Built in the wake of Chicago’s great fire, The Auditorium Theatre, designed by the firm of Adler and Sullivan, has had many incarnations: from hosting live performances, to serving as a bowling alley and servicemen’s center in WWII. Purchased by Roosevelt University in 1946, the Auditorium remained dormant until it reopened in 1967.
EverGreene began its work on the theater’s restoration in 2001 by preparing a comprehensive historic finishes study to determine the original color scheme and what would be needed to return the theater interior to its original opulence. The project included archival research, and existing finishes investigation. Mock-ups were created or review prior to implementation. Six stories above the theater floor, we restored “The Utterance of Life is a Song—The Symphony of Nature” the theater’s proscenium arch mural by Charles Holloway. Conservators cleaned the mural, and applied an isolating varnish to protect the original. We replaced lost pigmentation, and stabilized the ornamental and decorative plaster on the proscenium reducer curtain. The decorative ceiling was newly painted, and 16,000 square feet of missing gold-leaf gilding and stenciling applied. The theater’s decorative plaster and many scagliola columns repaired and refinished, and improvements to the lighting system recommended.
Today, the spectacular 4,200-seat Auditorium Theatre hosts hundreds of live music, dance and other events every year for audiences that appreciate the theater’s beauty as well as its wonderful performances.