Wheaton Grand Theater

123 N. Hale Street,
Wheaton, IL 60187

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Showing 326 - 350 of 369 comments

rroberts on June 13, 2005 at 12:03 pm

Dear Life’s Too Short. Emotional debate is a good thing but those who complain must play the game before they are “experts.” By the way, who are you? Do you do theatre restorations? Do you stick your neck out? I do not think I need to provide references to you, however, go to our website: www.grandevenues.com 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. 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.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 10, 2005 at 7:29 pm

In response to comments of June 1, I don’t think it is a bad thing to have heated discussion on this web site. Emotional debate is part of the preservation landscape. Take a look at some of the comments on the Crocker Theater in Elgin, if you think this is bad. There’s a guy over there that calls himself: “ELGINsucks*****”. I think the answer is to not visit Cinema Treasures sections that you find distasteful.

I don’t see that you have posted any references, as I mentioned on May 22, Paul.

zogasl on June 10, 2005 at 3:37 pm

I am a current and past volunteer at the Wheaton Grand Theatre and I can attest that the morale and enthusiasm is very high. Things are good!

The restoration of this theater is a project that is near and dear to me because my first job in high school was selling tickets at the Wheaton Theatre. I then graduated to selling concessions and spent countless hours working and watching movies in the beautiful, grand theater.

The subdivision of the theater was a travesty. Not only did it destroy the granduer and beauty but turned it into a run of the mill venue. The Wheaton Grand deserves to be restored to its original (one venue) glory.

Finally, John Loster is tireless in his efforts to make sure that the theater will once again shine. He is the reason that I am back volunteering as much as possible and deserves that gratitude of anyone who attends or performs at the Wheaton Grand.


rroberts on June 1, 2005 at 11:29 pm

Thank you for a voice of reason Mr. Grebe. So to sum up… all of us have different opinions about this particular theatre so let’s let it be and do work to help other theatres. Loster and his board will do their best to restore the Wheaton Grand. If they succeed, hooray. If not, it is another theatre gone. Sad that the GTC board members go out and try to ruin our reputation. Sad. A settlement is in the works between GVI (us) and GTC (them) so let the lawyers work it out. Unless attacked or maligned, I will not post here again. Goodbye. Thank you.

JamesGrebe on June 1, 2005 at 9:59 pm

I was the one who owned the former pipe organ from the Grand. It seems to me that all this public bickering back and forth is completely non-productive and will turn the public against you all. I was very excited to hear about the refurbishing of the theatre and the possibility of returning the organ to it’s home but all this turmoil is going to end all hopes of a glorius revival. If you all want to argue with each other do it privately and not on the CT site.
James Grebe

JLoster on June 1, 2005 at 9:32 pm

Actually, that invitation goes to the rest of you folks who have expressed interest in the Wheaton Grand as well. Bryan & Life’s Too Short, etc. I’d be more than happy to take you through the theater if you haven’t been already. Just let me know.

JLoster on June 1, 2005 at 9:05 pm

Patsy, I would be MORE than happy to stop having to respond as I have mentioned. If you read through these unfortunate postings you can see that I’ve responded only when myself or the theater board has been attacked in writing. I guarantee you and all the readers of this page that I will have nothing negative to say, unless again provoked. I would much rather talk about the Wheaton Grand theater and our future plans. And I would be more than happy to talk to you about those plans for the Wheaton Grand, and if you’re local, one of our representatives would be happy to show you around the theater. You can email me at or post theater-related questions here, and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Patsy on June 1, 2005 at 8:02 pm

I, for one, am really getting tired of reading these public CT exchanges and wish they would stop! I don’t know JLoster, but I have communicated with Paul Warshauer though I don’t personally know him. I’m sure there are some truths and some falsehoods in all of these many exchanges. but this is ridiculous and not very professional, imo.

