Will Rogers Theatre

705-715 Monroe Avenue,
Charleston, IL 61920

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Will Rogers Theatre

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The Will Rogers Theatre was opened in 1938, with 1,000 seats in its single auditorium. It was later twinned and was closed in 2010. Taken over by new owners in 2012, restoration and reopening is planned.

The theatre was placed on the Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Contributed by Ange Albsmeyer

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 8, 2010 at 11:03 am

That’s too bad. It was a really nice-looking room.

soybean
soybean on December 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I talked to a person who lives at Charleston today. She told me she stop going to the Will Rogers, though she lives close to the theater. As many of the seats were broken, sound was poor quality. The theater wasn’t in good shape. I don’t know if it was Kerasotes or it was AMC decision to let this theater become in bad shape. Causing the theater to lose customers. This use to be a great theater, with quality sound & seats in great shape. It’s sad that this great theater was let to get in this condition. I hope some person or group will save this theater & do the repairs needed to bring this theater back to the great theater it was.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on April 6, 2011 at 11:24 am

Named recently to a list of the most endangered historical sites in Illinois: View link.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on April 6, 2011 at 11:49 am

Some additional information about the designation with pictures: View link.

AnnieOhBanannieOh
AnnieOhBanannieOh on August 17, 2012 at 12:42 am

A few short comments about the Will Rogers Theater: I didn’t come to Charleston, Illinois until later in adulthood but my family lives in a historical neighborhood within easy walking distance of The Square where the Will Rogers is located (just off). We thoroughly enjoyed walking from home down to Roc’s, a historical bar and BBQ joint on The Square for BBQ with a colorful history, then after dinner walking on down to Will Rogers for a movie. A delightful way to spend an evening. We always found the Will Rogers to be clean and comfortable but with an increasingly “neglected” look as time went on. Current movies were shown there at reduced rates, a great bargain. Then AMC bought it from Kerasotes and pretty quickly closed it. Last year the local newspaper reported that a couple had bought it with intentions of renovating/restoring it. They brought in a huge dumpster and there seemed to be some kind of work going on. Then the dumpster disappeared, work stopped and no further word on when or what is happening there for going on a year now. Final comment is that AMC was bought out last year by a Chinese group who bought up all the American AMC theaters. So the major movie theater chain in the U.S. is now China-owned.

Dumke
Dumke on September 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Please check out the new web site for the Will Rogers Theatre in Charleston IL The Theatre is in restoration.

www.WillRogersCharleston.com

Dottie
Dottie on October 7, 2012 at 8:28 pm

My family has been to the Will Rogers Theater many times, back to when my husband and I were in college… back to when the management would post a note to remind the college kids that in the wintertime there may or may not be heat. It didn’t stop us from taking in the movies offered. My kids grew up watching movies there… after they split the theater (side by side for the Life’s too Short and yes, at one time it did have a balcony) they put semi-new seats in and upgraded the sound. The seating was still retched, lol, you had to look over people’s shoulders… but they had the best popcorn of all the movie theaters in central Illinois, and the kids that operated the counter were great and so was the management who would greet people who were regulars (like our family apparently). I was sorry to see AMC closed it’s doors and frankly, though the theater needed work, I didn’t understand it, it was packed every weekend.

Dumke
Dumke on February 28, 2014 at 8:40 am

For more information about the Will Rogers Theatre please visit www.WillRogersCharleston.com We have wonderful plans for restoration of this grand venue. Please support our mission.

Dumke
Dumke on February 28, 2014 at 8:44 am

My husband and I are the new owners of the Will Rogers Theatre in Charleston IL. Our web site is www.WillRogersCharleston.com We have set up a http://www.gofundme.com/49rb4o to help with the restoration. Thank you for your interest and support of the project.

Scott
Scott on April 20, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I have uploaded a 1940 postcard view of the Will Rogers Theatre to the photo section.

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