Ramova Theatre reopens

Chicago’s legendary Ramova Theatre will re-open for New Year’s Eve with Slo’Mo — the first time the legendary Bridgeport venue will be open in 38 years.

Slo’Mo‘s Pleasure Palace NYE party will be an homage by the queer institution to the 1920s and the jazz age when the Ramova first opened. Organizers and the venue urge attendees to dress in 1920s and ’30s era attire: “Interpretations welcome; we want to see you dripping in decadence, dahling!”

Born in the late 1920s as a movie theater, the iconic Ramova makes a triumphant return reimagined as a 1500-capacity music venue, making it one of the largest of its kind on Chicago’s south side. Slo ‘Mo’s Pleasure Palace NYE is slated to be the first major event for the venue, and we are proud to usher in the new era with our femme-forward, queer-centered, joy-generating approach to performance and parties. The grand evening will feature a live jazz band like those found in the era’s clubs and speakeasies musically directed by Akenya, with scintillating dance performances choreographed by Empress Darling Shear and DJ sets by Slo ‘Mo’s VITIGRRL & Icey Bby. The grand affair is hosted by our party matriarchs, Your Godmutha & Party Mom.


Designed in the style of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, the Ramova originally opened in 1929 as the site of first-run movies. After hitting hard times, the theater closed its doors (reputedly after a showing of Police Academy 2) in 1985 and hasn’t been open since.

The City of Chicago took ownership of the theater in 2001, Bridgeport resident Maureen Sullivan founded “Save The Ramova” in 2005, according to afterthefinalcurtain.net which toured the badly damaged interior.

In November, developer Tyler Nevius (who had purchased the building from the city for $1 in 2017) announced that vocalist Jennifer Hudson, Chance The Rapper and producer Quincy Jones were part of the theater’s new ownership group, which were planning on turning the long abandoned movie palace into a live music venue seating 1,500 people (there is also a brewery, beer garden and grill opening on the site).

“My mother always taught us to take care of home first, so to support the rehabilitation of this extraordinary theater with such a rich history in Chicago means more to me than one could imagine,” Jennifer Hudson told Variety. “I am honored and thrilled to help build this new home for artists and highlight this special community in new ways that will reach far beyond the neighborhoods we call home.”

Tickets for Slo’Mo Presents: Pleasure Palace NYE at the Ramova Theatre are on sale now. The Ramova is also holding open houses for the community this Friday December 22 and on Saturday December 30.

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  1. THIS IS EXCITING NEWS!!! Three celebrated and highly respected Chi-Townians!!! Can’t wait to see it!!! THANK YOU, JHud-the Vocal Powerhouse, Chance The Rapper-Literary Extraordinaire and Quincy-J – Thee Musical Genius!!!!❤️❤️❤️

  2. This is so awesome that the three of you embarked on this renovation to bring to life the Ramova Theatre and to bring a good place for people of color, and other nationalities to enjoy.

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