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Local News

Joliet spends $200,000 as expected on Rialto shows, stipend going fast

The Rialto Square Theatre's main auditorium, which has played host to Pauly Shore and Jeff Foxworthy in recent weeks, is seen. The theater is quickly spending its annual stipend from the city, in part on guaranteed performers fees.
The Rialto Square Theatre's main auditorium, which has played host to Pauly Shore and Jeff Foxworthy in recent weeks, is seen. The theater is quickly spending its annual stipend from the city, in part on guaranteed performers fees.

JOLIET – The city of Joliet will spend about $200,000 as expected on two recent shows at the Rialto Square Theatre, and the city’s annual stipend to the theater is being used up.

Joliet guaranteed performers fees for an April 7 show featuring Pauly Shore and other comedians and the April 8 appearance of Jeff Foxworthy.

City Manager Jim Hock said last week some calculations are still being done on the final costs, but they are not likely to amount to more than a few thousand dollars.

“You get back-end deals for these shows,” Hock said last week. “Sometimes, they even get beer sales.”

As of Friday, the city paid $164,178 for Jeff Foxworthy and $30,000 for the Pauly Shore show.

The city agreed to pay for the shows when promoters demanded guarantees on performers fees after hearing about financial issues at the Rialto. The money is coming out of the $600,000 annual stipend the city provides the Rialto.

Most of that money is likely to be spent after country music star Vince Gill performs May 6, Hock said.

“There’s a little over $100,000 left,” he said. “I guaranteed the Vince Gill show. That will be about $80,000. They’ll be out of any more guarantees from the city.”

Rialto board Chairman Dan Vera could not be reached to comment Friday. But Rialto officials have said they discussed with promoters the possibility of guaranteeing performers’ money by putting ticket sales for shows in escrow.

The Rialto is not booking new shows now. Interim General Manager Jack Ericksen has said shows will be booked again once a new general manager has been hired – or sooner, depending on how long the hiring process takes.

The Rialto board approved April 6 a separation agreement with former General Manager Randy Green and is in the process of replacing him.

Joliet in previous years provided its annual stipend in quarterly payments. But in 2015, the city provided all $600,000 by early June after Rialto officials said they needed the money to take care of cash flow problems.

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