170 North Dearborn Street
The Goodman Theatre was established 1922 with a gift from William and Erna Goodman to the Art Institute of Chicago in memory of their son, Kenneth Sawyer Goodman, who had written and produced a number of non-commercial plays in Chicago before his death in the 1918 influenza pandemic. The new theatre on the Art Institute's campus incorporated both a drama school and a professional acting company and opened on October 20, 1925 with a production of three of Goodman's one-act plays.
In the late 1980s, the theatre was outgrowing its aging space and began looking for options to either rebuild or relocate. This facility was built in the 1990s on the site of two shuttered and decaying commercial theaters, the Selwyn and the Harris. The new Goodman opened in December of 2000 with a production of August Wilson's King Hedley II. The facility houses two theatres, the 856-seat Albert Theatre and the flexible-configuration 468-seat Owen Theatre.
The Selwyn Theatre was originally built in 1922 but is notable for its later incarnation as Cinestage in the 1950s, when it was used by Mike Todd as a virtual laboratory for his film experiments, including Todd-AO sound and Smell-O-Vision. The Selwyn and it's matching twin, the Harris, were both gutted to create the Goodman Theatre complex, although the landmarked facades were preserved and incorporated into the new structure. The 1922 Harris Theatre should not be confused with a newer Harris Theatre that was built in 2002 as a classical music venue.
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' (Mary Anne Radmacher, American writer)