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Congress Theater allowed to remain open

  • The front Congress Theater.
The front Congress Theater. (Abel Uribe/ Chicago Tribune )
April 18, 2013|By Leonor Vivanco, @lvivanco | RedEye

The show must go on.

The Congress Theater, threatened with closure for building code violations, is allowed to stay open at least throughout the weekend when three shows are scheduled, according to a court order issued Thursday.

After the city filed a motion last week for a preliminary injunction to shut down the entire theater because of building violations, a last-minute compromise between the city and the Congress Theater has allowed the theater to remain open until at least the next court date set for 11 a.m. April 23.

"It's a big theater with a lot of issues," city attorney Judy Frydland said in Cook County Circuit Court at the Daley Center.

The theater will not be allowed to sell any more tickets until at least the next court date and will reduce its first floor occupancy from approximately 4,500 to 3,000. The second and third floor will remain closed.

Frydland later said city inspectors visited the theater Wednesday and found many issues were addressed including putting fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors in place and fixing electrical issues.

The theater has agreed to keep an unobstructed path of egress and provide two licensed fire guards at all shows, according to the court order.

"This is the city being concerned about safety," Frydland said outside the courtroom. "It's nothing personal or political."

The city plans to inspect the theater before the next court appearance. She said the theater's response has improved as time has gone on.

The theater's attorney, Demetris Kare, declined to comment.

The country show featuring Easton Corbin, Jana Kramer and Chuck Wicks scheduled for Thursday night has been postponed due to flooding, the website said. Details about a rescheduled show will be announced next week, the theater tweeted.

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