Will Rogers Theatre

Group spruces up Madison Theater 

Group spruces up Madison Theater Saturday 

by: Austin Schick 

Posted: Mar 26, 2022 / 05:11 PM CDT 

Updated: Mar 26, 2022 / 10:51 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A group of volunteers aimed at restoring one of Peoria’s oldest theaters spruced up the place Saturday morning. 

The Madison Theater Preservation Association held a spring workday on the historic building Saturday. Volunteers grabbed paintbrushes and gave the restaurant part of the building a fresh coat of paint, while others swept and tidied up the theater area. 

Madison Theater donated to preservation association by owner 

Cody Giebelhausen, the secretary of the Madison Theater Preservation Association, said the goal is to reopen the theater for tours this summer. 

He said there’s still a lot of work to be done before it fully reopens and welcomes acts through its doors once again. 

“The theater will look and feel much like it does right now with the beautiful plaster, but it will have all new mechanicals, all new electric,”Giebelhausen said. “Some of the plaster will be restored, the paint will be refinished. 18 months of work and $35 million worth of stuff need to be done.” 

He said the roof has been patched and, for the first time in 10 years, there’s no longer water leaking inside the building. 

Right now, the complete renovation is on time and expected to be completed by the summer of 2024. 

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Dead Air with Cory Daniels on WRWO 94,5 FM - March 25 2022 

Beyond Description. . . 

Flatstock is a touring poster exhibition of gig posters featuring artists from around the world! One of the main stops is South By Southwest, an annual conglomeration of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences organized jointly that take place in mid-March in Austin, Texas. We had an opportunity to talk with a few of the artists at this year's Flatstock at South By Southwest. These artists contributed artwork for some of the Grateful Dead's official releases. 

The Set List. . . 

Sugar Magnolia 8:45 
1972-11/18 HOFHEINZ PAVILION, Houston, Texas 
Record Store Day Black Friday 2014 

Box Of Rain 4:54 
1972-11/17 CENTURY II CONVENTION HALL, Wichita, Kansas 
Dave's Picks Vol. 11 

West L.A. Fadeaway 12:44 
Live In Colorado 
Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros 

Jack Straw 5:53 
1974-06/23 JAI-ALAI FRONTON, Miami, Florida 
Dave's Picks Vol. 34 

Row Jimmy 10:54 
1990-07/19 DEER CREEK MUSIC CENTER, Noblesville, Indiana 
Dave's Picks Vol. 40


Rialto Gets 5 million state grant 


Rialto getting $5 million state grant 

State Rep. Walsh will announce details of the grant on Friday 

By Bob Okon 


The Rialto Square Theatre is located in downtown Joliet. (Gary Middendorf - gmiddendorf@shawmedia.com/Gary Middendorf) 

 March 16, 2022 at 4:13 pm CDT 

State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr., D-Elwood, will announce details of a $5 million state grant for the Rialto Square Theatre on Friday. 

The funding marks the second major grant in two years for the Joliet theater, which received a $1.4 million federal grant in 2021. 

“The Rialto Square Theatre is a cultural center in greater Will County, as well as an important historic building,” Walsh said in a written statement announcing a Friday news conference about the grant. “I recognize the theater’s continued success is essential to the area for cultural and entertainment programming for our 86th District, as well as for jobs and the vitality of downtown Joliet

Dead Air with Cory Daniels on WRWO 94,5 FM - February 11 2022 

Find WRWO 94.5 FM in the app store

Beyond Description. . . 

We get into a show which has been recently released - Baltimore '77. 

Photographer / author, Lisa S. Johnson, has a new book: "Immortal Axes." Armed with a macro lens, an incredible eye for detail, and a truly inspiring vision, Johnson takes the world of fine art photography on a rock and roll joyride. Each intimate photograph is accompanied by a touch of musical history, an anecdote or personal storytelling moment. 

We talk with Eric Mlyn at Duke University about the school's new course: “Long Strange Trips: The Grateful Dead and American Cultural Change.” 

Happy Lunar New Year! About a quarter of the world, including much of East Asia, is celebrating Lunar New Year, and the beginning of the Year of the Tiger. From '79 to '89, Jerry Garcia's main axe was named Tiger. We hear some Tiger driven guitar tracks! 

Less than 500 copies are left of "Listen To The River: St. Louis '71 '72 '73" , a 20-CD box set. The copies are also numbered for the LP release of Fox Theatre, St. Louis, MO 12-10-71, a 5-LP set. 

The Set List. . . 

