Though the Auditorium opened to immense critical acclaim, what began as a masterfully-designed opera house that sprang from the minds of geniuses gradually fell into disrepair. For decades the Auditorium Theatre continued its decline before experiencing an astounding resurgence in the 1960’s, and ultimately returning to its former status as a jewel in American history.
For nearly 120 years, the Auditorium Theatre has evolved, each decade ushering in a new challenge, and a new voice. From the operatic glory of our inception to the rock-and-roll concerts of the 1960’s and 70’s, from a setting for the world’s most legendary musicals to the greatest ballets, the Auditorium Theatre has adapted and grown, but we have always remained dedicated to providing the highest quality of artistic experiences while preserving the storied principles upon which we were founded.
As time has progressed we’ve continued to provide an eclectic and inspiring assortment of artistic productions. Simply sitting beneath the conical dome and contemplating the breadth of talent to grace the theatre is astounding. Former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley gave speeches where, years later, incandescent musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Aretha Franklin, and Elton John performed. Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles captivated audiences in the same space where Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera once played to sold-out crowds. Whether Frank Sinatra or Itzhak Perlman, The Beach Boys or Booker T. Washington, we are proud of all those who have graced our stage, but we are always focused on improving and enhancing the quality of our lineup—for a Landmark Theatre in one of the world’s greatest cities, nothing else will suffice.
Our programming has now come full-circle. While we continue to provide unparalleled ballet performances such as the Bolshoi Ballet and the Kirov ballet, we are ever mindful of the diversity and complexity of the landscape the surrounds us. Our current repertoire includes programs such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Too Hot to Handel, the Puerto Rican Cuatro Festival, and Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater which embrace the diversity and multiculturalism of our audience. But while we remain dedicated to principles of inclusion and understanding, we continuously search for new avenues to express these crucial ideals.
The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University is committed to offering the finest in international, cultural and community programming to Chicago, and to the continued restoration and preservation of our National Historic Landmark building. Designed and constructed by famed architects Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, the theatre has been a mainstay of Chicago architecture and theatre since 1889. In architectural grandeur and in the merit of the artists who have performed here, the Auditorium Theatre has no equal.