Music Box Theatre

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Music Box Theatre Searching for plays, musicals, or performances at The Music Box Theatre in Chicago? Check out Party Earth for the latest schedules, photos, videos, and more at this incredible Theater! Chicago United States 41.949864 -87.663945
4.44 11
Music Box Theatre - Theater in Chicago.
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Party Earth Review When the 800-seat Music Box Theatre opened in 1929, it was considered the little sister to the much larger movie palaces of the day, but its intimate size belies a calendar packed with more than three hundred different... ... read full review

  • Train:

    Brown Line: Southport; Red Line: Addison

  • Phone:

    Show times: 773-871-6604
    Office: 773-871-6607

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Open daily half an hour before the first show, show times vary

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Music Box Theatre Videos

David Lynch's Inland Empire at the Music Box Theater Chicago
David Lynch's Inland Empire at the Music Box Theater Chicago
Tommy Wiseau introduces 'The Room' - Musicbox Theater, Chicago, 2-12-10
Ben & Casey Affleck at Chicago premiere
Chicago Birdemic Screening at The Music Box Theater
"Stop Making Sense" film screening, dance party at the Music Box Theatre, Chicago IL, 2011
Harold Ramis Music Box Theatre Chicago 2
Brief tour of the Music Box Theatre (8-14-11)

Party Earth Music Box Theatre Review

The Scene

Searching for plays, musicals, or performances at The Music Box Theatre in Chicago? Check out Party Earth for the latest schedules, photos, videos, and more at this incredible Theater!

When the 800-seat Music Box Theatre opened in 1929, it was considered the little sister to the much larger movie palaces of the day, but its intimate size belies a calendar packed with more than three hundred different movie showings a year.

Restored in the 80s, this is not a place to catch the latest Zac Efron vehicle, but rather lesser known indie features, documentaries, and cult classics that graced the big screen decades ago, if at all.

An interactive film experience thrives at many shows, with bubbly audience members dressing in costume and throwing confetti, or just enjoying the old-school feel of the live organist who accompanies some of the movies.

Special events are frequent, from Mary Poppins sing-alongs to director talks, with previous guest hosts including Patton Oswalt, John Cusack, and John Waters.

Missing the theater would be difficult, what with the giant, antique letters hanging on the florescent sign stretching down from the peaked roof, or the glowing marquee touting features most passersby never heard of.

The old – though newly upholstered – seats are soft but smaller than the modern theatergoer might expect, so guests are assured cozy/creepy comfort depending on whom they’re with.

But as the lights go down and tiny bulbs start sparkling in the ceiling like stars in the night sky, that old-fashioned movie magic takes over the Music Box Theatre, bolstered by The Godfather…or maybe Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

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Tip from Emma:

If you are attending an audience participation screening, you’ll probably want to watch whatever movie is scheduled beforehand so you’ll know what’s going on. You won’t be able to hear much of the dialogue over the crowd at the theater!

  • Crowd

    Goofy college kids, film geeks, esoteric movie fans, cult classic cravers, documentary devotees, professorial types overanalyzing every scene. All ages.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Large and varied schedule of silent films, cult classics, awesomely bad movies, art house, indie flicks, classics, foreign films, horror, and documentaries.

    Occasional live talks or performances before or during the film.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Standard theater goodies like candy and popcorn.

    Discount tickets for multiple films available.

  • Prices

    Tickets $5–$10, up to $30 for special events.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes, including full costumes that range from golden underpants, fishnets, and garter belts (Rocky Horror Picture Show) to nothing but a bathrobe (The Big Lebowski).

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Mondays for the cheapest movie tickets of the week or every Friday and Saturday night to catch two films back-to-back.

  • Close By

    The Blue Bayou (3734 North Southport Avenue) is a New Orleans-themed bar and grill just across the street.