Samson And Delilah 7:22 
1977-05/26 BALTIMORE CIVIC CENTER, Baltimore, Maryland 
30 Days of Dead 2016 

And It Stoned Me 6:14 
1987-08/29 FRENCH'S CAMP ON THE EEL RIVER, Piercy, California 
Electric On The Eel 

Jack Straw 5:27 
1973-09/08 NASSAU VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM, Uniondale, New York 
Dave's Picks Vol. 38 

Good Lovin' 22:12 
1971-12/10 FOX THEATRE, St. Louis, Missouri 
Listen To The River: St. Louis '71 '72 '73

Christmas with a WWII Paratrooper 

I have told this story before.  It was told to me every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.  I hesitated in telling it again this year.  Dad has been gone since 2001.  Since I lived with it every year of my life, so must you.  I carry the torch. 

The 82ND Airborne had hastily been sent into battle without winter clothing and without being resupplied.   Most had been on leave after Operation Market-Garden.  My Dad recounted riding into battle on the back of a truck filled with gas cans for Patton’s tanks covered with blankets.  They picked up ammunition from retreating troops on their way in. 

Whenever the weather turned cold and snowy here in Illinois, Dad would comment about how someone was suffering from the cold.  I knew he was remembering those he had lost during the war.  He once told me that while heading to the front with a message, he had come across a soldier dead frozen over a machine gun, and he wished that he were him.  He said “His troubles were over.  Mine were still ahead of me”. 

77 Years ago, on Christmas Eve, in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium, My Dad, Bob Dumke was serving with the 82Nd Airborne, 2Nd Battalion 505 Head Quarters Company.  Dad was a runner who went from Battalion Headquarters carrying messages to men, his friends, on the front line.  He was in the Ardennes  Forest near the three river bridges at Trois – Ponts in Belgium.  

My Parents business was Dumke’s greenhouse and flower shop in Ottawa, Illinois. Dad made grave blankets that he delivered to the cemetery (he made sure there were grave blankets on some young men from our community killed during Vietnam).  Mom would make the most beautiful wreaths and roping.   By Christmas, they were often tired and pretty worn out.  We didn’t have material things living in three rooms behind the greenhouse.  There was much love and many visitors.  Our door was always open to friends. We often added a plate for a visitor at the dinner table. 

Our family celebrated on Christmas Eve.  Dad would fondly talk about his Mother Emma, a Swedish immigrant to the USA. How, when he was a child, they would decorate the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve with candles.   How beautiful it would be.  He had a deep love for his mother, who was gentle and kind.  She had passed away when he was just 16 from Tuberculosis.  

We put up our tree on Christmas Eve.  Our tree had the big multi-color bulbs.  As we celebrated, Dad would get quiet.  You could tell, his thoughts would be someplace else.  He would pull me up on his lap and whisper in my ear.  His big rough hands would pat my legs, full of gentle kindness.  He would tell me how, during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII, he along with Battalion Headquarters would be moving forward.   

They had to move a family out into the cold and snow on Christmas Eve.  There was a mother, father, and two small children.  82ND Battalion Headquarters would use their home.  The home would be near the front line of battle soon.  It would not be safe.  They had to leave their home with only what they could carry on Christmas Eve, out into the snow and bitter cold.  Dad’s voice would crack, with a lump in his throat.  His eyes would well up, and he could hardly get the words out. Tears would stream down his face.  I can still feel his pain.  Every Christmas Eve, for as long as I can remember, he mourned for that family who was displaced by war on Christmas Eve during the Battle of the Bulge in the deep cold Ardennes winter.  

Dad had gone to the front, sent guys out on patrol, crawled into a Fox hole to sleep while they were out. The guys threw their blankets and tree branches over him. A phosphorus grenade hit, and he threw the blanket and tree branches off (which he said saved his life) his arms and face were burned, and he was evacuated from the battle. 

He rejoined his unit and was with them when they liberated Wobblin Concentration Camp in Ludwigslust, Germany. He told me he saw men alive, and dead stacked like cord wood for as far as the eye could see. Never take freedom for granted. 

The past year (or two) have been difficult with Covid as our enemy and deep divisions among people and their political views. I remind you we have more in common then not.  If we take time to let compassion into our hearts and heads the world will be a better place.  Talking to each other and finding our common ground beats doing battle. 

I am grateful to be a “descendant of Airborne nobility” per remarks made to me by General John Vines a few years ago.  

We will soon gather as best we can with our loved ones. May we remember our soldiers who are away from home, some in harm’s way  

Please be safe and hold the memory of our Paratroopers close.  Let not what they fought for be in vain. 

Join me and pray that there be peace and love on earth and joy in all our hearts. 

