Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The glorious Regal Theatre is open again and promising to send a bolt of lightning through Chicago’s entertainment community. Purchased in 2007 by Regina Evans, it is now known as The Legendary Regal and it is living up to its name.
Designed by John Eberson in 1927 after an incense burner he found in a New Orleans antique shop, the theatre at 1645 East 79th Street was originally named The Avalon. The current owner has maintained and polished its intriguing Arabian Nights motif throughout. The spacious two-story lobby features brightly tiled floors, Middle Eastern-inspired mosaics and signage. With a capacity of 300, the lobby is available for parties when the theatre is dark by calling 312/656-7467.
The auditorium is breathtaking! Seating capacity is 2,250 on the main floor and the balcony. The ceiling features twinkling stars and the light booth is in an Aladdin skyline of minarets and onion domes.
Among features audiences will not see is a totally modernized backstage area of comfortable dressing rooms on three levels and a room for hairstyling and make-up. The theatre has purchased and renovated an adjacent apartment building for stars to stay in while appearing at The Regal. The owner is proceeding with plans for a dance studio and a photography studio in the complex. With the help of grants, We Are Our Brother’s Keeper offers GED classes in the building.
The Regal’s General Manager is Rick McCoy. Working closely with him as Talent Coordinator is the Entertainment Editor of THE VOICE Newspapers, Andrew Griffin. Andrew is well-known on Chicago’s West Side as an artist developer, recording engineer, and entertainment producer. He was Jennifer Hudson’s first manager. Andrew and the management team want performers and audiences from throughout the city to feel at home in The Regal. Plans are in motion for monthly talent shows along the lines of Showtime at the Apollo, and negotiations are underway with local TV stations to broadcast the events.
The goal is to make The Legendary Regal Chicago’s African American Cultural Capitol, with a continuous schedule of the highest quality productions, including gospel, jazz, blues, R&B, classical music, and, of course, dramatic, comedic, and musical plays. Already Tyler Perry has sent word he intends to bring productions to The Regal.
Charles Lewis is the South Side Talent Coordinator and The Chicago Defender’s respected theatre critic Earl Calloway is working with The Regal to attract the finest plays and brightest stars to make The Regal Chicago’s paramount cultural center.
Andrew Griffin is building a comprehensive artists registry and he urges performers of all types to contact him at 312/656-7467. Electronic performance material can be e-mailed to or to Materials can be mailed to Andrew Griffin c/o The Legendary Regal Theatre, 1645 East 79th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60649.

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