JOLIET – VenuWorks is proposing a five-year contract to remain the management company at the Rialto Square Theatre.
The proposal is on the agenda for the first meeting of the newly formed Rialto board on Wednesday.
VenuWorks is now operating on a three-month contract that runs through March. But a minimum one-year agreement with a theater management company is a condition for the Rialto to get its first installment of city funding this year.
"We're hoping it happens at this meeting," said Rialto Interim Executive Director Timothy Berry, a VenuWorks employee.
Company representatives have previously said they preferred a five-year agreement. But VenuWorks has been working since September on short-term contracts because of the financial uncertainty of the Rialto.
Some of that uncertainty has been cleared away by an intergovernmental agreement with the city providing $500,000 this year under certain conditions.
The agreement approved by the old Rialto board before it resigned as a group Dec. 29 requires at least a one-year agreement to be in place before the theater gets $250,000. The theater must line up 30 shows by June 30 to get another $250,000 in city funding for 2017.
So far, VenuWorks has booked four show for 2017, including two performances by comedian Ron White on Feb. 17. The first show of the year was Friday with Hairball, an arena rock tribute band.
Hairball attracted an audience of 1,135, Berry said.
"We made a little money, and everybody had a little fun," he said.
Berry said he has distributed copies of the VenuWorks contract proposal to the new board members.
Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday named Joliet attorney Thomas Osterberger to the Rialto board, the last of seven appointments to be made to replace the former board.