Wheaton’s Grand Theatre Rocks On
WHEATON, IL — The Wheaton Grand Theatre has found a new calling, as a rock venue drawing bands and their fans from across the western suburbs of Chicago, according to a report in the Wheaton Sun.
The one-time vaudeville house-turned-movie house has been serving double duty since it reopened in May 2003. The theater, which sat about 1000 when it was a single screen house (it was carved into four small screens during lean times in the 80s), has been hosting rock concerts and battle-of-the-band nights in what was once the main stage and is now the largest auditorium (the wall dividing two auditoriums was torn out) as well as screening classic movies in one of the smaller auditoriums. Another one of the small auditoriums is used for more intimate concerts.
In the meantime, restoration work on the 1925 theater continues slowly but steadily. It is estimated that fully restoring the Grand could cost as much as $7 million and, depending how long it takes to raise funds, take as long as ten more years to complete (including restoring the theater to a single auditorium, and restoring its domed ceiling, with its twinkling “stars” and crumbling plasterwork on the proscenium).
For more information on donating to or volunteering for the Grand Theater Corporation, call (630) 221-0667 or visit the theater’s web site at www.wheatongrand.org.