James Nederlander Theatre
24 W. Randolph St.
(Area) – Loop/Financial District
This legendary Theatre opened in 1926 and was designed by the Rapp brothers. Over the years it presented popular motion pictures, complemented by lavish stage shows. Among the many stars that graced the stage were, Judy Garland, Al Jolson, Duke Ellington, and Danny Kaye. The Oriental also hosted live performances by such artists as Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Little Richard.
Soon the theater fell into disrepair. In an effort to preserve the theatre, it was added to the Federal National Registry of Historic Places in 1978. The theatre was closed to the public in 1981. In 1996, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley stepped in and announced that the venue would be restored to its original grandeur for the presentation of live stage musicals.
Renamed the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in 1997, the restoration was completed in October 1998 and opened with the Chicago premiere of Ragtime. Broadway In Chicago, formed in 2000, began to light the stage with the record-breaking run of Wicked and the long-run production of Billy Elliott, along with many Pre-Broadway World Premieres.
In February 2019, the theatre was renamed the James M. Nederlander Theatre, in honor of the legendary Broadway theatre owner and producer James M. Nederlander.