Podtalk: Dennis Scott, Organist at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre

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CHICAGO – The lines go around the block next to Chicago’s northside Music Box Theatre this time of year, as their annual holiday double feature is presented – “White Christmas” (1954) and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946). And leading the pre-show sing-along … along with Santa … is the resident organist Dennis Scott.

The double feature has been around since the Music Box began its second life in 1983, after opening as a neighborhood movie palace in 1929. The theater had served the area since its opening, but it had a small decline in the 1970s and ’80s, before being bought and restored. Beginning in ’83, the owners began the Chicago Christmas tradition of their classic double feature, and as Music Box and programming has evolved, it has become an annual destination for Chicagoans. Gratefully, it began again in 2021, after being postponed last year due to the pandemic (click link below for info).

Dennis Scott and his Instrument at the Music Box Theatre
Photo credit: MusicBoxTheatre.com

Dennis Scott originally was from Oklahoma, and except for a couple years of lessons is basically self-taught on the organ, which allows his music to connect to his audience. His first gig in Chicago was at the iconic jazz club the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, back in the grittier days of the mid 1970s. He learned to accompany silent films while working as an organist in a pizza parlor, as they projected two-reelers on the wall. He is now considered an international authority on silent film-era accompaniment, as well as his resident gig at the historic Music Box Theatre.

In a Podtalk, Dennis Scott Talks to Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com about his journey as a musician, both inside and outside the Music Box. Happy Holidays! …

In a BONUS video perspective, Dennis Scott talks about the history of the organ that currently is at the Music Box Theatre …

The ”White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” Sing-Along Double Feature continues through December 23rd at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport Avenue, Chicago. Click HOLIDAYS for details and tickets.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor, Film Writer

© 2021 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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