The History of Music and Dance Theater Chicago, Inc.

The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, a new state-of-the-art downtown performance facility, proudly opened its doors on November 8, 2003. The mission of the non-profit theater allows the organizations performing at the Harris to: attract broader, larger and more diverse audiences; encourage artistic synergy; and increase opportunities to offer educational programs. The Harris serves as a national model of collaboration between the philanthropic community and performing arts organizations.

If you have any questions about the Harris Theater including rental of the facility, group tours or volunteer opportunities, please call the administrative office Monday through Friday during normal business hours at 312-629-8696.

The theater's design, by the architectural firm of Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge, Inc., features a simple, elegant glass lobby on Upper Randolph Drive east of Michigan Avenue.



The heart of the theater, including its 1,525-seat auditorium, is built underground. A lower lobby gives patrons direct access to the adjoining underground Millennium Park Garage. The Theater extends Chicago's vibrant performing arts district east to Lake Michigan, and links it with the museum campus and many other cultural institutions along Michigan Avenue. While located in Millennium Park, the theater is privately funded through contributions and grants from individuals, foundations and corporations. It is built on land leased from the City of Chicago.


The Theater represents years of planning by Chicago's philanthropic, arts, business and government leaders. The lakefront theater is the new, state-of-the-art downtown home for twelve of Chicago's finest music and dance companies who joined the Music and Dance Theater effort in 1994 and 1995 and have helped with its planning.

Performance dates are also available in the theater for other companies.  "One mission for the new theater is to be inclusive, so we welcome other performance companies who would like to perform in the theater," said Joyce A. Moffatt, the first General Manager of Music and Dance Theater Chicago, Inc. (1995-2004) By making the theater available to a wide range of groups, we will create a national model for the use of a shared performance venue.

The twelve Founding Companies that represent a special range of diversity are:

Ballet Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Sinfonietta, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, Old Town School of Folk Music, & Performing Arts Chicago