Restored art deco Des Plaines Theatre reopens as music venue

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DES PLAINES, Ill. (AP) — A former vaudeville theatre will reopen this fall after a $6.6 million renovation partially backed by the city of Des Plaines in hopes it will drive more development in the area.

The Des Plaines Theatre has been closed since 2014. The Pioneer Press reports that the city bought it for $1.2 million in 2018 and signed an agreement with an outside operator to manage it, including live music bookings.

The theatre’s 100-year-old interior has been restored to highlight its art deco style and reveal a stage that was covered by movie screens. The renovation also added a restaurant space and a speakeasy-themed bar.

Ron Onesti, owner of the new operating firm Onesti Entertainment, also manages the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Onesti said he’s long been interested in the Des Plaines Theatre but knew restoring it would cost more than he could afford alone.

“I could never sell the amount of tickets needed to bring it back to where it needed to be,” he said.

The Des Plaines-based Rivers Casino contributed $2.2 million toward the work.

Des Plaines City Manager Michael Bartholomew said city officials watched years of failed efforts to revitalize the theater and thought the city could succeed, bringing crowds downtown and benefiting other local businesses.

Onesti said the first show is scheduled for Oct. 1.

First published on: AP

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