JLoster on May 31, 2005 at 4:38 pm

Well, I think that given an iota of intelligence, most rational people can tell by the postings here that you’re the liar. Your past speaks for itself, so I won’t waste anyone else’s time by rehashing your misdeeds. A man like you states a blatant falsehood “you lie to the public about renting the old office space (no one there as of this morning), oblivious to the fact that we have a signed lease effective June 1st for that space. When you were by there this morning, did you not glimpse the TWO LARGE SIGNS in the front window of the new tenant that were put up over the weekend? I know they weren’t green and have pictures of dead presidents on them, but surely you must have seen them. See these little things you tend to gloss over are called facts. And if you pay attention, I don’t go out of my way to launch personal attacks on you, though they certainly would be warranted. My posts are always in response to your ravings. Why don’t YOU try shutting up for a change, and I’ll be more than happy not to have the need to respond to your lies. Your choice.

rroberts on May 31, 2005 at 1:52 pm

How sad, John. It is easy to blame someone else when you and your board has fallen down. Nice try but intelligent people see through your pack of lies. You gave an 80th birthday party where 15 people and a few friends stop by? Sad. You claim to have been trying to restore the theatre for 5 years. What has happened? Why haven’t you done even ONE fundraiser to put money into the building? Your GTC board is so disconnected with the public it can’t do anything without putting them to sleep… with inertia. Did it take GVI to kick start your efforts? We had thousands of people excited again about the theatre. Now nothing. No action. The 500 people (an exaggeration?) who attended the events you mention are the result of GVIs marketing and contract process, not yours. Our contracts are still there but you do not market them or any others. What happened to the marquee? What happened to all the young people who used to volunteer? You refuse to return stolen property that belongs to GVI. You continue to lie to the public about “their involvement.” Listen to the former advisory board, the schools, the boy and girl scouts, the seniors, the churches, the business and city officials, the kids and many others who WANT three venues, movies and programs for kids. You lost the YMCA’s contract to rent the theatre for theatre camps for the summer! Sad. You lie to the public about renting the old office space (no one there as of this morning). It is time to face the facts, John. You are on a sinking ship. Move over and let others continue the work started. There are plenty of other volunteers who refuse to go back to the theatre because YOU are there. Stop with the personal attacks and focus on the theatre, John. Do the right thing and resign. Then the REAL work of restoring an old theatre can begin.

JLoster on May 30, 2005 at 9:27 pm

Back to reality: The Wheaton Grand Theater not only turned 80 years young on Wednesday (May 25th), but we celebrated the kickoff of our 80th Anniversary Season with a concert by local band Paulina. To thank the community for their support, the concert was free to the public (thanks to Paulina for donating their talent & time!) Just because Paul Warshauer wasn’t invited, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a party (quite the opposite!) About 15 volunteers and board members came by, as well as several dozen fans/public. Volunteers who had stopped coming by because of Paul’s presence stopped by to say hello. One volunteer even promised to start volunteering on a regular basis again (hooray!) We followed that up with concerts on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday. All staffed by local volunteers who give up their free time to help a cause dear to their hearts. Shame on you Paul for saying the people of Wheaton aren’t involved. The entire Executive Board, and most of the volunteers, as well as many of our customers are local residents, whether that be Wheaton or the surrounding communities (Carol Stream, Winfield, Naperville, etc.) We’ve been receiving help and support and advice from local people for over FIVE YEARS! I don’t know who’s morale is bad, Paul. We have numerous volunteers who are happy that the project is back on track and several of the people who worked for you are volunteering their time (for NO money) at the theater. The roughly 500 people who came out over the last week seemed to be having a pretty good time too, but thanks for your concern! LOL!

Wheaton Grand

rroberts on May 29, 2005 at 5:21 pm

The Wheaton Grand Theatre turned 80 on Wednesday. How sad no one threw it a party. Grande Venues had big plans for an 8 story cake (one for each decade). We also had bigger plans for its renovation/restoration. GVI got estimates from two major architects and could renovate and open for 4.1 million. Now “restoration guru, Ray Shepardson” (James Fuller, a reporter’s words) wants to spend 8 million! Why don’t the people of Wheaton get involved? Why don’t business and civic leaders ask questions of that misguided board of directors? Is one theatre realistic downtown Wheaton? The DuPage Theatre in Lombard (nearby) suffers but at least there is a better plan for a downtown redevlopment! Meanwhile morale is down at the theatre with the volunteers and teenagers now that no one sits in the front window running events. Sad.

Patsy on May 25, 2005 at 2:39 pm

Bryan: Great article. Thanks.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 22, 2005 at 8:31 pm

Well…to some extent I brought this on myself by calling you a dirt bag. That was certainly not a cool-headed thing to do.

