Midway Theatre

721 E. State Street,
Rockford, IL 61104

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Ascher Brothers Inc., Balaban & Katz Corp.

Architects: John Edmund Oldaker Pridmore

Styles: Spanish Baroque

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News About This Theater


Opened on August 3, 1918 by the Ascher Brothers Amusement Enterprises. It had 2,000 seats, all on a single floor. It was equipped with a Moller pipe organ which had 3 manuals.

This former movie house last hosted various live performances, from comedians to metal concerts. It appears to have closed around 2006.

Contributed by Paul Salley, Charlton F. Quinn

Recent comments (view all 60 comments)

Scott on November 13, 2013 at 10:53 am

Bobby, the Midway had a stage, but it wasn’t very deep. Not sure of the fly system as all I saw there was movies. I believe the dressing rooms were in the basement. I’m going by memory, which is sketchy as I haven’t been in the Midway since the late 1970s. It was a very cool theater and I always enjoyed going there.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm

In satellite view, it looks like the Midway had a very shallow stage house without a tall fly tower. Many vaudeville acts didn’t use much scenery, and some didn’t use any, so the space would have been sufficient for their purposes. The theater could never have mounted any sort of big stage production, though.

Scott on November 13, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Joe, I concur. The theatre was built for vaudeville and movies, and was never intended as a presentation house. And later in the 1920s when Rockford saw the addition of the Capital and Coronado theatres, the use of its stage probably declined dramatically. As a movie house it was superb. Intimate yet ornate, and excellent acoustics.

rockfordmidway on January 18, 2014 at 9:46 pm

so glad their intrest in rockfordmidway check us out on facebook

rockfordmidway on January 18, 2014 at 10:16 pm

please ask your parents if they remember seeing shows at rockford midway theater.

DavidZornig on April 6, 2015 at 9:39 pm

The Midway marquee appears multiple times in Cheap Trick’s 1997 video for “Say Goodbye”. Copy and paste to view.


DavidZornig on June 29, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Undated photo added courtesy of the Rockford Rewind Facebook page.

DavidZornig on June 30, 2015 at 12:22 am

1939 photo with original marquee added courtesy of the Rockford Rewind Facebook page.

booboo_babies on June 28, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Saw movies here in the late 1960s. I always liked coming to the Midway!

Scott on June 20, 2023 at 2:36 pm

Today (6/20/23) is the 48th anniversary of the release of Jaws which, of course, is now considered the first of the summer blockbuster movies. Jaws played at the Midway, which I was fortunate to have seen there. I don’t remember if I was there on opening night in 1975, but if not, then it was soon after. I had read the book already so I was really excited about seeing the movie. The Midway was still in prime condition at the time, and the auditorium was absolutely packed the night I was there. There were few empty seats, if any. The movie was great, of course, and the audience really responded to it. It was a very exhilarating experience and remains a great memory. Hopefully the Midway can come alive again to entertain the masses.

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