PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The $35 million restoration of a historic Peoria theater is coming along, and now you have the chance to see the progress.
The Madison Preservation Association and Kenny’s Westside Pub are hosting a concert pre-party at the Madison Theater on Sept. 16 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Performing at Kenny’s is Ghost-Note, a percussion-based funk, hip hop and jazz fusion band from Dallas, Texas.
Jay Goldberg, a board member of the Madison Preservation Association, said the event will be held in the original entrance of the theater for ticketed concert guests only. Food and drinks are provided by Kenny’s on a donation basis.
“The overall goal is to bring back to Peoria a major part of history. It’s our last historical, last theater in Peoria, and we want to save it… Everyone has a memory of the Madison Theatre and if you’re younger and don’t have good memories, you really would be amazed to come in and see,” said Goldberg.
Guests will be able to take guided tours through the rest of the theater.
“We’ll be giving tours and showing you a lot of what our plans are, but most importantly, the progress we’re actually making and educating the whole community as to why and hopefully encourage them to jump on board to help save and restore the historic Madison Theater,” said Goldberg.
Goldberg said the theater is for the community, by the community.
“I hope they take away a pride of the community and a passion to help get involved. Spread the word, let people know how excited they are for this, and that excitement alone with providing incentives where financing is available,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg, who founded and owns Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment, previously operated the Madison from 1996 to 2002 as a concert venue. He said “it’s a dream come true” to be able to bring the theater back to life.
“This will be our first event that we hope is one of many concert pre-parties for all of the various venues in the area… and of course, our goal is to then be able to give people tours and educate them as to what the historic Madison Theater means to Peoria,” he said.
The Madison Preservation Association took ownership of the theater in January 2022. Goldberg said the group is looking to raise about $9 million in community donations for the restoration project, with an estimated completion date of late 2024.