Jefferson Park-based Copernicus Foundation to bring live entertainment to historic Pickwick in Park Ridge
by BRIAN NADIG
The Copernicus Foundation, the operator of a 1,900-seat historic theater in Jefferson Park, will now be bringing live entertainment to a second historic venue, the 95-year-old Pickwick Theater in Downtown Park Ridge.
The nonprofit foundation, which was founded in 1971, and the Vlahakis and Loomos Family, the owners of the Pickwick, are forming “Copernicus @ The Pickwick.”
“Together, this new partnership will enliven and celebrate the fine arts in Chicago’s neighborhoods, allowing us to transform the theater into a modern venue space,” the foundation said in a statement.
Under the partnership, the Pickwick
will maintain its status as a movie theater while having the capabilities to house a variety of other entertainment, including live concerts and other performances, with a focus on community outreach and events.
“We look forward to bringing live shows and events back to the community of Park Ridge later this fall. Stay tuned for announcements of our opening shows and acts which are expected to begin in September,” the foundation said.
The foundation owns and operates the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., which includes the former Gateway Theater, which opened in 1930. Since the 1970s, the foundation has renovated the theater and its lobby and added office and banquet space to the complex. It hosts small to large scale events and concerts, educational workshops and culturally diverse activities as well as community programming.
The center also is home to the annual “Taste of Polonia Festival,” which is held over the Labor Day weekend. It features a variety of music, cultural activities and food and merchant vendors.
The Pickwick, with its Art Deco architecture, is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave. in the heart of the Park Ridge business district. The theater has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. It currently operates primarily as a movie theater, with the original main theater and several smaller screens. The new “Mission Impossible” is among the films being shown there.