Executive Director L. Walter Stearns and partner, business manager Eugene Dizon, announced the permanent closure of Mercury Theater Chicago after 10 years and 25 productions, due to the loss of revenue following the COVID-19 shutdown.
"A theater is more than bricks and mortar; it is the people, the artists and the audience who call it home," said Stearns in a statement sent to Windy City Times. "Until people are safe, there is no theater."
According to its website, the venue has a 280-seat mainstage, along with the adjoining Venus Cabaret Theater (which seats 80). 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.
Since reopening in 2011, Mercury Theater Chicago has produced 25 plays and musicals including four world premieres and four productions that were extended to more than 100 shows. The Mercury employed 975 actors, musicians, designers and arts administrators, and entertained nearly 400,000 audience members.
In addition, the theater raised and donated $100,000 to Season of Concern, the charity that provides emergency care to Chicago artists, and has produced benefits for cancer, ALS and AIDS organizations, in addition to other theater companies.
The four city-lot facility will now go dark until its next incarnation is determined.