Will Rogers Theater Charleston IL

$1,695 of $5,094 goal

Raised by 39 people in 39 months
Katie Dumke Troccoli  CHARLESTON, IL


Will Rogers Theatre - Charleston IL

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My Name is Katie Troccoli. This is my story about why I am trying to raise funds to save The Will Rogers Theater. 

The Will Rogers Theatre is a wonderful Art Deco theatre in need of restoration. Originally built in 1938.

Over the years the theatre was given many upgrades that did not flatter the original structure of the building. The 5 store fronts were used as a theatre dumping ground for storage. There is a wall that splits the auditorium, and the furnace and cooling systems where put on the stage. There is only one unisex handicap bathroom and it is where the snack bar should be.

Work to restore the Will is in the plans. But, it won't be an easy task to bring the Will Rogers back to as it was when it originally opened in 1938 as well as meet today's building codes.

This Art Deco building just off the Courthouse Square in Charleston, Illinois once surpassed even the fondest dreams of what a modern theater could be according to a Paramount Films executive. The Will Rogers Theater was closed by AMC in 2010, its future uncertain. It was added to the list of Landmark's Illinois 10 most endangered structures in Illinois. Purchased in 2011 the project has stalled due to our partners health issues, difficult behavior,  and legal issues.   The health issues and bad behavior of our partner have thrown us into legal issues we are trying to work out.

In an effort to return the Will Rogers Theater to its original grandeur, we are asking for your help to create community awareness about the project, and to raise the needed funds.

The plan is to get the Will Rogers Theater open and back into a downtown community social location. Movie goers and live entertainment enthusiasts will delight in the enjoyment of once again having a magnificent downtown hot spot that thrives.

The Will Rogers Theatre, can be an economic anchor for down town Charleston. Theaters are often a feeder for restaurants and shops. In a thriving environment these businesses will feed off each other creating jobs and employment opportunities.

Renovating theater buildings becomes particularly costly for they must be overhauled to accommodate modern audiences and performers. Creating a contemporary facility will mean revamping the lobby and backstage area, making (new) main floor handicapped-accessible bathrooms and replacing old film projectors with digital equipment. All this is true for the Will Rogers. That is why we need your help.

The Will Rogers Theater is part of a great community. Many people have fond memories of time spent at the location. I believe the theatre can be a vital part of downtown Charleston once again.

There is much that needs to be done at the Will Rogers Theatre.

1. The wall splitting the auditorium in two needs to be removed.

2.The heating and cooling system (currently on the stage) needs to be removed and upgraded.

3. A digital projection system needs to be installed.

4.Handicap bathrooms need to be built on the main floor.

5. The snack bar needs to be re built in the lobby.

6. The Marquee needs to be restored. The tower which was originally back lit with neon needs to have the concrete block removed and replaced with glass block and the neon restored.

7. The exterior facade needs to be stabilized and preserved.

8. Two of the store fronts are in pretty rough condition and will need work to bring them up to today's standards. The back half of the northern most store front will be used as a green room.

9. The interior lighting in the auditorium needs to be restored. The back lite neon brought back.

10. The proscenium will need to revamped to accommodate current day artists and shows.

11. Architectural Fees $9,700.

There are many other items that need to be done that are two numerous to list.

I hope you will support our efforts to move the Will Rogers Theatre restoration project forward.

How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time.

How do you restore an old theatre? Answer: One piece at a time.

For more information visit:

www.WillRogersCharleston.com

I hope you share my passion for the Will Rogers Theatre. I am looking forward to an opening night that is going to be a grand celebration for the entire community!

Thank you for your interest in this project.

Sincerely,

Katie Troccoli
1911 Champlain St., Ottawa, IL 61350

Owner of:
Will Rogers Theatre
708 to 715 Monroe Ave., Charleston IL
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Update 72
Posted by Katie Dumke Troccoli
29 months ago
The plumbing break has been fixed. I got a loan for the electric upgrade - but we need an additional $5093.45 to pay Ameren for a transformer. One more step toward bringing the Will Rogers back to life! Won't you help? Please donate. Like & share my post!
Only blue skies ahead.
Stair case
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Update 71
Posted by Katie Dumke Troccoli
29 months ago
I got a loan for the electric upgrade - but we need an additional $5093.45 to pay Ameren for a transformer. One more step toward bringing the Will Rogers back to life! Won't you help? Please donate. Like & share my post!
Auditorium - early photo
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Update 70
Posted by Katie Dumke Troccoli
30 months ago
Check out this old picture of the Will Rogers lobby! Please help us restore this beautiful landmark. Donate, like, and share my post to help. Thank you
Old Picture of Will Rogers Lobby
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Update 69
Posted by Katie Dumke Troccoli
30 months ago
I got a loan for the electric upgrade - but we need an additional $5093.45 to pay Ameren for a transformer. Together, we can bring the Will Rogers back! Won't you help? Please donate. Like & share my post!
Will Rogers Lobby
Street View
The plans
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Read a Previous Update
Help spread the word!
 2.6K total shares
Jeanne Thomas
17 months ago

I am somewhat disappointed that I have seen no activity lately on this theater. I ask my brother to donate and he did. If this project is to move forward, then, there has to be another way to raise funds. This is a private project not a community project. People might be hesitant to give funds to a private project. My hope that you can find a way to take this theater back to it's glory.

+ Read More
Greg Fultz
17 months ago

Hello Katie, I have an additional idea to help you raise some funds for your goal if you'll contact me i'll discuss it with you I run a computer repair business in Mattoon. you can email me at support [at] gefnet.com Cheers!

+ Read More
Tara Thomas
30 months ago

I loved going there and watching movies when I was younger. Hope we get enough funding to save it.

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Sunshine Mitchell
38 months ago

My mother went there as a kid, i went there as a kid [i'm 53], so did my son, probably my grandmother to !! How could anyone destroy something, that has brought so many generations so much joy ?

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$1,695 of $5,094 goal

Raised by 39 people in 39 months
Created September 11, 2013
Katie Dumke Troccoli  
$5
Anonymous
9 months ago
$30
Sharon Frame
15 months ago

Lets get cookin' on the Will Rogers Theater!

$50
Anonymous
16 months ago
$20
Anonymous
17 months ago
GF
$30
Greg franco
17 months ago
TM
$40
Trisha Moore
17 months ago
$200
Anonymous
24 months ago
$30
Brian Harris
30 months ago

I miss this theater! It's such an architectural treasure.

$75
Bill McConaghy
30 months ago
DC
$75
Diane and Gary Cole
31 months ago

I spent many wonderful hours at the Will Rogers. My best memory is watching A Hard Day's Night there about a million times!

Jeanne Thomas
17 months ago

I am somewhat disappointed that I have seen no activity lately on this theater. I ask my brother to donate and he did. If this project is to move forward, then, there has to be another way to raise funds. This is a private project not a community project. People might be hesitant to give funds to a private project. My hope that you can find a way to take this theater back to it's glory.

+ Read More
Greg Fultz
17 months ago

Hello Katie, I have an additional idea to help you raise some funds for your goal if you'll contact me i'll discuss it with you I run a computer repair business in Mattoon. you can email me at support [at] gefnet.com Cheers!

+ Read More
Tara Thomas
30 months ago

I loved going there and watching movies when I was younger. Hope we get enough funding to save it.

+ Read More
Sunshine Mitchell
38 months ago

My mother went there as a kid, i went there as a kid [i'm 53], so did my son, probably my grandmother to !! How could anyone destroy something, that has brought so many generations so much joy ?

+ Read More
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