Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place

175 E. Chestnut Street,
Chicago, IL 60611

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Ed_Rooney on May 21, 2024 at 8:00 am

Was this (one of) Chicago screening room(s) for press & media (critics), e.g. advance screenings for embargoed publications?

One year we did our holiday shopping downtown chicago – slimmed my shopping duties to catch a screening of ‘Wild Bill’ (1995) here.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on September 22, 2023 at 7:46 am

The Water Tower Theatres 1-4 opened on December 21, 1976.

Mister_Comics on April 20, 2019 at 10:31 am

Newspaper ads from 1980’s have the address as 835 N. Michigan. But newspapers have been known to make mistakes. See newspaper ad in the “Photo” section that I posted.

rivest266 on November 14, 2016 at 12:30 am

April 13th, 1984 grand opening ad for the expansion in the photo section.

coasternut (Robert Morrow)
coasternut (Robert Morrow) on November 17, 2015 at 10:53 pm


I will scan it as soon as I can and will add it to the photo section.

Thanks for getting back to me.

CinemarkFan on November 15, 2015 at 3:22 pm


Yes, that would be the same (Mall theater) location. When Plitt opened the lower (Street) level theaters in April of ‘84, those were known as 5-7.

If you can, please upload a photo that stub! You saved a piece of history there.

coasternut (Robert Morrow)
coasternut (Robert Morrow) on November 15, 2015 at 2:29 pm

I have a ticket stub that I have saved for Water Tower Theatre 3 with an address of 845 N. Michigan Ave. Was this part of the same location? The admission price was $2.00.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on July 17, 2014 at 12:17 am

The Water Tower 1-4 closed in May, 2000. The Water Tower 5-7 closed in November, 2000. Village Entertainment re-opened the 5-7 theatres in August, 2002. Closed one year later.

mo4040 on July 16, 2014 at 7:58 pm

I saw ‘Rocky’ here in 1976 with some school friends.

JRS40 on November 14, 2012 at 10:37 am

The ad in the photo section above is for the opening of the original Water Tower theaters I-IV located inside Water Tower Place. This would have been December of 1976.

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on December 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm

This theatre reopened in September with Sutton Foster in concert. It currently has the Canadian show TRACES. Broadway in Chicago has other shows scheduled to play here in 2011 including a revised version of WORKING.

Robin Roz
Robin Roz on August 21, 2010 at 9:36 pm

This entry needs to be changed. Drury Lane is no longer at Water Tower. They are solely at Oakbrook now.

This theatre is now known as Broadway Playhouse and it’s run by Broadway in Chicago. It will be closed until September 2010 for renovations. The website at least temporarily is

DavidZornig on April 19, 2009 at 9:12 am

What are the other Water Tower Theatre’s, that were located upstairs and inside of the Water Tower Place Mall listed under on CT?

DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I know, I know… check the box.

DavidZornig on April 12, 2009 at 7:00 am

I finally made it back in here a few Sundays back. For the next to last performance of “Xanadu”.
Much has changed since it’s off again/on again movie theatre days.
The Chestnut St. side entrance is pretty much in the same spot. But the theatre space has been built out differently and off to the left of the entrance.
The stage area seems much smaller. And the seats seem to rise above the new lobby area. I can’t recall the old multiplex configuration at/from street level. But I think it went straight back. Where the restrooms & coat check are now. The lobby has a lower ceiling like the old Drury Lane in Evergreen Park had. But there the theatre stage was downstairs. There is a brief “Drury Lane History” in the back pages of the Playbill. Possibly accessable online.
Or via the official site under this CT page’s description.

DavidZornig on October 30, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Thanks CinemarkFan for the confirmation. I was pretty sure Drury Lane/WT is where I saw T2. I lived two blocks from there in `91.

The Drury Lane stage theater in Evergreen Park was in a complex called “The Martinique”. The place with the chapel, banquet hall & giant Vegas style signage. Inside the lobby near the theatre entrance was a small rather low `60’s looking bar. With swiveling, high backed vinyl bar stools that were attached to the floor. Pictures of Debbie Reynolds, Robert Goulet etc. adorned the walls.
It was razed to build a WalMart, but not sure if that ever happened.

In addition to Oakbrook, there is also a Drury Lane North in Lincolnshire.
A “theater in the round” as they say, but really it’s a smallish square stage with ascending seats on all four sides. It’s been active for quite sometime, and is part of a hotel complex itself. The theatre is designed for and only suitable for stage plays. Which is as far off topic as I’ll go.

