Michael Todd Theatre

170 N. Dearborn Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: M & R Theatres

Architects: Charles Howard Crane, H. Kenneth Franzheim

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Previous Names: Harris Theatre, Dearborn 1

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Michael Todd

Located next door to the Cinestage Theatre (the former Selwyn Theatre) on N. Dearborn Street, the Michael Todd Theatre was the second Todd-AO 70mm roadshow theatre, and was originally known as the 1.200-seat Harris Theatre. The Harris Theatre, designed by C. Howard Crane in 1922 (along with the next-door Selwyn Theatre) as a playhouse for legitimate producers Sam H. Harris and Archie and Edgar Selwyn, it was opened October 2, 1922 with the comedy “Six Cylinder Love”. The Harris Theatre was given an Italian Palladian design, while the Selwyn Theatre was done in Neo-Georgian style.

Michael Todd took over in the mid-1950’s and the Harris Theatres' remained a legitimate theatre until 1958. Following a remodel, it reopened as a movie theatreon December 26, 1958 with Robert Mitchum in “Two for the Seesaw”. The Michael Todd Theatre was a bit different than the Cinestage, as it had a large flat screen instead of a curved strip screen. It also had a great waterfall curtain, whereas the Cinestage had a standard curtain that opened horizontally. There was also a huge balcony and the Century JJ-equipped projection booth was on the main floor under the mezzanine. The Michael Todd Theatre was taken over by ABC-Great states in August 1970 and it was remodeled. Plitt Theatre took over in 1974 and it was closed on April 22, 1977. It was taken over by M&R Theatres and following a refurishment it reopened on December 25, 1985 as the Dearborn 1 (the former Selwyn/Cinestage became the Dearborn 2) Both theatre was closed in 1988 and were demolished, apart from their facades.

Before it was razed, the Michael Todd Theatre’s entire ceiling had collapsed and was basically in ruins. Unfortunately, the roofs were always neglected in both of the theatres.

Today, the Michael Todd’s façade, along with that of the Cinestage (both saved when the theatres were torn down), now form part of the façade of the new Goodman Theatre complex, which moved from its long-time location at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000.

Contributed by Mark, Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 84 comments)

rivest266 on November 13, 2016 at 10:00 am

This opened as a live theatre on December 26th, 1958. Its grand opening ad in the photo section.

rivest266 on November 13, 2016 at 10:15 am

September 2nd, 1923 grand opening ad as Harris in the photo section.

DavidZornig on May 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Blurry Michael Todd Theatre in the background.


Coate on May 22, 2017 at 12:49 pm

New Showcase Presentations in Chicago article includes mention of the numerous 70mm (and roadshow) engagements here at the Michael Todd (along with other Chicagoland cinemas).

DavidZornig on August 5, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Ran across this article from 1941.


DavidZornig on September 16, 2017 at 10:55 am

1987 photo as M&R Dearborn Cinemas added, via The Man On Five website.

DavidZornig on November 28, 2017 at 8:01 pm

Live stage production of “Two For The Seesaw” opened at the Michael Todd in December 1958. Nighttime marquee photo added.

davidcoppock on November 29, 2017 at 5:26 am

Is it named after the director of “Around the World in 8o days”(David Niven version))?

JudithK on November 29, 2017 at 7:28 am

Michael Todd was the producer of “Around the World in 80 Days” which was just shown on TCM. Mr. Todd died in a plane crash in the 1950s.

DavidZornig on November 10, 2021 at 10:48 pm

Kevin Mueller photo.


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