About Mercury Theatre
The building that houses the Mercury opened in 1912 as a silent film nickelodeon, named The Blaine Theatre after actor and former Senator and Secretary of State James G. Blaine. The Blaine became obsolete when talking pictures became popular nationwide in 1928. The much larger Music Box Theatre was then built, which is still in operation today. For most of the 20th century The Blaine served retail purposes; a carpet cleaning facility utilized the raked seating area to lay rugs out to drain water off. Though little of the original Blaine is left, some remnants still exist including the decorative plaster busts flanking the House. The intimate theater now boasts warm exposed brick walls and seats that were recovered and refurbished from a 1933 era Boston movie house.
Today Mercury Theater Chicago is led by Executive Director L. Walter Stearns, a veteran theater director and former Artistic Director of Porchlight Music Theatre. It re-opened May 1, 2011 with the critically acclaimed production of A Twist of Water, which along with the Route 66 Theatre Company, re-affirmed the Mercury as a home for Chicago stories and artists. The Mercury is thrilled to be part of the city's vibrant theatre community, boasting multiple extended runs of critically-acclaimed productions including Freud's Last Session and Avenue Q and establishing a new annual holiday tradition with the heartwarming holiday musical The Christmas Schooner.