JOLIET – The Rialto Square Theatre board approved Wednesday an interim theater management agreement with VenuWorks, an Iowa-based company the board last week voted to hire.
The contract begins Sept. 1 and will last 120 days. Rialto board Chairman Dan Vera said after Wednesday’s meeting it gives the Rialto’s legal counsel and VenuWorks time to negotiate a multiyear agreement during what is being deemed a “transition period.”
The Rialto will pay VenuWorks $1 per month during the four-month agreement. The offer came out of a conference call that took place Friday between Vera, VenuWorks President Steve Peters and Rialto attorney David Silverman.
“We were pleased they made an offer of $1 a month,” Vera said. “It was a great offer to get us going.”
Peters said in the meeting Wednesday that VenuWorks doesn’t want to cost the Rialto anything while assessing and stabilizing the theater.
With the board having just approved the third-party management company last week, Vera said there had not been sufficient time to reach a multiyear deal.
A couple of VenuWorks leaders will start working on the Rialto on Sept. 1, then a full team will come to Joliet on Sept. 7 and begin its assessment of all facets of the theater – from its real estate rentals, to entertainment, to employees and operations.
“With the transition, we have to let all the promoters, agents, acts, wedding parties and other things that have been booked know that new management is on the scene Sept. 1,” Vera said.
VenuWorks officials have said they will take over control of shows that are already booked and will begin aggressively booking shows for the Rialto. VenuWorks manages 37 theaters, sports facilities, conference centers and outdoor venues.
Peters said VenuWorks will be able to buy shows and bring promoters in under better negotiating terms than if the Rialto were doing it on its own. Instead of one or two shows, VenuWorks can work to book four or five at a time.
“We will improve the financial status of the theater,” Peters said to the board. “I’m absolutely confident we will do that.”
Board Vice Chairwoman Cynthia Tyler said she was excited an agreement has been reached and expects things to turn around quickly.
“I think the resources available to us are going to send us soaring,” Tyler said.
The only “no” vote on the VenuWorks agreement was from board member Mary Beth Gannon, who wanted Onesti Entertainment – one of five companies to make presentations to the board – to manage the Rialto.