Copernicus Center

5216 W. Lawrence Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60630

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Showing 1 - 25 of 77 comments

bdzmusicprod on June 21, 2018 at 5:59 pm

This was the second of two atmospheric theaters by Rapp and Rapp. The other was the Paramount in Toledo, Ohio now demolished

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on January 10, 2017 at 7:45 am

I ended my 2016 concert year exactly the way I began it—with a Tributosauras concert.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on July 20, 2016 at 6:54 am

This place still does concert. Earlier this year I say Tributosauras Plays Queen and it was a good show. The theater appeared to be in great shape.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on October 17, 2010 at 6:43 pm

They put a new screen up. Finally!!!!

mp775 on October 12, 2010 at 5:47 am

If the Copernicus Foundation is planning a NEW theater for the site next to the Gateway, that means the land underneath the Gateway could become “ample free parking” for the new theater…

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on August 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Jay Warren for Mayor, 2011

Twilly on August 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Pay toilets are next!

jwarren on August 24, 2010 at 1:17 pm

That’s because they can’t make any money off of it – so out it goes!

GFeret on August 23, 2010 at 9:49 am

i was here in the gateway just the other wknd for a show

jackasses don’t even have an ordinary water fountain anymore

TLSLOEWS on July 16, 2010 at 3:51 pm

WoW this Theatre had one great vertical sign at one time.

jwarren on June 29, 2010 at 1:29 pm

The Gateway struck me as a smaller, plainer (cheaper) version of the Southtown. But when the Gateway in full decorative lighting is experienced, it is truly stunning.

Scott on June 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I hadn’t thought of the exterior (as is) qualifying for landmark status. That’s an interesting perspective. You’re certainly right about the interior. Though it is somewhat plain by 1920s standards, it is still an attractive design, and as you said, that rare Rapp & Rapp atmospheric. The only other one I know of is the Paramount in Toledo (razed).

PeeWeeValance on June 29, 2010 at 11:11 am

Equally good points Scott. For sure the Copernicus Foundation would fight any landmark action. The mix of board members (those in the inner circle) have been waiting for the $hip to come in (thus the opposition to landmarking), only to have the economy tank. The interior of the theatre has been altered only slightly, plus it is a rare Rapp & Rapp atmospheric, and one of Chicago’s first designed for sound film theatres which should certainly qualify it for landmark status. The radical alterations to the exterior were done so many years ago (including the replica Warsaw castle clock tower – a true neighborhood beacon of sorts) that the alterations themselves now qualify for landmark status.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 29, 2010 at 10:53 am

It will be a long time before the real estate market in Chicago shows any luster again. There has been so much construction in the last ten years. The fact that they seem to make efforts to keep the theatre consistently booked is a sign that they share this view.

Scott on June 29, 2010 at 10:28 am

Good point PeeWee. Although, I suspect the Copernicus Foundation would fight like crazy against landmarking. In addition, and I don’t know much about either the local Chicago landmark or the National Register of Historic Places landmarking processes, but I wonder if the radical changes made to the exterior years ago would make it harder to get landmark protection? That would probably be an argument advanced by Copernicus against having it landmarked.

PeeWeeValance on June 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

I’d be still be skeptical about the longevity of the Gateway. The people in charge of the Copernicus Foundation (not many arts minded individuals – mostly lawyers, developers, and real estate types) are in love with the Copernicus Foundation and NOT the Gateway Theatre. The clock tower portion of the building and the proposed new addition that fronts Lawrence Avenue would remain, but the theatre could be gone when the economy recovers. The recent visual improvements to the theatre are a pittance compared to the pricey land the theatre sits on. The Gateway had asbestos removal completed in 2005 (in other words, it’s ready to go) — so teardown could occur before any grassroots action to save the theatre could be organized. THE THEATRE SHOULD BE LANDMARKED NOW TO AVOID THIS POTENTIAL TRAGEDY.

WaltK13 on June 28, 2010 at 7:43 pm

For those who may be interested, The Copernicus Foundation has just acquired the old factory building next to it, on the east, and the parking lot across the street from it for the expansion of the center. From the plans I saw on display in the lobby this weekend, they are planning a new 200 seat in-the-round theater, office and meeting space for the addition. So, it looks like the old Gateway in its new incarnation, may be secure for some time to come.

Lamper on June 18, 2010 at 11:54 am

As stated on my other posts I am so glad I found this site!!! I have enjoyed reading all and I mean all the post about several of the theaters that I have looked up.

Back in 1995 â€" 1997 I did production for many events @ the Gateway everything from Pay to Play Heavy metal shows to Indian pop music that the promoters spared no expense to put on.
Overall the place was in great shape back then always clean very clean. About the craziest thing to happen while I was working a show there was when the lead singer of a National Punk band kept jumping up and down so hard in one spot of the stage (down stage right) he put a hole in the stage and fell about 2.5” down.
Attendance at most of the rock shows was poor, it wasn’t a big deal to play the Gateway it was just another place for all ages music. In the mid 90’s my old boss told me that the place would be backed to see all types of glam metal acts
The Indian shows packed the place every single time. I was told that ticket prices were big back then ~$100 for the first few rows then prices worked their way back as you went further back in the house.

In late 1997 early 1998 my new business partner and I put together a proposal for the manager of the Gateway for a PA system and lighting system that would be suitable for any type of live production that came through. He liked it and it was considered for a time but the insurance company was reviewing the riders for live performance, I guess the liability was pretty high when it came to live shows. One of the best things about the meeting was that we got an official tour of the place, nothing I hadn’t see before except for taking a trip above the auditoriums ceiling knowing you were a good distance from the floor was something but walking on the catwalk gave you just this feeling of being in a subterranean level, I know that is an oxymoron right…..

The house staff was great they never had a bad attitude from the time we rolled in they at 2pm and not rolling out until 2am after hours of ear bleeding music still happy but glad the night was over.

I haven’t done a show there since 1998 and I miss the place a lot it was a great place to be a lot of the talk about the place becoming a condo complex makes me sick.

Sorry never took pictures I was just a 18 â€" 20 year old kid when I was there working never thought to snap pictures back then at the Gateway.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on January 15, 2010 at 11:23 am

I don’t know the Polish word for ozone; however, the Irish word for ozone is “O'Zone.”

GFeret on January 15, 2010 at 9:57 am

tim o'neill:

what’s the polish word for ozone?

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on November 21, 2009 at 11:49 am

I am the projectionist at the Gateway and they STILL have carbon arc lamphouses. Trust me. They hardly ever show movies there, but next time they do, come on upstairs and you can check them out.

GFeret on November 18, 2009 at 7:49 am

Pardon me I may’ve heard differently, that either the MILFORD or the ESQUIRE Theatres (when the latter was a single screen, before ‘plexing) were in fact the last of the hard-top carbon arcs.

Am I misunderstanding the above post tell me, the wording implies Gateway STILL has an old carbon-arc lamphouse on its projector(s).

Drive-in theatres in this area (down to a couple?) probably never changed over to Xenon.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on October 29, 2009 at 10:58 pm

One interesting fact about the Gateway Theatre. It is the last theatre in Chicago to have carbon arc lamphouses. I’ve been a projectionist at the Gateway for 16 years and I hope the Copernicus people do something special to commemorate the theatre’s upcoming 80th Anniversary.