Will Rogers Theatre

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Starts Wednesday Blog

Starts Wednesday: A Day in the Life of a Movie Palace recalls 1976, the year I spent with my husband and a group of similarly-misguided friends, trying to save the St. George Theater, a classic 2672-seat movie palace in New York City’s most neglected borough, Staten Island.

By Victoria Hallerman

Victoria Hallerman is a poet and writer, the author of the upcoming memoir, Starts Wednesday: A Day in the Life of a Movie Palace, based on her experience as a movie palace manager of the St. George Theatre, Staten Island, 1976. As she prepares her book manuscript for publication, she shares early aspects of theater management, including the pleasures and pain of entrepreneurship. This blog is for anyone who enjoys old movie theaters, especially for those who love the palaces as they once were. And a salute to those passionate activists who continue to save and revive the old houses, including the St. George Theatre itself. This blog is updated every Wednesday, the day film always arrived to start the movie theater week.

After a two year legal battle with our business partner and lender. 
The Will Rogers Theatre has been purchased by Katie Troccoli through judicial sale on Oct. 28, 2016
The project can now move forward.

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The Will Rogers Theatre
705 - 715 Monroe Ave., Charleston, IL

Endangered Theater Purchased
Charleston, Illinois

The Will Rogers Theatre, included on Landmarks Illinois’ 2011 “Ten Most Endangered Historic Places” list, was purchased in November, 2011 by preservation-minded owners who plan to fully restore the building to its former grandeur. The purchasers, Katie and James Troccoli of Ottawa, Illinois and Tim Burke of Los Angeles, California (an Ottawa native), also own the historic Majestic Theater in Streator, Illinois www.MajesticShows.com . They report that cleaning out the building has begun and hope to start renovation in spring, 2012.

The new owners learned about the building from the publicity generated by its inclusion on Landmarks Illinois’ “Ten Most” list. Charleston Preservation Commission Chair Kit Morice said the listing not only created statewide awareness for one of their city’s most historic buildings, but also helped local officials recognize its architectural importance. The Charleston City Council voted in May to give landmark protection to the 73-year-old Art Deco theater, which had closed in 2010, sending a strong message that the city supported its preservation.

Landmarks Illinois


Cinema Treasures


Will Rogers Theatre T - shirts,  and Sweatshirts are now available!  Order yours now! Visit our store for details!