But, the fact that I am not active in restoration activities does not negate my opinion. A man with a string of angry people following him does not end up in that situation for no reason. While it is true that Donald Trump has dealt with his share of legal trouble, I know that the activities of GVI are not even close to being on the same scale of complexity. There is a world of difference between running an international real estate empire and managing one suburban theater.

The nature of your statements makes me suspect that you deal in emotion, rather than logic. If you are interested in defending your reputation, why don’t you post a list of your successful theater renovation projects…with references (names and phone numbers). Certainly if there is substance behind your sales pitch, that should not be a problem.

By the way, it doesn’t appear to me that your comments are being sanitized. It looks to me like you are being allowed to speak your peace.

rroberts on May 21, 2005 at 7:16 pm

Poor LTS, (Life’s Too Short): Thanks for your comments (dirt bag??) and Patsy’s compliments, too. I love this site but everyone should do “due diligence” including LTS. If you play in the big league you eventually get to court. Period. Theatre litigation is a part of real estate and everyone from Trump to Martha Stewart learn to deal with it. (Not that we are in that league yet!) Some claims are frivolous, some are borne from jealousy or misunderstanding. For the record: No one was “fired” at the Wheaton! My company, GVI was “retained” as consultants. The board didn’t like our work, or our advice so we have signed a settlement. I will make that document available when the time is right. The Uptown Theatre mess is still playing itself out in a big way on the north side and more news will be out in the coming months that will clearly be favorable to me and my company. Due diligence is right! I haved done so many projecst positively, directed hundreds of murder mysteries, musicals, plays worked with tens of thousands of people in all walsk of life….too bad only the bad stuff gets put on here. Due diligence. I take chances on theatres. Do you? Unless you play in the game stop cirticizing others. Get in there and at least TRY to save old theatres. Stop yelling ffrom the sidelines.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 21, 2005 at 12:12 am

What does any of this one theater stuff matter, Paul? You have been fired. Your office contains a stack of soft drinks now. Furthermore, I am more likely to believe several paragraphs of events presented along a timeline that can be verified than your vague accusations (stated in an inflammatory manner) based on conceptual differences.

I know that Paul has been involved with the Portage, the Uptown, and the Wheaton. None of these projects went anywhere, and there seems to be a string of accusations, some of which have escalated to the point where the judiciary system was involved.

Paul is good salesman…enthusiastic and intelligent. I have observed that a good salesman can usually create another opportunity, even if the previous one was a dismal affair.

I would be cautious, Patsy. I really can’t say anything for certain. But the information has piled up to the point where I would conduct extensive due diligence before becoming financially involved with this gentleman.

I thought you had a pretty good thing going out there, Paul. I am sorry that your intentions now appear to be dubious.

Patsy on May 20, 2005 at 3:44 pm

Brian: Thank you for your supportive post in regards to Mr. Paul W. I have been working with him since this past winter and find him to be a very interesting and dedicated theatre businessman.

Broan on May 20, 2005 at 3:42 pm

Certainly Paul must have some credibility if he’s been able to be involved in so many projects. A google search shows a number of different projects, and doesn’t neccessarily paint a flattering picture, but certainly there must be something more to the stories.

rroberts on May 19, 2005 at 10:49 pm

Dear Life’s Too Short: Do not rush to conclusions based on current “upaid manager” John Loster’s faulty information. Much of the “misinformation” has been directed at me and my company to deflect criticism against the GTC’s vision of “one theatre.” We have urged the public to get involved with “Three Venues Not One!” It is politically incorrect for this group to go against the public’s wishes! The “cases” you refer to from the Clerk’s office are from old Uptown Theatre business and have been settled a while ago. My big question is why have our comments been systematically removed from this part of the website? We made formal and legitimate accusations against board members at the WGT and it sppears this website was “sanitized.” Loster has been bad for business since he quit two times ago. Watch out for him, not me.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 19, 2005 at 1:09 am

Oh my god. That is awful. Going by the information posted by the Clerk of the Circuit Court, it looks like there are three outstanding judgments against this guy, from three plaintiffs, worth a total of about $10,000. And to think…I made comments supporting this dirt bag.

