• Kamari Jordan

VenuWorks Keeps the Rialto Square Theatre Afloat

Not too long ago The Rialto Square Theatre was on the brink of closing. Local newspapers referred to this Joliet Gem as the “struggling theatre” and in December of 2016 the Joliet Patch reported the Rialto was already closed.

It’s safe to say the 6-2 council vote that gave the Rialto $500,000 in city funds for its 2017 operations was unexpected. This beacon of hope still did not convince the people that the Rialto could keep its doors open much longer.

In the middle of 2016 VenuWorks, a well-respected Midwestern entertainment managing group from Ames, Iowa took over the Rialto. This month marks VenuWorks second full year managing the Rialto and things have really turned around for the theatre. The Rialto continues to book high quality shows, as a result crowds have been steady and shows have been sold out.

Business has been so good that Joliet’s elected officials have approved another annual subsidy for the Rialto of $500,000 to help fund its 2018 operations. However, the city’s funding agreement for the Rialto has conditions this time around.

The city of Joliet will cut an upfront check of $250,000 and the remaining $250,000 will be paid on July 1 provided that the Rialto meets the following conditions:

· Has a minimum of 30 live entertainment performances booked or performed.

· Rialto officials provide Joliet City Manager David Hales with quarterly updates about securing a dedicated

funding source.

· Provide both a short term and long term capital plan for property management and preservation before July 1.

· Pay its payroll taxes for 2017 audit in a timely manner.

· Do not seek any additional funds from the city of Joliet for the fiscal year of 2018.

If you think that these conditions scared the new leaders of the Rialto then you are mistaken. The Rialto Square Theatre has just announced it has booked country act Dwight Yoakam on March 29, Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo on April 3, and The Temptations and The Four Tops on June 15.

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