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Local News

Rialto Square Theatre getting back to show business, adds second Ron White performance

Ron White
Ron White

JOLIET – The Rialto Square Theatre announced Thursday it is adding a second Ron White show Feb. 17 because of strong demand.

Comedian Ron White is one of only three acts scheduled so far for 2017 at the Rialto, which entered the new year with an air of uncertainty after the entire governing board resigned in late December.

But management company VenuWorks is booking acts and is working under an intergovernmental agreement between the city of Joliet and the Rialto that requires 30 shows lined up by June 30 to ensure $500,000 in city funding for the full year.

“I’m pretty confident that we’ll be able to hit that 30 mark and then some,” Rialto interim Executive Director Timothy Berry said Thursday.

The second Ron White show announced Thursday will be at 10 p.m. White also will perform at 7 p.m.

Berry said the first show has not yet sold out, but it’s close enough that a second show was added.

White is a stand-up comedian with a story-teller style whose “A Little Unprofessional” was nominated for Best Comedy Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards. He was a member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour troupe that also included Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy.

“Country and comedy have always been a strong suit for the Joliet market,” Berry said. “Being able to add a second show for Ron White is proof of that statement.”

The first Rialto performances booked by VenuWorks, which was hired in August, were country performers Kacey Musgraves and Ronnie Milsap, both of whom appeared in December.

Berry said the Rialto will look for opportunities to diversify the lineup while meeting the 30-show target set by the city.

“With a challenge of 30 shows, I think it offers a great opportunity to expand the offerings to bring new audiences to the Rialto,” he said.

Rialto management has faced criticism for not staging shows that would appeal to black, Hispanic and younger audiences.

Other shows lined up this year are: Hairball, a tribute band to 1980s arena rock, on Jan. 20; and Celtic Woman, which performs Irish traditional and contemporary music, on April 27.

Berry said more than 700 tickets have been sold for Hairball.

Tickets for the second Ron White show go on sale Friday. They are priced at $49, $59 and $79. Tickets are available at the Rialto box office, online at Ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 800-745-3000.

The management situation at the Rialto could begin to stabilize next week when Mayor Bob O’Dekirk is expected to name four new members of the board that oversees the theater and its adjacent offices.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has three appointments. He made the first last week when naming local businessman Robert Filotto.

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