Zoe Theatre

209 N. Madison Street,
Pittsfield, IL 62363

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Zoe Theatre

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The Zoe Theatre opened on Seoptember 17, 1950, and features a distinctive late-Streamline facade and unusual modernistic style marquee. It has an intimate auditorium, with seating in orchestra and balcony levels. A cry room was provided in the rear of the balcony.

The Zoe Theatre has been closed since 1987.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 36 comments)

FreeBird on December 26, 2005 at 9:21 pm

In my dealings with Paul Warshauer, he has always paid upfront, in advance, or right on time. I’ve been working with him for several years now and find these accusations malicious and untrue. These slanderous articles are absolute nonsense and I am aghast that such accusations are given large headlines, while the real truth, which clearly finds Paul Warshauer innocent of any and all wrong-doing, is left to the wind. Paul has been very generous with his time, his knowledge and his spirit. There are lots of people in show business, and in the world, who would take advantage of a situation crafted and created by the hard work of Paul Warshauer and his partners. Paul Warshauer’s mind is gold to anyone interested in restoring an old theater. Why tackle a project as massive as theater restoration when you can hire an expert like Paul Warshauer and Grande Venues, Inc.?

Talk is cheap; and obviously with Paul Warshauer the proof is in the pudding: he has the initiative and the know-how to get these projects off the shelves and into people’s minds and activities—-if you think there is any merit to these allegations against him, then still you must admit that he is obviously doing something right when these restoration projects gain enough momentum to have to stop. You don’t ever hear about the successful projects. Paul doesn’t really need to brag about his success. No, you don’t hear of the successes. What you hear is shady journalism with prejudiced tones.

Brenda Bowen of PJStar.com should be fired from her job for severely lacking journalistic integrity and sued for defamation of character in the public forum. Of all people, our journalists need to adhere to strict, objective positions. An article written by Ms. Bowen written on June 30, 2005 surrounding the business dealings of Mr. Warshauer, nevermind that she failed to publish the complete story, included statements that, although they were incomplete and misleading, served a purpose of a supporting a predetermined objective which in this case slanders the character of Mr. Paul Warshauer.

Nevermind that it was clearly a very simple, meniacal and hurtful attempt at writing an article to slander Paul Warshauer and a blatant disregard the journalistic integrity some journalists dedicate their lives to. Nevermind that she mentioned nothing about the actions of the other parties involved in these lawsuits which may have brought them to be, or that she used text to take deals that never closed and turn them into an examination of Mr. Warshauer’s character.

Nevermind that to Ms. Bowen it’s may just be a simple little article and maybe even a favor for a friend, or a “great scoop,” one of those “journalistic gems” that come around once in a lifetime to uncover a bad guy and expose his crimes to the world, protecting others from their predatory business practices. To Ms. Bowen it might have even been her little “Havana Watergate.” Nevermind that she’s probably forgotten about writing that “simple little article.” Ms. Bowen might make a paycheck by writing these little articles, some people can go hungry because of them, even though I know Paul Warshauer would never let himself go without shelter or food, no matter who tries to stop him.

Although Ms. Bowens has the enormous responsibility of upholding the public trust, she seems to carelessly abuse her power to write a dramatic story. She seems to abuse that microphone to the world habitually, in an off-the-cuff manner, for her own personal gain. Nevermind that while for Ms. Bowen her desire to have a little “Havana Watergate” sacrifices the very way in which Paul Warshauer MAKES A LIVING. The objective is simple: BLAME PAUL WARSHAUER. It seems that if Ms. Bowen is so ready to sacrifice someone else’s integrity for a step up the journalistic ladder, then she is an example of everything that is wrong with America. What’s next for Ms. Bowen?

Facts are one thing, Ms. Bowen; manipulating text to degrade a human being and endanger his business is a violation of the highest degree of journalistic integrity and should be dealt with. Maybe she should slander the town mayor; then she would certainly feel the repercussions of her actions. She uses her pen quite readily to slash at Mr. Warshauer, but hardly to defend his character.

Even when Ms. Bowen quotes Mr. Warshauer, she manages to skew the text to raise doubt about the integrity of Mr. Warshauer’s character. She certainly never uses her pen to show how capable he really is of doing a restoration. She didn’t publish anything about restoring the theater in Havana, or what would be done with it, or materials the theater in Havana needed once the project was up and running, who knows if she even bothered to ask! That’s because the article focused on raising doubt upon the character and integrity of Paul Warshauer, blaming him as a reason for the failure of the project. When you start with that objective, you create an article like hers.

