Skokie Theatre

7924 Lincoln Avenue,
Skokie, IL 60077

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Skokie Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Functions: Live Performances

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Niles Center Theatre, Center Theatre, Gorilla Tango Skokie Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 847.677.7761

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News About This Theater

Gorilla Tango Skokie Theatre, Skokie, IL - interior

Originally opened as the 425-seat Niles Center Theatre in 1915, in the village of Niles Center, IL. It was built by Samuel Meyer. In 1942 it was remodeled, the front steps and balcony were removed, the theatre was enlarged and a new facade in a classic Art Moderne style was added. Renamed the Skokie Theatre, the village had changed its name from Niles Center to Skokie in 1940. This single-screen movie house with its brown & white checkboard facade was for many years a first run house, but in the last couple of decades, closed and opened a number of times. The Skokie Theatre was screening a mix of art/foreign film, second run commercial fare, and Bollywood movies when it closed for the last time in fall of 2004.

The theatre was acquired in spring of 2005 by the Skokie Theatre Music Foundation (then called the Cavalcade of Music Foundation), based in the Chicago suburb of Kenilworth, which has converted the Skokie Theatre into a 148-seat concert venue for various styles of music. Renovations, have included new lighting and sound systems, repairs to the exterior, and making the building handicap accessable. The marquee has also been restored and relit. It was closed on December 31, 2011.

It was reopened in April 2012 as the Skokie branch of the popular Bucktown neighborhood’s Gorilla Tango Theatre, now called the Gorilla Tango Bucktown. In Skokie, the program features sketch, improv comedy, burlesque and other live entertainment. In April 2015 it was taken over by Madkap Productions and renamed Skokie Theatre.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft, EricV

Recent comments (view all 43 comments)

DavidZornig on May 3, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Greetings ken mc. Neither link seems to work.
I tried accessing them from a couple different servers, to no avail.

CSWalczak on December 28, 2011 at 11:24 pm

The Skokie Theater is closing as of December 31, 2011 and the theater is for sale:,0,7040078.story

DavidZornig on December 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I’m sorry to see it close. Al Curtis & his crew did a great job trying to keep it versatile. I don’t know why the bank/owners would think it will look more viable to potential buyers, if it’s completely inactive. Defies logic really. Sell the sizzle, not the steak.

Since they knew they were keeping theater style seating, I think the renovation should have kept the old or newer projectors in place. So it could moonlight an an art house and run films on off nights. Like the old Varsity & Parkway used to.

Once they knew that they weren’t keeping them, the seating design should have been changed to one with tables or standing room by the stage like at Martyrs on Lincoln in the city. And removed the inclined floor. Strictly theater seating limited themselves and the venue to attracting younger acts and their followings. Or older tribute acts with crowds that could move about inside. Martyrs or the Vic is the best examples I can think of.

With a capacity of only 148 people, even at $25 a ticket for sell-outs, there’s not enough left to pay for bigger name talent. Add in virtually zero foot traffic, and you have an even bigger struggle.

I wish them all the best of luck.

Broan on December 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I doubt there was room for projectors when it was done. The place is just too small and narrow – only 10 seats wide. As much as I love old theaters, this should have been turned into a store, they could have built a better theater in almost any building and fit more than 148 people in it. How difficult can it be to have “perfect acoustics” in such a tiny space? 1.5 million could have gone a lot farther elsewhere.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm

And now Gorilla Tango might be selling the theater

Trolleyguy on June 22, 2015 at 7:26 pm

The Gorilla Tango website only shows listings for the Chicago space.

DavidZornig on June 22, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Gorilla Tango ended up letting MadKap Productions take over management of it back in April I recall. MadKap had originally bid against Gorilla Tango when it was for sale. The attached article below is from when MadKap first took over. But I think MadKap’s intention was to eventually purchase it from Gorilla Tango. Though I can’t find that original news story. I don’t know if MadKap owns it outright yet or not.

EricV on August 8, 2017 at 11:05 pm

The Skokie Theatre has been doing very well according to a local news story. Their combination of cabaret, Madkap theatre productions and music events seems to be working. Local artist/muralist Sick Fisher is currently painting a mural on the north side of the building.

DavidZornig on June 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm

Here are direct links again to the 1983 and `84 photos, credit American Classic Images website. Click on images in site to enlarge. (Previous 2009 link is dead.)

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