Lyons, WI – Showboat movie theater shuts down

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on September 14, 2017 at 6:39 am

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From the Lake Geneva Regional News: The Showboat movie theater complex has abruptly closed its doors, after providing Lake Geneva movie goers with big-screen entertainment for 20 years.

The six-screen theater at 2565 State Road 120 in the town of Lyons ceased operations Sept. 5, with a sign posted in the theater’s front window that reads “temporarily closed.”

A similar message was posted on the business Facebook page: “We are temporarily closed, sorry for any inconvenience.”

Officials from the company that owns the theater complex, Showboat of Lyons LLC, could not be reached for comment.

Movie goer Tom Gentilli of Lake Geneva said he was surprised Sept. 8 when he tried to catch a movie at Showboat and he found the doors locked and the property abandoned.

“I just wanted to see a movie,” Gentilli said. “It was just like, ‘Well, what’s going on?’”

According to its website, Showboat opened its doors in June 1997.

The complex in the past has featured six separate movie screens, along with a game arcade, a private party room and an upstairs recreation area with a pool table.

Lyons town records indicate that the ownership company Showboat of Lyons LLC is based in West Bend, near Milwaukee.

Lyons town officials said the owners and managers of the popular movie theater attraction have provided no explanation why the business closed.

“I have no clue,” town Chairman William Mangold said.

The shutdown also surprised members of the Silver Screen Movie Club, an organization that holds private movie showings once a month at the Showboat for an estimated 400 club members, mostly senior citizens.

Larry Joseph, organizer of the private club, said the group’s monthly event was scheduled Sept. 7 to enjoy the bank-robbery comedy “Going In Style.” Two days earlier, however, a Showboat manager contacted Joseph and told him the theater was closing immediately.

The manager cited financial difficulties and gave no indication that the business would reopen, Joseph said.

Movie club organizers scrambled and were able to relocate the club’s monthly gathering to the Geneva Theater in downtown Lake Geneva — an arrangement that Joseph plans to continue in future months.

Joseph said members of the movie club were a little surprised by the sudden change, but the transition went well.

“They were very understanding,” he said. “They knew it wasn’t our fault.”

The Geneva Theater, 244 Broad St., which has four movie screens, reopened earlier this year after sitting idle for about 10 years.

The Showboat theater’s Facebook page shows that movie goers Sept. 5 were going to be treated to $5 discount tickets.

Shortly after that was announced, however, came the message that the theater was closing.

Gentelli said he likes Showboat because the complex offers a wide variety of movies and because the facilities are in reasonably good condition.

He said it was peculiar Sept. 8 to see the property darkened and no movies listed on the marquee.

“It was just odd,” he said. “I was very surprised. Showboat’s been around a long time.”

Story link: http://www.lakegenevanews.net/news/showboat-movie-theater-shuts-down/article_ce02747e-99c8-55db-8435-140df483fea2.html

ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at historictheatres.org

Comments (3)

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on September 21, 2017 at 9:45 am

It’s a shame that this cinema closed. It was the only theater in the area. I believe that the theater in downtown Lake Geneva has been closed for a long time.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on September 22, 2017 at 6:02 am

Paul, the Grand Geneva in downtown Lake Geneva is now open again and showing movies.

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