The Chicago Theatre

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The 3,500-seat Chicago Theatre began life as a Balaban and Katz movie temple. After years of neglect, it was restored to its former glory as a sumptuous performance palace. It's now a vital and pioneering part of the North Loop renaissance, which has also seen the equally ornate Oriental Theatre/Ford Center for the Performing Arts on nearby Randolph Street given a second stage life and the prestigious Goodman Theatre move to the former Michael Todd Cinestage on Dearborn. Musicals, concerts, dance events and films (it's hosted screenings for the Chicago International Film Festival) fill the eclectic performance line-up. Acoustics vary greatly with the production's miking, but seats are comfortable, if often distant from the huge stage.