Wheaton Grand Theater

123 N. Hale Street,
Wheaton, IL 60187

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Showing 301 - 325 of 369 comments

telliott on July 21, 2005 at 1:51 pm

I think life is too short…to short for all this bickering and mean spirited comments by “LTS”. Maybe he should stop commenting altogether on this particular theater site and give the rest of us…a break.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 21, 2005 at 12:45 pm

Now I am a jobless con man who abuses this web site? Give me a break…you are the one who is all over this site trying to entice people with investment opportunities.

mnovelli on July 18, 2005 at 3:46 pm

Again, 630-480-3345…sorry!

mnovelli on July 18, 2005 at 3:45 pm

Dear Life’s too short,

My correct phone number is 630-480-2245.

Mike Novelli
President, GVI

mnovelli on July 18, 2005 at 3:42 pm

Dear Life’s Too Short,

I’m truly amazed at the amount of energy you exert on this site. I’m not criticizing you for this. In fact you seem to possess a strong diligence quality.

As you are probably aware, I do not spend much time on blogs mainly because I enjoy working at my business and dealing with the daily challenges it presents. When the day is done I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride knowing GVI has taken another step in preserving the arts and its many beautiful historic buildings.

You seem to possess a great deal of knowledge and experience about historic theatres yourself. I’d be very interested in learning about your work and/or contributions to the arts. I’m not too proud to admit I don’t know everything about this field. Feel free to call me at 630-489-3345 to discuss in private or via email at

Life really is too short…I invite you to help make a difference.


Mike Novelli
President, GVI

rroberts on July 15, 2005 at 5:02 pm

You have crossed the line. Novelli is an honest and good man. You are the con man, sir. Stay off these sites and leave the communications to people who care about saving old theatres. You do not say anything constructive. Get a job.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 15, 2005 at 3:36 pm

Too scared? What are we, fifth graders in the school yard? My relatives designed the Chicago, Uptown, Oriental and many other of America’s great theatres. Our family takes pride in seeing these buildings continue to thrive. My issue is that I take it personally when it looks like a couple of hustlers are taking advantage of people involved in restoration efforts. As far as lurking in the shadows goes, what do you want me to do, give you my name and address? Call you, so that you get my phone number on your caller ID? Why? You seem like the kind of guy who might be dumb enough to stop by and try something.

Mike Novelli did not speak from the heart. Those words came from another part of the body.

Wheatongrandluver on July 13, 2005 at 1:21 pm

ouch agent007 but i can agree that some of the attitudes displayed do suck.

seabiscuit on July 13, 2005 at 7:59 am

So just sum it all up – YOU ALL SUCK!

Wheatongrandluver on July 12, 2005 at 4:37 pm

LTS did nothing to destroy your work. They just disagreed with something someone else said. Really Paul, I don’t think that it is something to get your feathers rustled about. But I do agree with them. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

rroberts on July 12, 2005 at 6:38 am

You appear pretty negative, “Lifes too short” Try working to HELP old theatres not to destroy our work. Mike Novelli wrote from his heart. Respect his words. You really don’t know me or my work. Why not come out into the light of day and tell us who you really are instead of lurking in the shadows? Call me so we can discuss your issues or are you too scared? (630) 480-3345.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 11, 2005 at 2:40 pm

Uncle Paul? Cub scout stories? Give me a break.

Wheatongrandluver on July 11, 2005 at 7:38 am

This is a first post for me because I am new to the site but I have volunteered for about 5 months and I have heard all of the stories about management problems. I just want it to be known that the WGT is a beautiful theater and we should be doing all we can to get people to help us restore it not bickering to see who can call each other the worst name. Isn’t this site about the theaters? Not the management.

mnovelli on June 24, 2005 at 5:28 pm

I’ve read the blogs associated with the Wheaton Grand that mention my company, Grande Venues, Inc. (GVI). There is always two sides to every story, and many times the story is blown way out of proportion. But I’ve not checked in here to debate or defend what has been said. Rather, I want to share a true and important story with all of you.

In February 2005 GVI hosted the Cub Scouts Blue & Gold annual banquet. My 6 year old son, a Tiger Cub Scout, was also in attendance that evening.

The entertainment for the evening was a play starring 18 Cub Scouts. When the director asked for volunteers, most of the boys raised their hands and were eager to participate in the play. My son, who is extremely bashful, sat and watched while the other children raised their hands in excitement. For any of you with children like this, you can relate to being concerned about your child’s confidence. His bashfulness was not new. In fact, I new he would not raise his hand. You can imagine all the guilt I felt as a parent.

But, something amazing happened. After most of the children stepped onto the stage, the director made one last request for children to volunteer. One boy slowly raised his hand. The boy was my son. I cried tears of joy. For the first time in his life he was not afraid and wanted to join in the fun.

Why do I tell this story? The director’s name was Paul Warshauer, my partner, or Uncle Paul as he is known by my 6 year old son. Through his passion and through his talent he made this happen for my son. So you see I’m not here to debate or defend what has been said. I’m here to share a true story.

I welcome any emails pertaining to my company or what we are trying to do.

