Varsity Center for the Arts
418 S. Illinois Avenue,
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The Varsity Theatre originally opened in 1940 with seating for 1,100. The theater was later twinned, and finally triplexed. The Varsity suffered a fire in 1981, but was remodeled and reopened.
This Art Moderne-style movie house was closed by its last operator, Kerasotes Theatres, in May of 2003.
In early-2008, it was acquired from Kerasotes by the Stage Company of Jackson County, which plans to renovate and restore the historic Varsity Theatre as a venue for live theatrical productions. The ongoing restoration project is going to be done in three phases, with work anticipated to be completed by 2012.
The theater reopened to the public in October 2008 as the Varsity Center for the Arts with a performace of the Neil Simon play, “The Star-Spangled Girl”, kicking off the Stage Company’s 2008-2009 season.
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