There is no question she did not publish the full story, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and in fact she published statements that do nothing but raise doubts about the integrity of Paul Warshauer. It appears the project did not move forward at that time because of a lack of resources. In this article did she once openly and directly address that the missing factor in this equation was money and collateral? No.

She let’s that detail come through in two or three brief quotes and then spins them to raise doubts about the integrity of Paul Warshauer’s character. Did she ask him about what it takes to restore a theater? She certainly didn’t publish anything to that regard. Does she, for instance, even know that the people on the board at the Uptown who will not give their names, who likely would be sued, also probably tried to salvage their own personal reputation by not giving their name? She quotes people in the article, who were simply taking paychecks from the non-profit company without producing results, and turns THEIR quote around to raise suspicion of Paul Warshauer.

Did she know how delinquent the board members were, one of whom she quoted? Did she question their dedication to the project? Did she know they were essentially a sitting duck board? That they were behaving as if being paid were their sole responsibility as leaders of its board, unaware of what it really means for a human being to be PRODUCTIVE with a goal of ACCOMPLISHING THE MISSION or ESTABLISHED OBJECTIVES of the company. Because if they were aware of it and were capable of doing it then they would have. But they didn’t do anything until Paul came around, and when the deal started getting serious that balked. Now they blame Paul. And Ms. Bowen, unfortunately, did not seem to question or produce results or mention she was working hard to get the real truth. And, unfortunately, she did not have the gumption to realize that she violated journalistic integrity by slandering Paul Warshauer so one-sidedly.

Maybe it was personal. Maybe she didn’t like his cologne, or his choice of entree. I don’t know if they’ve ever dined together or even met in person, but an article like the one published on June 30, 2005 shows that with journalists like Ms. Bowen writing articles, the American public is in trouble. We are vulnerable to the agenda of the individual journalist, whose mighty pens wreak havoc, lest we bow to them. Why would Ms. Bowen publish an article that so eloquently indirectly focuses on Mr. Warshauer’s former business dealings?

If we can’t trust our journalists for straight-forward, honest reporting about the news in the world around us, who can we look to? Ms. Bowen simply degraded the character of Paul Warshauer and apparently believes he is a problem. Paul Warshauer, currently with Grande Venues, Inc., is one of the MOST productive persons I know, and he is punished over and over again for his productivity by those people who cannot or do not understand or appreciate hard work, or journalists with an agenda. Paul is the quintessential catalyst for getting theater restoration projects DONE. He is a single mind that knows all of the pieces of the theater restoration puzzle and how to put them together RIGHT. Ms. Bowen tried to hurt Mr. Warshauer right where it counts: his trade.

Ms. Bowen should be fired, fined, sued or all of the above. In business, sometimes deals don’t come together. When the table falls, especially when politics are involved, damaged expectations almost REQUIRE finger pointing and a blame game, so as to save face. Everyone knows that when something doesn’t work you have to tie loose ends off, and in business many times it ends up in court. If the theater restoration is the talk of the town, and suddenly it doesn’t work, city leaders have to face angry townspeople and a PR campaign including Ms. Bowens is a sure-fire way for the city of Havana to place blame and move on, and hopefully win re-election.

And all the deal really needed was capital. All you have to say is that the money wasn’t there. People understand this basic fact: Sometimes the money isn’t there. Instead, they choose to place blame to protect themselves in a matter that really merits the city’s leaders and journalists coming together with a “can do” attitude. They needed to help create something like and spread the word about the biggest bake sale in the city’s history in the city park, to raise money to begin the theater’s restoration. The town would really come together, organize and create unique foods, manage the baked good production(can’t have everyone selling chocolate chip cookies.) Everyone donates to a good cause, and has an afternoon as a real community. Instead, Ms. Bowen veritably points her finger and sticks out her tongue.

You can’t make an omelette without eggs. You can’t make an old theater young again without capital. You need more capital for some things than others. Ms. Bowen published statements about the Havana theater followed by statements about the business the city was dealing with, or Grande Venues, Inc. and Paul Warshauer. Did she publish anything about the city? Did she research other projects the CITY has or hasn’t been able to put together? No. She blamed the other guy. All that the Havana theater deal needed was capital, and Ms. Bowen chose to use the piece to focus on slandering a man’s character.

