal histories from the visitors, artists, staff and Fine Arts Building aficionados that have made this space shine for more than 100 years. Follow the link to share your memories of the Fine Arts Building, the Studebaker Theater and the last 100 years of this magnificent artistic haven.

DavidZornig on August 2, 2021 at 9:21 am

Renovation coming.

DavidZornig on April 16, 2021 at 6:52 pm

Another 1885 photo, enlargeable within Flickr link.

DavidZornig on April 29, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Didn’t realize their was a Shorpy link for this 1903 photo I posted previously. Click View Full Size for incredible detail.

DavidZornig on April 15, 2019 at 7:44 am

I looked and saw this never got posted on 2018. Elevator operator in the Fine Arts Building.

Mister_Comics on March 29, 2019 at 3:22 pm

Newspapers from the mid 80’s have the address as 418 S. Michigan Avenue. Phone number at the time as 939-3700. (see ad in “Photo section”) Newspapers have been known to make mistakes.

wschende on February 21, 2019 at 12:04 am

From the “About” section of the new Studebaker Theater website:

The Studebaker Theater is housed in the historic Fine Arts Building

In 1898, The Fine Arts Building created the historic The Studebaker Theater. Originally built to house vaudevillian performances, but later expanded into large productions in the 1920’s. During the subsequent years, performances by Bob Hope, Peter O’Toole, and Vincent Price graced the stage with their immense theatrical skills. The Studebaker Theater continued on throughout the years for being known as one of the most important live theatrical venues in the City of Chicago.

In the 1970’s, the city underwent a downturn in live theater attendance and The Studebaker was converted into four separate motion picture cinemas. Eventually in the year 2000, The Studebaker was closed entirely. In 2005, The Fine Arts Building, which houses the Studebaker Theater, underwent new ownership. Renovations to restore The Studebaker finally began in 2015.

Today, The Studebaker Theater, which holds 740 seats, reopened for live performances in 2016.


wschende on February 20, 2019 at 11:21 pm

From The Chicago Tribune Koopman returns, and the Studebaker is back in the concert business March 10, 2016

(Discussion of the return of harpsichordist Ton Koopman to Chicago..then the following)

“That said, the event was most notable for being the first major concert to take place in decades at the Studebaker Theater, a historic gem of 1898 vintage that once was a flourishing recital hall (Hermann Prey and Regine Crespin sang here) but has been shuttered for two decades.

The mid-sized venue, modeled after a typical small European opera house, has recently undergone a major renovation by the building’s management and is nearly ready to serve as an additional venue for classical music on the cultural mile of South Michigan Avenue. Such a venue has long been needed, and it’s heartening to know that Chicago classical presenters soon will be setting up shop in this inviting space. From Tony to Chick to Ramsey, a jazzy summer at Ravinia

Audience members were expected to ignore the bare stage house and the lack, as yet, of a functioning air-conditioning system. (Free water bottles were provided.) There was an awkward delay for the stage lighting to be adjusted to enable Mathot to properly see the printed music in front of her. A more serious problem, from the listeners' perspective, was the skimpy program leaflet, devoid as it was of information about the music or the harpsichords on which the Koopmans were performing.

On the positive side, the Studebaker’s clear acoustics, intimate sightlines and comfortable seats made it an appropriately intimate place in which to perform and hear 17th and 18th century keyboard works. It was good to have Koopman back in Chicago, where he last conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2012. His local appearances go back at least as far as 1992 when he brought his famed Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra to town."

wschende on February 20, 2019 at 11:03 pm

Timelapse Video of the Studebaker Theater Rehab here:

DavidZornig on November 8, 2018 at 6:44 am

Companion photo to the one I added to the Photos Section. But the year is 1913, not 1910 as the link below states.

DavidZornig on March 28, 2018 at 3:09 pm

1885 photo as the Studebaker Building added via Raymond Kunst. Also Chicagology link below.

DavidZornig on December 21, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Link about the Fine Arts Building.

DavidZornig on November 14, 2016 at 5:30 pm

Rivest266, the Woods article re-posted here.

rivest266 on November 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm

April 29th, 1933 and December 25th, 1982 grand opening ads in the photo section.

JudithK on March 15, 2016 at 2:28 pm

I believe the Studebaker is being redeveloped into a small performing arts center. Looking forward to visiting it in the future.

Broan on November 27, 2015 at 6:37 pm

I don’t think the Playhouse is open.

spectrum on November 27, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Here’s a direct link to the article at (referenced two comments above):

From that article it looks like in fact both theatres have been restored and reopened (What are now called the Studebaker and the Playhouse)

DavidZornig on November 25, 2015 at 6:30 pm

1915 photo added courtesy of Jori Sobery Curry.

Broan on October 18, 2015 at 10:53 am

Name should be changed to Studebaker, status to Open

Broan on October 4, 2015 at 7:07 am

Incredibly, in 1917 the Studebaker was closed only 5 weeks for renovations.

DavidZornig on October 2, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Current piece on the Studebaker with great current photos. Copy and paste to view.