Mike Novelli
President, GVI

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 23, 2005 at 1:32 pm

Explain this to me: if you are so hesitant to display references in a public forum, why is your organization claiming to run the Wheaton Grand Theatre in a newspaper article dated May 25, 2005?


rroberts on June 17, 2005 at 11:38 am

Negativity? How about reality! I have attended and actively participated in meetings of GTC. For the record: TWO of EIGHT board members attended the General meeting last week of the GTC. Some turnout of board members! There were less than 6 people who attended. It doesn’t sound like negativity. Sounds like apathy. Too bad you didn’t enjoy my murder mystery. Nearly everyone else did. While I am out DOING, you are out there WHINING. Again… I will take Mr. Newman’s advise and do productive things until otherwise provoked on this site.

zogasl on June 17, 2005 at 8:11 am

Mr Warshauer,

As I have indicated in the past, I am a past and current volunteer and worked at the theatre in the 1970’s. I attended your St Patricks Day murder mystery and while the concept was exciting the actual event was a disappointment.

Please stop your fabrications. You are making a fool of yourself with all your infantile charges and anyone with half their wits about them will know that you are, in fact, acting like a disgruntled child who did not get their way so you are belittling the cause you once championed.

Unless you attend the meetings of the WGT, which I have, and find out what is going on then perhaps you should refrain from commenting since you have no idea what is happening. Volunteers can and do attend these meetings and are asked for their input and suggestions. I have asked questions and gotten answers that do not backup your theory that one theatre will not work. You are entitled to your opinion on that issue but since you are no longer involved in the project you should leave the WGT alone.

“Renegade Board Members” of the board as you call them, as well as all your dire predictions are figments of your defeatist and negative attitude.

Just go away and leave the WGT alone. We don’t need your negativity.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 17, 2005 at 8:00 am

> Let cooler heads prevail.

Indeed. This bickering is unseemly and certainly isn’t going to help any of you save this theatre.

rroberts on June 17, 2005 at 7:45 am

LZogas: See? Everyone has an axe to grind but how many do their research? Who are you, by the way? We are hardly disgrunted contractors. We DID lots of programming in that theatre for six months! Cub scouts, magic shows, concerts, movies, plays, murder mysteries, Chamber of Commerce functions, a kickoff fundraiser for Sgt. Gomez…on and on. What are they doing in there now? NOTHING! We are not disgrunted. We are sad. This board blew a giant contract with the YMCA to do summer camps for kids! They also blew a chance to presentt “Fiddler on the Roof” for the 8th graders at St. Mikes. They still owe us money and have kept our concessions and property inside the theatre as hostages! The Wheaton Board is NOT hard working nor are they sincere. Other theatres and cities have invited the public to participate in the design phase and even help with the fundraising. This board does not and is mezmorized by Ray Shepardson alone. Bad idea. He needs 8 mil? This is crazy! GVI needed 4.1 mil and could open a successful theatre sooner! Banks liked our plans, investors liked our plans, business organizations and the public liked our plans. The Wheaton board does not even honor its own volunteers by asking them what they see. Elections for directors are done in secret. No one knows who regulates that board. Come on: They are not saints as you paint them. I have told anyone you can check out our projects in person by visiting our office. Make an appointment. However with renegade board members of the Wheaton Grand running around speading lies, (and committing tortious interference) we are naturally cautious. Just run a web search and you will see GVI projects in cities like Pittsfield, Havana and others in several states who have hired us or where we are currently running theatres. We are moving forward and are successful in other markets BUT we do care about our own hometown! Why don’t YOU ask more questions of them and find out why ONE theatre will be a disaster. Where is their proof or projections? Let cooler heads prevail. Now I must get back to real work.

zogasl on June 17, 2005 at 6:02 am

Mr Warshauer,

Why are you reluctant to provide references to this forum? You elude to testimonails but are not willing to produce them in an open forum. One does not have to be an expert in theatres to know a phony when they see one.

If historic theatre restoration is so important to you then why not wish the Wheaton Grand board the best of luck and move on. The WGT board is a group of sincere, hard working and dedicated people who want the best for this historic building and do not need to put up with insults from a disgruntled “contractor”.

Having worked at the theatre in the 1970’s I know the beauty that it once was and have seen some of the resotration ideas. No matter which company is chosen to return it to that beauty, it will be a glorius renovation.

Since that will not be GVI, move on, concentrate on your own projects and leave the WGT alone to continue their work in restoring the beautiful Theatre to it’s ONE VENUE past.

rroberts on June 16, 2005 at 4:57 am

Dear Life’s: My my! I do good work and am not ashamed of myself, my company or my projects. I have directed hundreds of plays, written and directed murder mysteries, worked with thousands of kids in theatre, taught theatre in high school and junior high school, worked in summer camps… What have YOU done? Why don’t you identify yourself as you appear to know so much about me? You claim to have met me yet you hide in the shadows. Hmmm. Who is hiding now? Call our office, or schedule an appointment to see us. My staff and I shall be happy to offer you references, contracts, photos, terstimonials, andm ost important, concrete proof of our statement that ONE theatre will not work in Wheaton. But then again maybe you do not really work with theatres and have your own agenda to discredit me. At least I am doing what I love. Are you?

