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Want To Tour The Uptown Theatre? Make A Donation To Cappleman's Campaign

By  Josh McGhee and Heather Cherone | March 23, 2017 1:35pm 

 The Uptown Theatre, closed for decades, could finally be revitalized as part of a plan for a bolstered Uptown Entertainment District.
The Uptown Theatre, closed for decades, could finally be revitalized as part of a plan for a bolstered Uptown Entertainment District.
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DNAinfo/Adeshina Emmanuel

UPTOWN — Dying to get a peek inside the Uptown Theatre?

Neighbors will get an opportunity to tour the long-vacant 92-year-old landmark in May — and all it will cost is a donation to 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman.

Citizens for Cappleman will host a tour of the theater at  Broadway and Lawrence avenues that has been closed to the public for 25 years at 6:30 p.m. on May 17.

Cappleman's term on the City Council ends in 2019.

Tickets for the tour, which are available online, start at $100 for ward residents and $250 for nonresidents. More expensive options available for more generous donors.

The 46th Ward office said it could not comment on political fundraisers during business hours.

Dick Simpson, a former alderman and a political science professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, said it was a "good thing" for Cappleman to try to draw attention to the theater that needs tens of millions of dollars worth of renovations.

Since 2008, the theater has been owned by Jam Productions, which has asked city officials to help pay for that work.

It was unclear whether Cappleman plans to pay Jam for the use of the former movie palace at 4816 N. Broadway Ave. built by C.W. Rapp and Geo L. Rapp.

If Cappleman does not pay for the use of the theater, he will have to report the value of the use of the space as a contribution from Jam, Simpson said.

Because the theater is not open to the public, that amount would be based on what it would cost to rent a comparable facility, like the Aragon Ballroom, Simpson said.

During the 1970s, the Uptown Theatre was revived as a music venue, hosting musicians like Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band, Prince, Bob Marley, the Grateful Dead, ELO, Elvis Costello, Santana, Rod Stewart and Rick James.

The neighborhood fixture hosted its last show in the 1980s and was closed after a flood in 1981, but in recent years there's been talk of reviving it for a third act.

Earlier this year, singer Regina Spektor released a video for her song "Black and White" featuring the performance of a classical ballerina moving throughout the Uptown Theatre.