Rialto Theater

422 S 3rd Ave,
Villisca, IA 50864

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Rialto Theater

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kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 29, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Here is part of a March 1994 article from the Malvern (IA) Leader:

When the Rialto Theater closed in 1973, Villisca civic and business leaders formed Villisca
Theater Inc., a non-profit organizaton dedicated to keeping the facility open. Pat Shipley, current president of Villisca Theater Inc., explains, “The Rialto had been a mainstay since 1939. Without the intervention of our organization, the facility would have been abandoned.”

Volunteers have enlarged the stage, added an orchestra pit and lightboard, painted and
repainted, installed a new heating and air conditioning system, and carpeted. “Additionally, a youth, working on his Eagle Scout badge, raised money to renovate the art deco theater marquee.” She explains. This now serves as a community billboard. The mission of the theater expanded, she continued. “It became a venue for live theater in southwest Iowa.”

The theater is used by others, including the school and the local dance studio. Villisca Theater Inc. now invites outside entertainment. “We’ve booked a magician, barbershop chorus, Iowa State University’s Dance Revue and the Simpson College choir.” she notes. “We see the facility providing live entertainment that had not been available in the area in the past.”

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