CinemarkFan on October 28, 2008 at 10:44 am

T2 did have a 10pm screening on 7/2/91 at WT Lower Level. And I remember the Drury Lane in Evergreen Park, but I never went inside.

I miss these places. It just seems that they had character.

DavidZornig on October 24, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Greetings. The Water Tower Theatre on the Chestnut Street level side, was indeed originally built for live theatre. The plays “Vanities” & “Evita” with Patti Lupone & Mandy Patinkin played there around 1981. Also possibly one of the first verions of “Love Letters”.
After that it was coverted to movie screens. I last saw “Kingpin” there when it came out. Possibly “Terminator 2” also.
And of course it is now back to being called Drury Lane, and features live theatre & music. Their one day promotion today was to receive tickets to January’s staging of “Xanadu”, if you were of the first 20 to roller skate up to the box office this morning.

There was another long standing Drury Lane Theatre in Evergreen Park, that did strictly stage shows for decades.
A time warp of a place that felt as if you were walking into a `60’s Las Vegas hotel lobby. It also had a unique wedding chapel & lower level banquet facility. The name of the entire complex escapes me.
It was sadly all torn down several years ago.

CinemarkFan on September 23, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Water Tower lower level aka 5-7 opened on 4/13/84. Opening attractions were “Swing Shift”, “Iceman”, and “Terms of Endearment”.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 15, 2007 at 7:20 pm

I did some research a few weeks ago, and when Village first became a chain circa 2000-2002, the company DID advertise its cinemas and did appear to be a legitimate chain and not a “crash-and-burn-operation”. The December 20, 2002 edition of The Chicago Tribune shows the following cinemas that Village advertised and the movies playing there:

HINSDALE: Lord of the Ring: The Two Towers
GLENWOOD: Two Weeks Notice, Wild Thornberry’s, & Lord of the Rings 2
BURNHAM PLAZA: Gangs of NY, Lord of the Rings 2, Drumline, Empire
BLOOMINGDALE: Gangs of NY, Two Weeks Notice, Lord of The Rings 2, Drumline, Star Trek Nemesis, Die Another Day.
STRATFORD: Wild Thornberry’s , Lord Of the Rings 2, Hot Chick, Harry Potter & the Chambers Secrets, Analyzze That.
WATER TOWER: Personal Velocity, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Emporer’s Club,Ararat.
BIOGRAPH: Analyze That, Two Weeks Notice, Gangs of New York.
VILLAGE: Gangs of NY, Rodger Dodger, Emporer’s Club, Man From Elysian Fields.
VILLAGE NORTH: Lord of the Rings 2, Drumline, Star Trek Nemesis.
GOLF GLEN: Two Weeks Notice, Gangs of NY, Wild Thornberry’s, Lord of the Rings 2, Harry Potter, and Analyze That.

Apparantly, Village Entertainment was promoting its cinemas and had decent bookings (although it still gets decent bookings). And Water Tower was showing art films! The questions are what happened and when did Village become a “crash-and-burn” operation?

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 29, 2007 at 12:05 pm

It appears that initially, Village tried to make a go of this place. Especially as an art/indie house. Up above, it is stated that Village renovated this place. What exactly were those renovations? Village always talked about doing renovations on its cinemas but almost rarely did so.

CinemarkFan on November 5, 2006 at 7:34 pm

I just got a little choked up. That looks so attractive. I miss Water Tower, McClurg Court, Esquire and many other theaters in the area that I remember.

Now if only someone could post some photos of WT 1-4.

CinemarkFan on August 15, 2006 at 7:11 am

Yep, Water Tower held the exclusive first run showing of Rocky. Paul, do you think Mesbur & Smith(architects for Cineplex Odeon) might have photos of the remodeling jobs they did for this theater? I hoping they do, I just want to see pictures of WT again. They may have been small, but it was comfy and made every moviegoing experience memorable. Some movies I saw in the mall include: Broken Arrow, The Rock, Long Kiss Goodnight, The Relic, and John Carpenter’s: Vampires. Some movies I saw in WT 5-7 include: Speed, Scream, Double Team, and Black and White.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 11, 2006 at 8:13 am

This theater had the Chicago priemier of “Rocky”, I believe.