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 15, 2005 at 5:51 pm

1) STATEMENT: Dear Life’s Too Short. Emotional debate is a good thing but those who complain must play the game before they are “experts.”

ANSWER: I am not sure what you are saying. If you don’t work in theater renovation, there is no way you can know anything about smart business at all? Is that what you are saying?

2) STATEMENT: By the way, who are you? Do you do theatre restorations? Do you stick your neck out?

ANSWER: I have been around architects, theatres and people trying to restore them my entire life. My relatives designed many of America’s movie palaces, including some you have been associated with. My family has provided historical information and, in some cases, blueprint copies to various restoration organizations. The most notable example is the Chicago Theatre (when it was being restored in the 80’s). I did volunteer electrical work in Chicago’s Uptown Theatre back in the early 90’s…as part of a small group of people trying to keep the building maintained. I drove from Chicago to Sioux City, IA to participate in the grand reopening of the Sioux City Orpheum while all planes were grounded after 9/11. I have many more stories.

3) STATEMENT: I do not think I need to provide references to you, however, go to our website: www.grandevenues.com

ANSWER: Your web site, like your postings here, contains no references…only vague mention of your work. You have pictures posted of theatres that you either haven’t been publicly involved with (as far as I know), or severed ties with under dubious conditions. I imagine the good people at the Wheaton Grand would like you to take the picture of their building off your web site, for instance. Legitimate businessmen post references. I have happy clients who allow me to give out their contact information. Web designers have work samples. Conrad Schmidt Studios, to take a theatre-related example, has a list of successfully completed projects posted on their web site. You offer nothing concrete…I suspect because you have nothing concrete, and you are defensive about the subject.

4) STATEMENT: Now that I have been brought back in: the Wheaton Grand is doomed to fail regardless of the Pollyannas on this website and on their board. Where are the theatre people on their board or volunteers? None. They do not have a grip on reality or maintain reasonable business models. Plain and simple: Multiple venues = success. ALL reports indicate that single theatres are failing at a rapid rate. Wheaton has NO parking for an 800 seat venue. The board is deluded thinking the public will roll out $8 million when they can have it all for $4.1 million. GVI has a great plan to preserve Wheaton’s architectural elements and still have the theatre be self sufficient.

ANSWER: So, you have ESP then? THAT should be posted on your web site. Your statement about single unit theatres being doomed to fail simply isn’t true. Look around on this web site: there are plenty of successful projects out there.

5) STATEMENT: GVI now has projects in Illinois, California and Connecticut. Certain Grand Theatre board members go out of their way to try and discredit us. We don’t care. Cities and arts organizations keep hiring us as we do the hard work before restoration begins. Other projects are on the way. At least we try and do not sit in an armchair and critcize everyone else. We are moving forward not looking backwards. Lots of theatres need help. We are on the way up.

ANSWER: A good salesman, as they say, can sell ice to Eskimos. I have met you Paul, and I know that you are a good salesman: enthusiastic and intelligent…and I think that is why you continue to find new projects. But are these going to end in failure, like all the other GVI projects I know of? Where are your successes? I am not a theatre professional. But I understand the business. Regardless of that debate, I know that doing business with a man who has no references, who appears to throw off a lot of sales hype, and who has nothing but failure and outstanding legal judgments behind him, is a dubious proposition.

If you have a list of happy clients and successful projects, tell us about it. I will be the first to admit that I was wrong about you. All I have heard (in the press, on this site, from people I know in the business community) is negative examples.

I hope you are tragically misunderstood Paul. But I have a growing suspicion that you go from community group to community group, taking advantage of good-intentioned people associated with historic theatres. It looks an awful lot like you are thinking about working over young Brian Wolf here. If that is the case, and you are using this web site to look for potential targets, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Broan on June 13, 2005 at 2:21 pm

I’m a college student, but I am involved with the Des Plaines Theatre.

rroberts on June 13, 2005 at 11:17 am

Brian: Thank you. I am encouraged by your enthusiasm. We hope to be helpful and successful to several theatres each year. Again read between the lines for the Wheaton. They want ONE theatre and we want THREE theatres for THAT location. OK. The Uptown remains in play. The lease for the Portage was sold. We have done many projects quietly. You have only read about the loud public ones. By the way are you in the theatre restoration business? Have you tried to save old theatres?

Broan on June 13, 2005 at 7:03 am

I don’t see any references to sucessful projects on the site (I see you’ve updated it), which was what was in question. These are the only references I noted: “GVI currently has projects across the country and runs theatres in Havana and Pittsfield.” “GVI has been involved in several historic theatre projects across the country.” This is your opportunity to defend yourself; you’ve had a lot of negative things said about you here and in the press. This is your chance to show us what you’ve accomplished. I see you have a photo of the New Regal on the site; were you involved with it? I think your business plan has a lot of appeal and potential, and I wish you and the theatres you work with the greatest of success, but based on what i’ve seen from the public view of the Uptown, Uptown-Broadway, Portage, Sky Club, and Wheaton Grand, I, for one, would be hesitant to work with GVI. Of course, though, i’d love to be proven wrong.