Arie Crown Theater History

Arie CrownArie Crown was a Lithuanian immigrant who became an American success story. He arrived in Chicago in 1875 at 15 years old and would eventually become one of Chicago’s most successful businessmen and the patriarch of a prominent family.

The Theater that bears his name was completed in 1960 as part of the McCormick Place complex. At that time, the Arie Crown Theater was truly a giant venue, boasting over 5,000 seats and hosting some of Chicago’s most spectacular events. In 1967, McCormick Place was struck by fire. While the Arie Crown Theater itself was spared, major reconstruction of McCormick Place forced the Theater to close. When it reopened in 1971, the Arie Crown had been partially rebuilt and was reduced in size. The Theater enjoyed many national Broadway shows upon reopening. ‘Peter Pan’ swung from the rafters, Carol Channing crooned ‘Hello Dolly’ and Yul Brenner ruled in ‘The King and I’. The Theater continues to host concerts, musicals, trade shows and corporate events. Famous and fascinating individuals have graced the Arie Crown’s historic stage over the last half-century. From prima ballerinas to rock-n-roll bands, here’s a list of some of the diverse and talented performers seen at the Arie Crown Theater:

George Dalaras


Mikhail Baryshnikov

Tony Bennett

Jimmy Buffett


Bill Cosby

Elton John

The Ruth Page Nutcracker

Jerry Seinfeld

Tina Turner

The Eagles

Simon & Garfunkel

The Supremes

Nancy Wilson

Luis Miguel

Elvis Costello

Crosby Stills and Nash

The Bolshoi Ballet

George Carlin

Natalie Cole

Earth, Wind & Fire

Tom Jones

The Partridge Family

Frank Sinatra

Barry White

Billy Joel

The Four Seasons

The Temptations

Sheryl Crow

Alla Pugacheva

The Beach Boys

The Boston Pops

Ray Charles

David Copperfield

Whitney Houston


Bob Dylan

Mel Torme

Stevie Wonder

Carol King

The Rolling Stones

Roger Waters

The Carpenters

In addition, an impressive list of politicians, dignitaries and sports personalities have spoken during corporate and community events, including:

John F. Kennedy

George Bush

Tom Brokaw

George W. Bush

Walter Payton

Studs Terkel

Gerald R. Ford

Bill Clinton

Gwendolyn Brooks

Bill Gates

Colin Powell

Iyanla Vanzant

Ronald Reagan

Maya Angelou

Barbara Bush

Martin Luther King

Sammy Sosa

Oprah Winfrey

The Arie Crown Theater entered the 21st century with $6.5 million of redesign and renovation. Architecturally, it is a perfect combination of past and present, combining a diverse theater heritage with modern facilities and comfort. In the new millennium, the Theater continues to provide Chicago with a home for top-name entertainment and large-scale corporate meetings. If you haven’t visited us recently, take a look at our upcoming schedule of events and come experience the Arie Crown Theater for yourself. We look forward to seeing you soon!

ACT logo GoldLakeside Center/McCormick Place
2301 S. Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60616

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