The deal just needed capital. A little capital means architects, plans, permits, assessments and the opportunity to attract more capital. A lot of capital means renovations, buying supplies, cleaning crews, installation crews(electrical, heat, water, etc…) More capital means getting the theater running; passing municipal inspections and promoting operations. Paul knows what the standard need of any theater restoration is, and digs down to see what the specific theater really needs, from the community and from construction teams. Paul’s value is his mind. He’s also pretty funny and would rather enjoy his time than not enjoy it.

Paul Warshauer has more experience and know-how in the theater restoration business than 90% of the population and if you don’t believe me, talk to him for 30 minutes about some of his projects and what his ideas for restoration were, or propose a new project to him. After 30 minutes, although you’ll know right away, you’ll see his mind is like a computer, programmed for theater restoration, or whatever task he puts his mind to.

He knows, at any point during the theater restoration process, the 5W’s, something anyone in a leadership position can tell you is essential SOMEWHERE in the chain of production to create results. He knows What has to be done, Where it has to be done, Who has to do it, When it has to be done in relation to other steps of the restoration, and then finally not just Why it has to be done but How it can be done. Journalists like Ms. Bowen need to find a new line of work. If she tries theater restoration, she’d have a great teacher in Paul Warshauer. But maybe she should work on her journalistic integrity first.

Old theaters need more than age to be beautiful again; they need a mind like Paul Warshauer’s. They need the right plan and the right guy to put the project together and make it happen. Paul is very capable and very sensible. With the right resources, you’ll realize that one of the most important jewels in restoring old theatrical treasures is HIM. It’s time people stop blaming him and let him do his job.

FreeBird on December 26, 2005 at 9:42 pm

Here is a link to the scandalous article written by Ms. Brenda Bowen and published June 30, 2005, and mentioned above. It’s available on the Annoyance Theater website, another company who has really lived up to their name, “Annoyance” in going out of their way to hurt Mr. Warshauer. Better click it soon before Annoyance strikes again! and annoys with changing the URL.


Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 2, 2006 at 12:27 am

Good lord. I can’t even read to the end of this thing…a nice piece of writing I would bet was crafted by Paul himself.

Still no news on the Zoe Theatre.

Patrick: doesn’t THIS violate your terms of use?!?

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 14, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Doorway and aluminum ladder are a nice touch.

route66sue on July 21, 2009 at 1:09 am

I live near Pittsfield and used to drive by the Zoe every time I was in town. I haven’t went by it in about 6 months or so as it just continues to sit empty. Maybe I should check it out and see how the restoration is coming (??).
If I had the money I would buy the theater myself and fix it up to be a working theater again.
I don’t believe you need surveys and all to see what the public wants as the proof is down the highway at the Clark 54 Drive In in Summer Hill. The owner continues to make improvements each season.
The City of Quincy had every committee possible “consulting” on the Washington Theater and now I hear it has been sold. I recent drive by the old Washington Theater shows it in worse shape then when they first took it over. Maybe I just don’t understand, but less talk, more action…the Zoe can still be saved if it just happens.

CSWalczak on June 18, 2010 at 6:07 pm

A new, local group has formed, the Zoe Preservation Society, which has launched efforts to fully restore the Zoe. Their first step is to restore the marquee which they hope to accomplish by Christmas, 2010. Story here: View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 18, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Good Luck,Zoe Preservaion Society.Some good stories to read.

dawn2394 on September 8, 2012 at 7:31 am

Actually the Zoe Theatre was still open on November 13th 1981 because my future husband and I seen Endless Love there. It closed sometime after 1981.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on February 13, 2013 at 3:11 am

The photos lostmemory posted from 1985 refute the assertion that the Zoe closed in 1982. A recent newspaper article about the Zoe being named to the National Register of Historic Places states that the theatre closed in 1987.

stingwicki on February 13, 2017 at 9:33 pm

My former organization Two Rivers Regional Council procured funding and helped move the Theater through the designation process. Although this should have paved the way for funding and redevelopment opportunities, it appears the theater condition has not seen any progress since 2012.

Stephen Holowicki

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