Music Box Theatre User Reviews

Average rating:
Get Your Geek On
Carissa L. Jun 28, 2013
Just over a year ago, I took my boyfriend here for Valentine’s Day to see his favorite childhood movie, ‘The Princess Bride’. It was an audience participation event, complete with a goodie bag so that we could blow bubbles as Buttercup and Westley kissed and eat chocolate to help Westley come back to life. We’re dorks, and it was awesome. He claims it’s the night he knew I was the one, and this Valentine’s Day I took my husband to see ‘Casablanca’ (yes, they’re the same person!). The seats aren’t the most comfortable and the seating is almost level so you’ll want to make sure you’re not stuck behind Andre the Giant. That’s not an uncommon sacrifice to make for watching a movie in a gorgeously ornate, old-school theatre, and it’s worth it. If you like to geek-out I highly recommend going to one of the special events, but they also regularly play a lot of indie and old films that you’re unlikely to see anywhere else.
Not Your Usual Movie Theater
Simmone S. May 27, 2013
The Music Box is definitely not your average multiplex that screens the latest action movie or Disney flick. Viewers of the theater instead may enjoy classic, timeless films or experience engaging film series. The theater itself is a landmark in Chicago and as such is gorgeous from the inside out. It has the look and feel of a historic theater, because it is! Though small, the theater makes up for its lack of size and film choice with jaw-dropping high ceilings, stone architecture, and balcony seating. Cinephiles beware - once discovering the Music Box it will be hard not to return. Its in a great neighborhood, has a great selection of films, and offers the ambiance of a classic old theater.
Reliving the Golden Age
Frankie H. May 15, 2013
Let's face it, movie-goers have been spoiled beyond belief in the past decade. The majority of films released are in 3D and nearly every movie theater has transitioned to digital projection. These advancements in technology have their benefits, but in a way, it takes away from the nostalgia and overall good feeling of going to the movies. The Music Box Theater is one of the few left of its kind. It's the kind of theater that upon entering the front doors, you're being greeted by the aromas of fresh popcorn, real butter, and an aging theater lobby. The Music Box is a prime example of what vintage stands for. It's not old, decrepit and reeking of cleaning products, but retro and maintained, giving our millennium a taste of the 30's. The size of the theater is remarkable and the detail from the wall to the ceiling is breathtaking. I don't enjoy the seats during their movie marathons, but when you're being taken away by the unique experience of watching a movie here, you don't pay the seats any mind. If you're looking for a truly iconic neighborhood feeling, focusing on quality over quantity, this is where you'll find it. My first experience at the theater was to see a free advanced screening of a movie. I was thoroughly impressed by the theater and it exceeded my expectations. I couldn't remember the last time I entered a movie theater and felt as if it were my first time in one. I had also been tainted by working at numerous theaters and studying film, therefore, the magic of movies seemed long gone for me. From this point on, I attended several midnight shows at the Music Box, which is part of their weekly lineup. They play classic movies on Friday and Saturday nights in 35mm projection. I've also been to countless horror movie events where I was able to watch classics for the first time, the way they were intended to be watched and even met some famous filmmakers. All I can say is that the Music Box Theater is a place that will effect everyone differently, leaving it up to you on what memories you want to make there. This theater was a staple for my mom's family growing up, and 50 years later, it still resonates with a whole new generation and I hope to continue the trend.
Memorable Experience!
Maggie R. Mar 31, 2013
The one time I was at the Music Box Theatre was for a production of Rocky Horror Picture Show on Halloween night. I had never seen the show before, and I was definitely in for a great night! Everywhere I looked were people in costume, many of whom were dressed up as characters from the film. The actors in the show were wandering around and mingling with people standing in line for tickets, too, and the concession area was selling bags of various assorted items for people to throw at the screen during the show. The venue itself was beautiful. It has a very classic, vintage vibe to it, with red velvet seats and an old-fashioned, curtained stage. Everything about the theatre felt like classic Hollywood. And the show itself was amazing. The Music Box definitely left an amazing impression, and I'm eager to return for a different show--or maybe the same one again! The ticket prices are super reasonable too, which was an added perk. It's easy to tell that the people at the theatre were frequent visitors too. They added a nice homey vibe to the whole experience and made me feel as though I was in for a great night. There are a couple restaurants nearby as well, so it's definitely possible to make a great night out of a trip to the Music Box. Highly recommended!
A Retro Movie Experience
Brian Z. Feb 19, 2013
In this age of cookie-cutter rom-coms and tacky sequels, finding a good movie, let alone a good place to watch one, can feel like a lost cause. But for those of you still wandering, fear not. There are good movies being played in Chicago, and you can see them at the Music Box in Andersonville. The Music Box is different from other theaters in the area. The first thing you notice is how old-fashioned it is, with bright, glowing letters above the marquee and a lobby lined with plush carpet The theater itself is exactly what you’d picture if I told you to close your eyes and imagine the kind of theater your grandfather went to as a kid. It’s gorgeous in a retro sense. Red velvet curtains hang by the sides of the movie screen, and lights shaped like clouds drift across the ceiling. The movies here projected from real film from a projector high overhead, which results in a startlingly vivid onscreen image. And the audio quality, which is crystal clear, makes for an extremely comfortable cinematic experience. But the best part has to be the organist who plays songs like “There’s No Business Like Show Business” before the start of each show. It doesn’t get more authentic than that. If you’re even a moderate film buff and are ever in Chicago, make sure to check this place out. It plays everything from foreign films to art house classics, silent cinema to hilariously awful B-movies. And with ticket prices averaging a very reasonable $9.25, you can actually afford to buy something from the concession stand without having to take out a mortgage.
Unique location for movies
Brinda G. Dec 12, 2012
The Music Box doesn’t have the luxuries of new movie theaters, but it looks awesome inside. It doesn’t usually have first-run movies. Instead, they schedule interesting things all over the map—holiday movies, sing-a-longs, cult classics, retrospectives, etc. My favorite events have been screenings of “The Room,” probably the worst movie ever made. The Music Box brings in writer/director/actor Tommy Wiseau, and the events are always hilarious chaos. I’ve also seen silent movies here, which are really cool because an organist plays the score on the theater’s original organ. If you’re a film nerd, you’ll likely have many reasons to check out the Music Box’s shows.
Holiday classic with a cult-like feel
Nick T. Nov 12, 2012
I've only been to the Music Box during the holiday season screenings of Holiday classics like White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life so that's all I can speak to. The crowd at these screenings is 90% people that are super into the movie and the rest are first timers. The screenings are started up with singing classic holiday songs, then throughout the movie people sing, clap, cry - basically the whole spectrum of crowd interaction is covered. In my opinion - those movies are pretty brutal - but the crowd experience definitely makes the viewings more enjoyable. If you're looking for a super traditional holiday experience for the family - the Music Box is pretty cool in how unique it is.
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