Virginia Theatre

203 W. Park Avenue,
Champaign, IL 61820

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Showing 1 - 25 of 47 comments

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 25, 2014 at 12:56 am

From what I read in the comments marquee replacement went against local and national opinion, and I personally don’t think it is an improvement. It’s the Windows 8 style of management: 1) Give Windows 8 to focus groups. 2) Focus groups all say they hate it but Windows 8 is released anyway. 3) Windows 8 bombs in the marketplace. But they don’t fix the consumer complaints with an update and continue to try to force it on people as is. This kind of thing always baffles me, especially in the case of the Virginia where it involves a taxpayer-funded organization. In Microsoft’s case they will pay the price with continued poor sales if they don’t give the people what they want. I’m not sure how it shakes out in Champaign, except possibly at the election booth.

Mike
Mike on May 4, 2013 at 7:50 am

Thanks. Don’t know why my direct links don’t work though…

Mike
Mike on May 3, 2013 at 8:50 am

The Virginia Theatre restoration… https://vimeo.com/64460044

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 25, 2012 at 11:17 am

Article from News-Gazette.com 7/19/12

CHAMPAIGN — It’s believed that the seats in the Virginia Theatre have been playing an integral role to performances and movies in downtown Champaign since about 1939.

And while the seats will be replaced as a part of the ongoing renovation at the theater (it’s closed until spring of next year), the seats will live on, both through residents who purchase them and when they’re refurbished and resold.

The Champaign Park District is hosting a sale of about 100 seats from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday in front of the building. Seats will sell for $50 each. Park district spokeswoman Laura Auteberry said it’s a cash-and-carry sale, so make sure you have a way to take your seats home.

She said residents have expressed interest in owning a piece of local history.

“It’s all being done as a fundraiser for the Virginia Theatre,” Auteberry said. “All of the money is going right back into the restoration effort.”

The rest of the seats will be salvaged and picked up by the Discount Seating Co., based in Jackson, Tenn.

Owner Austin Fongers said he’ll pick up about 1,300 seats in Champaign. While he doesn’t yet have a buyer for them, he plans to restore them to have them ready for sale when someone needs them. It’s possible they could be sold as a lot, or some could be sent to little theaters around the country.

“It’s a good, old, quality chair,” Fongers said of the seats from the Virginia.

Jim Lopez, vice president and partner at Broeren Russo, which is the project’s general contractor, said giving the seats to Fongers' company keeps them out of the landfill and provides an immediate solution for what to do with them.

“We really didn’t want to throw them away if we could do something else with them,” Lopez said, calling it a “win-win.”

Lopez said the restoration will include sandblasting the chairs' metal backs and repainting them, stripping the existing foam and cloth and adding new seats.

Fongers said his company picks up seats all over the country and has been in business for 10 years. It also specializes in restoring seats on-site.

Part of the Virginia’s renovation will be the installation of new seats. Although the park district hasn’t yet finalized exactly what they’ll look like, Auteberry said, they will look historically accurate.

The park district is working with architects Westlake Reed Leskosky, which specialize in theater restoration. She said many times when people are restoring theaters, they put in new seats.

“Eventually, you either have to refurbish them or put new seats in,” she said.

The new seats, like the entire remodel, will be chosen “with a strong effort to maintain historical integrity,” Auteberry said.

She believes they’ll have a rich color palette, perhaps with deep red or maroon, blacks and golds, she said.

“People jump to the conclusion that we’re making everything new and modern,” Auteberry said. “While codes and materials have changed (since the theater was built), we’ve always been very mindful of maintaining the historic integrity of the building.”

However, when the theater reopens, you can expect to be comfortable in the new seats.

“They definitely will be more comfortable just because they haven’t had people sitting in them for the last 60-some years,” she said.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Closed until 2013 for a major restoration.

RoadsideArchitecture.com
RoadsideArchitecture.com on September 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm

The new, replica marquee. I very much prefer the vintage Art Deco sign that they removed recently.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/t_zero/6101139613/
seymourcox
seymourcox on May 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm

The neon marquee was condemned and removed last Spring. City engineered felt it could no longer hold up under another heavy snow. This video tells the Virginia Theatre history with vintage photos;
View link

fergusmacivor
fergusmacivor on November 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Does anyone know when the “RKO Virginia” marquee was replaced by the [plain] “Virginia” marquee. The RKO-V marquee looks like it has neon, at least the upper part. Info, anyone?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 19, 2010 at 5:00 am

Photo of workers removing marquee.

View link

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 17, 2010 at 11:00 am

I heard the local news is reporting that the old marquee is down and the one is going up. Any additional info and photos is appreciated.

spectrum
spectrum on November 12, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Now the message says that both the web page and the theatre itself are under renovation. The webpage has a link to the Chicago park’s District calendar which indicates the next event at the Virginia will be at the end of December 2010, so it looks like this renovation will be a fairly quick one.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 7, 2010 at 6:44 am

Any photos of the work-in-progress of replacing the current marquee?

galechicago
galechicago on June 15, 2010 at 2:29 am

Last summer I visited Champaign, spent a lot of time photographing the Virginia marquee.
Here is my set of photos from May 2009:
View link

jwballer
jwballer on June 12, 2010 at 2:02 pm

What will happen with the old marquee?

armyarch
armyarch on June 11, 2010 at 11:09 am

On Wednesday June 9, 2010, the Champaign Park District voted to remove the RKO neon marquee from the 1940s and construct a rectangular marquee with neon (similar to the left hand drawing in the link above). This decision went against public opinion and the opinion of historic preservation professionals in Champaign, in Illinois, and at the national level.
View link

jwballer
jwballer on May 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Theatre is closing in June 2010 and will reopen in mid fall 2010
View link

chapcan
chapcan on April 20, 2010 at 9:18 pm

The Empire Strikes Back and Poltergeist with Mike and Hank

armyarch
armyarch on March 16, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Hopefully the Champaign Park District will actually come to their senses and restore the existing marquee instead of persuing this idea of false restoration. It’s entirely conceivable that the existing marquee dates back to 1929 when RKO purchased the theater and wired it for sound. No one knows. There’s only one photograph of the original marquee and so far the oldest photograph of the existing marquee dates to 1947.
View link

jwballer
jwballer on March 10, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I will miss it.
Hopefully the Champaign Park District knows what there throwing away and what there doing.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/army_arch/4412874340/

jwballer
jwballer on March 10, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Remembering something old is part of the thing that makes you love it.