Merry Christmas, 

Katie Dumke Troccoli, a Paratrooper’s Daughter

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About the Artist

Carol Halm was born, raised and still lives in a quaint town called Ottawa in Illinois.  She has worked in watercolors for over 45 years and has spent 25 years in colored pencil.  She has worked on many commissions as well as licensing. She attended at Illinois Valley Community College and has spent countless hours perfecting her craft.  She works in various styles such from realism to whimsical and had completed several projects for companies such as Current, Dayspring and PCCrafter.  Three dimensional works, murals, kitchen products and clothing have also been among her accomplishments. Besides spending time with her daughter and her family, she loves spending her time creating.   


I own two historic theater, the Will Rogers Theater in Charleston IL and the Majestic Theatre in Streator, IL.  Both are in dire need of restoration. It is a long story how I came to this situation.  Estimated costs are a million dollars each. 

The Majestic hosted performances by several well-known stars, such as Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, Ed Wynn, Eddie Cantor, Sophie Tucker and Eva Tanguay.  

The Will Rogers is on the National Historic Register.

I am seeking funding for both projects.

My business plan calls for working with the non profit organization Here and Again Inc., an organization dedicated to promoting the arts and entertainment industry as a way to educate and create employment in the entertainment industry. 

My Corporation, Summer House Entertainment Inc will operate the theater as a for profit.  We will attract clients from a 50 plus mile radius of each venue hosting live National Acts opened by local artists who perform in a Here and Again Inc program called Song + Story.   We will also be able to host film festivals and local events as well as first run movies.

The National acts that play the theaters are an economic boom to the communities.  Patrons who attend events will often spend the night (or two) at local hotels, buy gas, and eat in restaurants.  

Raising the quality of life with a vibrant theater attracts employers who want their employees to be happy in the communities in which they live.  This is classic economic development.

Mixing Song + Story participants with National Entertainers gives local up and coming talent the opportunity to network with entertainers who have been successful, giving them more opportunity for success in the entertainment industry.

I am hopeful you see the benefits that I am proposing and help me find a way to fund the projects.  

The Majestic is in an Opportunity Zone 17099964300, TIF and Enterprise Zone and the Will Rogers is also in an Opportunity zone track 17029000500, TIF and Enterprise Zone.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I will look forward to hearing any suggestions or opportunities you may have to offer.

I may be reached at

Katie Troccoli  katiet1@sbcglobal.net of call or text 815-228-2058


Wells Fargo Article Explaining Opportunity Zones

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Here and Again Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Ottawa, IL for the purpose of creating economic and creative opportunities in the arts in the Illinois Valley and beyond. I’d like to share with you the story of how we began, challenges we've faced, and what we're doing to change the face of artistic culture in the Illinois Valley.

I purchased the Majestic Theater in Streator and the Will Rogers Theatre in Charleston with the intention of creating a space for local talent to be showcased. From 2009 to 2014  I, with the help of a dedicated team, operated the theater through highs and lows. The local talent I witnessed during this time was the inspiration for Here and Again Inc. So, I began the paperwork to form a non-profit organization. I really thought that our first projects would be in film, but life hardly ever goes according to plan.

One day, shortly after starting the paperwork for NPO status, a local pastor came into the Majestic to get some popcorn for his youth group. While the popcorn was popping, I gave him my elevator pitch for Here and Again Inc. I had no idea that this encounter would change my life. About a week later the pastor returned and invited me to a meeting with some of his friends at his house. At the meeting I met Greg and Marjory Haynes and we discussed the possibility of a community radio station. We all agreed that it would no doubt have a positive impact on the community. Thus, our first project WRWO 94.5 FM/LP was born! This gave me the motivation to officially apply for NPO status.

As things went on, we found the perfect place to broadcast WRWO from in Downtown Ottawa, in the place now called Wallace Hall. Though it has in no way been easy, things are falling into place through faith and with the help of many dear family and friends. It’s quite a story already, but it’s not over yet!

Here and Again, Inc.’s purpose is to raise the quality of life in the community through the use of education in the arts, music, radio and other media; to have a positive impact on the people and community in which we live and work. We invite you to help us build a flourishing local arts community. Please consider partnering with Here and Again Inc. to help further opportunities in the arts for the Illinois River Valley area.

We look forward to serving our community together with you!

Here and Again, Inc.’s purpose is to raise the quality of life in the community through the use of education in the arts, music, radio and other media; to have a positive impact on the people and community in which we live and work. Our mission is to further preserve architecture used in communication, theatre, and the arts where our positive works may be displayed and used. The intent is to further employment opportunities and training through the use of our education programs and architecture which becomes an anchor for distressed communities.

One day local artists will open for National acts on the Will Rogers Theatre stage. 

We are seeking old photos of the Will Rogers Theatre to update our plans to move forward with restoration.  Please share with us your old photos of the exterior and interior of the Will Rogers Theatre and store fronts.  Thank you. 

Photos may be e mailed to

katiet1@sbcglobal.net or text to 815-228-2058

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.