10 Best Live Theater Venues in Illinois!

Live theaters: Incredible spaces with an undeniable aura of old-fashioned splendor. Illinois is home to several exquisite live theaters, each with a diverse and magnificent history. Some of these theaters date back to the early 20th century and boast some of the most elaborate architecture in the country. The following theaters have all hosted noteworthy productions ranging from dramatics to opera and are still operating today. 

The Chicago Theatre, Chicago, IL

This Chicago landmark is one of the most famous theatres in the country. Located in the Loop, the Chicago Theatre features an exquisite interior complete with French Baroque-style architecture. The auditorium seats 3,600 people and has seen the world’s brightest stars including Prince, Robin Williams, Aretha Franklin, and many other celebrities. 

Arcada Theatre, St. Charles, IL

Built in 1926, the Arcada Theatre is considered the “gem of the Fox Valley.” It has been completely restored to its original splendor, featuring a pipe organ and old-fashioned elegance of the 1920s. This magnificent venue seats around 900 people and has hosted iconic stars like Jerry Lewis, Martin Short, and Mickey Rooney. 

Chopin Theatre, Chicago, IL

Founded in 1990, the Chopin Theatre is a pillar in the Chicago community. This active arts center has hosted over 1,800 diverse events in film, theater, music, literacy, and other various artistic offerings. The Chopin Theatre was originally built in 1918 and features two stages. 

Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL

Dating back to the late 1800s and the Great Chicago Fire, The Auditorium Theatre has been a glorious site for over 126 years. It’s a National Landmark and a magnificent display of architecture, history, and art. A wide variety of music, dance, and other creative engagements are held here, along with historic theatre tours for guests. 

Black Ensemble Theater and Cultural Center, Chicago, IL

Founded in 1976 by Jackie Taylor, Black Ensemble Theater is one of the most diverse theaters in the country and the only theater promoting the eradication of racism through theater arts. Located in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, this innovated theater boasts excellent musical performances and has evolved into an internationally renowned arts institution. 

Rosemont Theatre, Rosemont, IL

The Rosemont Theatre is known for hosting world-class entertainers, full-scale productions, and Broadway musicals. This plush theatre features extra-wide aisles and superior sound systems for unforgettable performance experiences. It’s also located in the heart of Rosemont near the Allstate Arena, DES Convention Center, and ML Financial Park. 

Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago, IL

Few theaters have as much history as the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago. Built in the early 1900s, this long-standing landmark has served as parish, high school, and temporary church over the years. Although severely damaged from the Chicago Fire in 1939, this architectural beauty has hosted magnificent orchestral, dance, opera, and dramatic performances throughout the decades. 

Corn Stock Theatre, Peoria, IL

Founded in 1954, Corn Stock Theatre was founded by a small group of friends with a love for quality theatre. It was the first outdoor theatre in Central Illinois and hosted many successful performances. Although Corn Stock has refined its appearance throughout the years, its mission has always been to entertain and enlighten through dramatic arts while providing an educational environment for creative artists to study theatre. 

Rialto Square Theatre, Joliet, IL

This ornate theatre was built in 1926 and boasts magnificent European architecture from Eugene Romero, a Sicilian immigrant who settled in the Chicago area. Known as the “Jewel of Joliet”, Rialto Square has always encouraged cultural and artistic development. It’s definitely a stunning landmark worth visiting for the architecture if not for a performance. 

Genesee Theatre, Waukegan, IL

The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan is a beautiful piece of history and reminiscent of the early 20th century. It’s been impeccably maintained to retain its original grandeur, making it one of the most interesting live theaters in the state. The Genesee Theatre seats 2,416 and features a variety of events. 

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600 North East Street, Bloomington, IL
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201 Robinhood Lane, Bloomington, IL
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209 North Street, Normal, IL
History: The Normal Theater is a fully restored Art Deco movie theater in the heart of downtown Normal. Built in 1937, it was a state-of-the-art ci... Read More
209 North Street, Normal, IL
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100 N University Street, Normal, IL
Prior to 1976, there had been theatre leaders in the state who felt there was a need for an alternative to a statewide student theatrical event of ... Read More
Memorial Center - 104 East University Avenue, Bloomington, IL
Performance Location Memorial Center - 104 East University Avenue, Bloomington, IL 61701 Presser Hall - 1210 North Park Street, Bloomington, IL 6... Read More
1110 Douglas Street, Normal, IL
Mission: To provide the citizens of Central Illinois with quality professional theatre utilizing first-rate talent and provide theatre artists a m... Read More
300 College Avenue, Eureka, IL
Mission : Our mission is to create theatre artists of the highest caliber who are well educated in all areas of theatre arts and drama so ... Read More
100 Campus View Drive, Lincoln, IL
History : Lincoln Community Theatre was born in the spring of 1972. An idea for a Community Theatre had been in the minds of several local reside... Read More
131 North Water Street, Decatur, IL
About Theatre 7 : Theatre 7 started as a spin off from another Decatur theatrical group called “Town and Gown.”  It was directed ... Read More
1401 East Washington Street, East Peoria, IL
History: Eastlight Theatre was created by an Intergovernmental Agreement between three local entities: the City of East Peoria, the Fon du Lac Pa... Read More
1012 Columbus Road, Streator, IL
About Us:Community Players of Streator, Inc. evolved from a small group of people who "simply wanted to put on a play", according to Donna Peterson... Read More
119 North Vermillion Street, Streator, IL
 Art Deco Theatre features 550 seats and a full balcony! Read More
1700 North Park Road, Peoria, IL
About Corn Stock Theatre Founding: 1954 The enthusiasm and resourcefulness of a small group of friends with one strong common interest in quality t... Read More
4300 N University Street, Peoria, IL
History: Peoria Players Theatre in Peoria, Illinois, is the oldest continuously running community theater in the state and the fourth oldest in t... Read More
2400 West Bradley Avenue, Champaign, IL
About Our multi-venue facility is host a myriad of performance art and serves a training center for actors and theatrical technicians. The blend o... Read More
203 West Park Avenue, Champaign, IL
Owned and operated by the Champaign Park District since 2000, the Virginia Theatre is an historic performing arts center and movie palace that host... Read More
126 West Church Street, Champaign, IL
Mission The Art Theater’s mission is to: - Cultivate and engage audiences for US independent and international cinema; - Promote culture, ... Read More
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