Performers Kaye Ballard, Anne Reinking and Chita Rivera have offered their support to the Uptown Theater and Center for the Arts, a Chicago based organization which aims to restore the 76-year-old Uptown Theatre to its former glory. The three artists will sit on the theatre's advisory board.
The UPCA was formed last February and made clear its intention to renovate the Uptown Theatre in July, inspired by a $1 million donation from the Edith-Marie Appleton Foundation and arts patrons Albert I. And Maria Goodman. The organization wants to bring live entertainment back to the venue, including touring productions originating in New York.
The Uptown, situated at the corner of Broadway and Lawrence north of The Loop, opened as a movie and vaudeville house. In the 1970s, it became a concert hall, but was shut down in 1980.
Rivera and Reinking are both connected to the current Chicago run of the new Kander and Ebb musical The Visit, Rivera as star, Reinking as choreographer.
Over the last several years, Chicago has seen many of its old theatres rescued from decay, including the Oriental, renovated by the now defunct Livent. The landmark Harris and Selwyn theatres, their facades preserved, were incorporated into the new Goodman Theatre on Randolph Street. —By Robert Simonson