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Rialto Square Theatre

Rialto Square Theatre

History

The Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Illinois is one of the most beautiful and ornate entertainment venues in the country. It is located in the heart of the city, and first opened its doors in the 1920s as a vaudeville movie palace. Millions of dollars were spent to make the theatre something no one had seen before. The lobby and main theater are filled with elaborate carvings, paintings and curtains that are reminiscent of a French palace. The painted ceiling in the lobby was modeled after the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles near Paris, France, and the arch between the esplanade and rotunda areas was painted to look like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. No detail was too small for the architects of this masterful building, and it still maintains its classic beauty today.

The theater has become a hot spot for musicals, plays, concerts and comedy acts. Thousands of people flock to the venue each year to see magnificent singers, dancers and actors perform live on stage. The venue was first constructed in the 1920s, and in the 1980s the aging theater was renovated to its former glory. The sculptures and paintings were restored to like-new condition and the vaudeville movie palace became a performing arts center. The "Save the Rialto" campaign began around this time, started by the president of the Cultural Arts Council of the Joliet Area. With the help of a local businessman and state and federal funding, the campaign received the funds it needed to renovate the historic piece of Joliet history.

Then, in 2006, the Rialto began a campaign to raise $5 million to "Polish the Jewel of Joliet." The funds raised went to updating equipment and bringing the historic theater into the 21st century. Today, the theater hosts some of the biggest musicals, plays and concerts in the country, and still maintains its unique 1920s charm.


Events Hosted

There is a lot to love about the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Illinois. Not only is it one of the most beautiful theater venues in the country, but it also hosts some of the most exciting live performances around. The Rialto was at the center of the evolution of movies and entertainment in the 1920s. The theater showed its first talking picture in October of 1928 and installed stereophonic sound in 1953. During the 1970s and 80s, fans of the theater mobilized and began campaigning to save the theater and restore it to its previous condition. To raise money, the volunteers put on productions. One of the productions was a special event entitled "Hasting and Hays on Love," which featured soap opera actors Don Hastings and Kathryn Hays. The Rialto became not only a venue for plays, musicals and concerts, but it became a part of the city's history and those who grew up in the town of Joliet.

Today, the auditorium hosts musicals, comedies and dramatic theatrical productions that have won the hearts of fans and the praise of critics. In the coming months, the theater will add more big stars and spectacular shows to its repertoire. The theater will host concerts featuring artists like Tommy James and the Shondells with the Ides of March, musicals like Menopause the Musical, comedians like Jim Gaffigan and live shows featuring health and fitness guru Jillian Michaels. There's never a dull moment at this fantastic venue, and you won't want to miss any of the amazing performances at the Gershwin Theatre.


Home City

The Rialto Square Theatre is located in Joliet, Illinois, which is known for its thriving arts and theater culture. The city offers residents and visitors the chance to sample all that the art and theater world have to offer, without having to venture very far. It is located 40 miles southwest of Chicago and is the fourth-most populated city in Illinois. The Joliet economy is supported by several manufacturing industries as well as tourist attractions like the Harrah's Casino and the Joliet Slammers baseball team.


Seating Layout

Although the entertainment venue is more than 80 years old, it has been updated to allow for modernization of lighting, sound and visual elements. The auditorium can seat more than 1,900 people. There are several options for seating, including the Main Floor, the Upper Level and the Orchestra Pit. There are also 14 handicapped seats available. The floor slopes gently and the balcony is suspended above the main floor. Although some seats are closer than others, every seat in the house will give you a fantastic view of the show you have chosen to see.


Trivia

There are so many beautiful details inside the Rialto Square Theatre. But none is quite as beautiful as the eight-arm crystal chandelier lovingly called "The Duchess." It is a made completely of bronze and contains more than 200 fixtures, is 20 feet in length and contains 250 lights. The large prisms on the chandelier are reminiscent of the Rococo period and are of the Marie Therese cut. This giant piece of theater jewelry makes this theater unlike any other entertainment venue in the country.

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23 Oct
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01 Nov
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19 Jan 2015
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06 Feb 2015
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13 Feb 2015
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14 Mar 2015
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22 Mar 2015
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27 Mar 2015
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10 Apr 2015
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25 Apr 2015
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03 May 2015
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