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Local News

Rialto Square Theatre launches 1926 Campaign

The Rialto marquee in downtown Joliet has been posting a message that the theater survived the Great Depression and will survive this, meaning the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rialto marquee in downtown Joliet has been posting a message that the theater survived the Great Depression and will survive this, meaning the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Rialto Square Theatre has announced a fundraiser called the 1926 Campaign.

The downtown Joliet theater opened in 1926 but has been temporarily closed, like many other venues, by coronavirus pandemic.

The Rialto marquee has been posting a message that the theater survived the Great Depression and will survive this, meaning the pandemic.

“With so much uncertainty these days, Rialto Square Theatre is incredibly grateful to have the help of loyal supporters during difficult times,” the Rialto said in a news release. “To commemorate Rialto’s grand birth in 1926 and its 94th birthday this year, the theatre is launching the 1926 Campaign.

“This campaign invites the public to consider donating a gift of just $19.26 to help ensure the theatre has a bright future for the next 94 years. Though the suggested donation is $19.26, any donation amount is greatly appreciated.”

Information about the campaign and how to donate is posted at rialtosquare.com/1926-campaign.

The campaign was conceived before the coronavirus pandemic put a temporary stop to performances at the Rialto, theater executive director Val Devine said.

“This old girl has another date for a birthday no matter what happens in the world,” Devine said.

The campaign was announced Monday. The anniversary of the theater’s opening is May 24.

The next live performance scheduled at the Rialto is an appearance by The Platters on May 29.

“That seems like a million years from now,” Devine said.

The Rialto has rescheduled several shows planned for March and April.

“It has been primarily an exercise in relocation, trying to find dates we can move shows to,” Devine said. “It’s kind of hard to know how far ahead to move things.”

Pushing back shows delays revenue from those shows, and it also pushes back the expenses that go into staging the shows, Devine said. But she said closing the theater also has shut down the revenue the Rialto gets from dance recitals, weddings and other events.

In the future, the show apparently will go on.

“We’re still getting contacted from people for making new dates,” Devine said.

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