Academy Theatre

16 S. Halsted Street,
Chicago, IL 60661

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Additional Info

Architects: Oscar Cobb, Cornelius Ward Rapp, George W. Rapp

Firms: Rapp & Rapp

Previous Names: Academy of Music, Bijou Academy

Nearby Theaters


Opened in 1878 as the Academy of Music with 2,450-seats. It was located on S. Halsted Street, near W. Madison Street and Academy Place. It was designed by architect Oscar Cobb. Around 1910 it was remodeled to the plans of architectural firm Rapp & Rapp. This Near West Side neighborhood theater lasted at least through the 1940’s before closing when its seating capacity had been reduced to 962-seats. It was demolished long ago.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Broan on November 12, 2005 at 4:09 pm

There was apparently an early mural of Alfonso Iannelli’s here. Chicago Tribune, 4/7/1916 p20

Broan on August 19, 2006 at 11:16 pm

A corbis caption claims: “Photo shows the old Academy of Music, 16 South Halsted street, which was the first theater in the world to be lighted electrically, causing temporary chaos among the actors, who refused to go on, behind the bright footlights, not being properly "made up' properly.” It was built in 1878 and Oscar Cobb was architect. Originally held 2,450 seats.

Broan on November 30, 2006 at 5:51 pm

Unfortunately linking to corbis doesn’t seem to work. You’d have to search for VV7531

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 5, 2007 at 6:58 pm

The Academy of Music in Chicago is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. E.P. Simpson was Mgr. and it had 2,450 seats. There was an orchestra floor and 2 balconies, and ticket prices ranged from 10 cents to 50 cents. The proscenium opening was 30 feet wide X 33 feet high, and the stage was 32 feet deep. The theatre was on the ground floor and there were 10 in the house orchestra.

kencmcintyre on March 8, 2009 at 5:35 am

This June 1930 item in the Chicago Tribune calls the theater the Bijou Academy:

Harry Parker, a chauffeur, was sentenced to twenty days in the county jail for contempt yesterday by Judge Hayes in the Superior court for giving perjured testimony. Parker was a witness in the $50,000 damage suit brought against the Bijou Academy theater, 16 South Halsted street.

DavidZornig on March 8, 2009 at 6:11 am

Hmmm. I wonder if this place is where that Catholic Charities Thrift Store was until just recently. Just North of Dugan’s and across from Walgreens.

The thrift store building had very high tin ceilings, and a massive freight elevator in the rear. The 2nd floor was divided up kind of strangely too.

Broan on January 17, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Here is a THSA picture

Broan on April 6, 2022 at 9:52 pm

This was remodeled by Rapp & Rapp prior to 1912.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.