The Apollo Theater (no relation to New York City’s Apollo Theatre) is a lush venue with a prestigious reputation, located in the heart of Chicago’s fashionable Lincoln Park neighborhood. Built in 1978 by theatre producers Jason Brett and Stuart Oken and twice renovated, the Apollo boasts a dramatic glass and concrete design conceived by Chicagoan Michael Lustig. Its three-quarter thrust stage has 440 plush seats configured in just eleven rows, allowing audiences a theatrical experience unparalleled in intimacy and accessibility.
Apollo Theater InteriorThe Apollo Theater has a rich theatrical history. For its inaugural engagement, producers Oken and Brett chose Albert Innaurato’s Gemini,which featured the production’s original Broadway director, Peter Schifter. David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago became a smash hit at the Apollo, starring Jim Belushi in his dramatic stage debut and directed by former Second City Artistic Director Sheldon Patinkin.
The Apollo’s second season brought Clifford Odet’s 1930s American classic, Waiting for Lefty, also directed by Sheldon Patinkin. The subsequent production, Stephen Wade’s Banjo Dancing, established a trend of long-running hits at the Apollo. Other long-running productions of the 1980s include Harry Chapin: Lies and Legends, Steel Magnolias,and Pump Boys and Dinettes, which set a Chicago longevity record for a musical by running five years.
The Apollo Theater also became home to many plays produced by the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company, including Balm in Gilead with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise, Cloud Nine, Secret Rapture, Harvey, Wrong Turn at Lungfish, and Sam Shepard’s True West.
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