Skokie Theatre Music Foundation

Now the Gorilla Tango Theatre!

A complete gut renovation and adaptive reuse of a 4,500 square foot, 314 seat movie theatre into a 5,000 square foot, 149 seat live music hall. A second story mezzanine was added to accommodate offices, a conference room, spotlight room, and auxiliary sound booth.

Nicholas Clark Architects worked closely with Schuler and Shook in the planning of the theatre, as well as acoustical designer Kirkegaard and Associates and lighting designer White Light Design to create a first class music hall. The long, narrow rectangular space posed a great acoustical challenge. Birch faced plywood panels were incorporated into the house of the theatre as well as the shell of the stage to create an intimate setting as well as acoustically superior conditions. Exposed brick walls were also utilized to enhance the acoustical performance of the space.

The building was taken down to the masonry shell. The original concrete floor was completely excavated to create new inclines for better sight lines to the stage. All of the wiring and cabling for the audio/visual systems were installed in the concrete floor as well. A new backstage ‘green’ room and stage which can accommodate up to a 15 piece band was also designed.

The front façade was carefully considered by reinstating a new neon marquee reminiscent of the original marquee. Glazed terra cotta work was painstakingly repaired and new interior lit display cases set into the terra cotta tile were installed.

The original curved mirrored soffit in the lobby was reconstructed. However, the lobby space was expanded and completely reconfigured to accommodate larger crowds during intermissions.


Location: Chicago, IL
Design: 2004-2005
Construction: 2005-2006
Design Principal: Ann Clark
Project Architect: Erin Bahrke
General Contractor: Fricano Construction Company
Theatre Planning Consultant: Schuler and Shook
Acoustical Engineer: Jonathan Darling: Kirkegaard Associates
Mechanical Engineer: Mike Janis, Quest Design
Structural Engineer: The Structural Shop
Photography: Barry Rustin
Skokie Theatre
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