CHICAGO -- When it opened in 1959, it was among the first dinner theaters in America. Candlelight Dinner Playhouse and its adjoining Forum Theatre became Chicago staples, introducing thousands to the latest Broadway musicals. In June 1997, the Equity complex was suddenly repossessed after a bank loan went unpaid. Fortunately, the actors who were locked out of their work have since been paid. Unfortunately, a December 1997 auction made it official: The theatrical powerhouse on Harlem Avenue was sold to the Portillo hotdog empire. The shows won't go on.
Utterly unexpected, the demise has created a showbiz void for Chicago's South Side and south suburbs that may never be filled.
-- By Lawrence Bommer