Capri Cinema

64 E. Van Buren Street,
Chicago, IL 60605

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Additional Info

Architects: Eugene Fuhrer, Dwight H. Perkins

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Steinway Hall, Ziegfeld Hall, Kelly and Leon Opera House, Whitney Opera House, Central Music Hall, Central Theatre, Shubert's Central Theatre, Punch & Judy Theatre, Sonotone Theatre, Studio Theatre, Ziegfeld Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Capri Cinema 1963

Located on E. Van Buren Street, near S. Michigan Avenue, the Steinway Hall was located in the Chicago Musical College Building, designed in 1895 by Dwight H. Perkins.

The 890-seat theatre was known as Steinway Hall for the company which built the building, but by 1900 was known as the Ziegfeld Hall. Not long after, it was renamed again, first as the Kelly and Leon Opera House, and by 1910 as the Whitney Opera House. By 1915, it was called the Central Music Hall, renamed again the Central Theatre in 1923, with variations on that name over the next several years depending on who was running it (Minturn’s Central Theatre, Barrett’s Central Theatre, Shubert’s Central Theatre).

In 1930 it was taken over by Louis Machat and remodeled by architect Eugene Fuhrer with a reduced seating capacity of 354. It became a movie house for the first time, as the Punch & Judy Theatre, opening on September 18, 1930 with Walter Houston in “Abraham Lincoln”. In about a year, it returned to the Central Theatre name and live theatre, but from March 22, 1935 it was renamed yet again, as the Sonotone Theatre. It would remain a movie house and was renamed Studio Theatre from July 1, 1940. It became the Ziegfeld Theatre from November 24, 1950, and finally the Capri Cinema on July 5, 1958, which it remained for the rest of its life, finally running adult films to end the once-illustrious theatre’s career.

The Capri Cinema closed in the late-1960’s, and was demolished in April 1970.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Broan on May 29, 2013 at 2:28 pm

It’s in the Photos section…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 3, 2013 at 6:36 am

A two page article about the Punch and Judy Theatre, complete with floor plans, followed by four pages of photos, appeared in the October 25, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald-World. It can be seen online at the Internet Archive (click on the + sign in the tool bar at the bottom to enlarge pages.)

DavidZornig on March 19, 2016 at 4:23 pm

5/07/67 photo added, photo credit Steve Lewandowski‎.

rivest266 on November 11, 2016 at 10:55 pm

July 4th, 1958 grand opening ad as Capri in the photo section

rivest266 on November 13, 2016 at 6:48 pm

March 22nd, 1935 grand opening ad as Sonotone in the photo section. It was the first theatre in the world be equipped for the hard of hearing according to the ad.

rivest266 on November 15, 2016 at 12:43 am

November 24th, 1950 grand opening ad as Ziegfeld also in the photo section.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on February 24, 2017 at 3:55 pm

The grand opening to the public was on November 21st, 1950, with a gala performance the night before for the benefit of the scholarship fund of the Chicago Musical College. See ad uploaded to the photo section.

rockndeco on June 11, 2017 at 5:41 pm

In August, 1934 it was still advertising itself as the Punch and Judy. Check photo section for an advertising handbill from the Punch and Judy Theatre from August, 1934 (based on films and perpetual calendar dating) promoting upcoming films including “Secrets”, “Sorrell and Son”, “Little Man, What Now?” and “Cavalcade”.

rivest266 on August 15, 2020 at 10:35 pm

This reopened as Studio on July 1st, 1940. Grand opening ad posted.

DavidZornig on November 26, 2021 at 8:36 pm

1954 marquee shot during S. Ziegfeld Ct street naming.

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