ROGERS PARK — A historical theater in Rogers Park is getting yet another makeover, this time morphing into The Rhapsody Theater that will host magic shows and concerts, and contain a restaurant.
The Rhapsody Theater is opening in May in the former Mayne Stage space at 1328 W. Morse Ave. Serving most recently as a wedding and events space, the circa 1912 theater will return as an entertainment venue centered around magic performances.
The new venture comes from Dr. Ricardo T. Rosenkranz, a physician and professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Rosenkranz is also a highly regarded illusionist who produces “The Rosenkranz Mysteries.”
Rosenkranz and his team bought the Mayne Stage space from Col. Jennifer Pritzker’s TAWANI Enterprises, which listed the 23,000-square-foot theater and restaurant building for sale.
The Rhapsody Theater will host magicians as well as concerts featuring world music, chamber music, cabaret and dance performances, the company said in a news release. Rosenkranz will serve as the theater’s managing partner and artistic director.
“… Our ultimate goal is to bring a whole new genre of theatrical and musical experiences to Chicago,” Rosenkranz said in a statement. “We are honored to become a part of the Rogers Park neighborhood and contribute to the beautiful fabric of this diverse and forward-looking neighborhood.”
The 200-seat Rhapsody Theater will also have a restaurant and three bars. It will include an upstairs lounge that can host after-performance gatherings and meet-and-greets.
A smaller space for “close-up magic” will debut in the fall, according to the theater.
The theater’s inaugural run will begin in June with the premiere of magician Carisa Hendrix’s theatrical show “Lucy Darling: Indulgence.” There will also be shows this summer from the psychic Ross Johnson, Spanish magician Jandro and the renowned magic artist Zabrecky.
Tickets for the first series of performances will go on sale May 1 at www.rhapsodytheater.com.
Work on the building is ongoing, as crews were working Thursday to transform the marquee from its previous Mayne Stage branding.
The theater venue will inject new life into a 100-plus-year-old entertainment hall in Rogers Park.
The theater debuted in 1912 as Morse Theater, showing vaudeville acts. In the 1930s, it was remodeled in an art deco theme and renamed the Co-Ed Theater as a nod to nearby Loyola University, according to the Rogers Park West Ridge Historical Society.
The Co-Ed closed in 1954 and the theater became home to Congregation Beth Israel Anshe Yanovas and a shoe repair store.
TAWANI Enterprises opened Mayne Stage in the theater space after a multi-million rehab project in 2010, according to DNAinfo Chicago. Mayne Stage hosted theater and music performances. The company also opened Act One Pub in the space.
In 2016, Mayne Stage ditched its live performances and turned into a wedding and events center.
TAWANI sold Mayne Stage to the Rhapsody Theater venture in late 2021 for $2.35 million, property records show. Col. Pritzker is the cousin of Gov. JB Pritzker and a prominent real estate investor on the Far North Side.
Now back to hosting live performances, local leaders hope the Rhapsody Theater can be the newest entertainment mainstay in Rogers Park.
“The Rhapsody Theater will serve as a staple for years to come and we as a community look forward to providing our overwhelming support upon its opening this spring,” Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) said in a statement.
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