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Iconic Avalon Regal Theater Will Specialize In Hologram Shows, Starting This Fall

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 16, 2017 8:33PM

The Avalon Regal Theater circa 2012 (photo by Cragin Spring on Flickr via the Chicagoist Flickr Pool)

Chicago is poised to become one of two cities in the country where you can casually go see a hologram in concert.

Remember the Tupac hologram at Coachella 2012? Gizmodo called it "disquieting." MTV News called it "unsettling." Well, the technology behind that much-described performance is currently controlled by Hologram USA—and they've signed a deal to permanently install their signature "Pepper's Ghost" hologram technology at Chicago's famed Avalon Regal Theater (1645 E 79th St).

Construction has already begun, and the theater will reopen as a full-time hologram theater—with a grand opening that could conceivably feature "Tupac"—on October 1.

Hologram USA isn't going to ride the Tupac train forever, though. The company has plans to "create shows around the images of" (!) deceased celebrities including Buddy Holly, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland and Chicago's own Bernie Mac.

Their partnership with the Avalon Regal Theater will make the already-historic theater one of two hologram theaters in the country. (The other will be the Hologram USA theater in Los Angeles.)

The Avalon has been a major Chicago landmark for almost a century. Built in 1927, it's hosted live, non-hologram shows by the likes of Louis Armstrong and James Brown. The building itself is historic, too; designed by John Eberson, it was designated a Chicago landmark in 1992.

Now, it seems like it will remain relevant—or at least, much-discussed—into the future. Not only will it start hosting hologram shows this fall; it's also going to be a five-minute walk from the Barack Obama Presidential Center and Library when it opens—though that won't be for at least four years.