JLoster on May 9, 2005 at 5:01 pm

Sorry, that should have been “Last Saturday”, not “Last Friday”

JLoster on May 9, 2005 at 5:01 pm

Grande Venues, Incorporated (GVI) has had their contract terminated with the Wheaton Theater, which is operated by the 501c3 not-for-profit organization the Grand Theater Corporation (GTC). GVI received the notice of termination on March 29th, 2005 via certified mail, giving them 14 days to pack up their belongings and leave. By midnight on April 12th, they should have been off the premises, but were not, and we had to change the locks on the building. We are attempting to negotiate a settlement to try to honor some of the shows that GVI booked. So far we have seen contracts that weren’t countersigned, contracts that were signed after GVI was given their termination notice, etc.

Unfortunately, GVI has forbidden us to even attempt to contact the bands that they have contracts with, and they have not given us contact
information for nearly all of the bands they hired. This naturally puts us in a difficult situation, for we want to try to minimize the inconvenience to their bands, but yet we cannot work with them because we don’t know how to contact them.

We have only seen a few of the contracts, but my guess is that not a single contract informs their bands of the following two important terms in the GTC/GVI contract: 1) the GTC has the right to terminate the GTC/GVI contract, with OR WITHOUT cause upon 14 days notice; and 2) that GVI expressly agreed “Neither this Agreement, nor any term or condition therein, shall create an agency, joint venture, or partnership relationship between the parties, nor shall either party hold itself out to third parties in such capacity. Neither party has the power or authority to act for, represent, or bind the other in any manner other than as specified herein. No one hired by GVI shall be considered either an employee of independent contractor of GTC unless GTC agrees in writing.” As such, GVI had no authority to bind the GTC, and all of GVI’s contracts should have been subject to GVI’s contract with the GTC being in full force and effect on the date of the event. We are trying to honor GVI’s contracts so that the level of inconvenience to bands is minimized, but this is very difficult with GVI’s refusal to either notify the bands that the GVI/GTC contract has been cancelled, or by GVI refusing to give us contact information.

We find it hard to believe that GVI continued to attempt to book bands
AFTER their contract with the GTC was terminated. Again, we do not know for sure, but it looks like none of the bands that GVI signed after the contract was terminated were told that the contract was terminated.

Last Friday, several volunteers came to the theater in the attempt to honor one of GVI’s events. Not only was a contract NOT produced by GVI, but none of the bands showed up. The Grand Theater Corporation is making the attempt to honor what we can, given a difficult arrangement. Meanwhile we continue to receive calls from vendors that are seeking payment for past expenses incurred by GVI and not yet paid. In addition, GVI did not pay us their contracted March or April payments, their January and February payments were not paid in full and Paul Warshauer had theater property removed from the theater without our knowledge or consent. As an unpaid volunteer who has been involved with this theater for five years, and who spends dozens of hours a week on a project that’s very dear to my heart, I find it sad that Paul accuses me of being untrustworthy. For further reading, you might want to read the judgment entered against Paul Warshauer last year in a lawsuit filed by Annoyance Productions here: http://www.annoyanceproductions.com/lawsuit.html

Hopefully the Grand Theater Corporation can get back to the business of restoring a theater, and Mr. Warhshauer and his company can move on as well.

seabiscuit on May 6, 2005 at 9:26 pm



If you have scheduled show, you may be arbitrarily cancelled by Wheaton Grand Theater, even if you have a signed contract with them.

Patsy on April 29, 2005 at 9:37 pm

Bryan: One must register to read the Chicago Tribune article so could you post it on CT?

JamesGrebe on March 9, 2005 at 12:52 pm

More on the organ. The Kimball was set up more like a church organ than theatre style. There was only 1 unit chest (flute) and the rest of the organ was on pitman chests. All ranks except flute were 61n. The ranks on the great, horn diapsaon, muted viol, trumpet. The swell, tibia, vox humana, viol, viol celeste, & the flute on other. The diapsaon was very horny and served as a nice solo stop. The trumpet was fiery. The strings were very nice. As it sat origanally the chestwork fit together in a large sqaure shape with a walk board between. The offset held the bottom of the flutes. Originally it had chimes, and a bass drum & cymbal. They were gone when I bought it and instead was a Barton 37n metal bar harp.Originally the vox had it’s own 7.5 wp regulator and all else was on a big cone valve regulator(10wp). Regulators were under the chestwork. I added a 3rd regulator for the Swell portion and a 3rd trem. All the relay and switches were internal in the console and the swell shutter were 11 graduated in size and individually operated. A very powerful organ for it’s size. It served the church after the Grand till it was replaced by a new Keates Pipe organ.