A volunteer committee of interested citizens, Dorothea Bilder, Dee Coover, Alice Freier, Jo Anne Fox, Wenke Hansen, Ron Klein, Mary Larson, Linda Mason, Lynne Morel, Shirley Nehring, Nancy Norris, Sue Orem, Denise Rode, Maureen Russell, Sally Stevens and chairwoman Mary Beth Van Buer, has been involved in a fundraising program to assist in renewing the Egyptian Theatre to its original state. Listed on the “Historical Registry of Historical Places,” this DeKalb landmark will celebrate its 80th year of existence, and, to maintain its viable place in the community, there are many areas that are in need of special attention.
The Egyptian Theatre still employs the original seats from 1929, and they are not as comfortable as many patrons would like. The installation of replacement seats is perhaps first and foremost of the projects to be addressed. To promote awareness of this need, larger-than-life-size figures of Egyptian pharaohs and queens have been placed in prominent locations in DeKalb County. Members of the volunteer committee have given presentations at many local clubs and organizations to promote interest in this project, which will benefit the theater and the community.
Benefit programs have been staged to add to the funding. In early June, the committee brought Barbara Rinella, a book dramatist, to the Egyptian Theatre when she presented her one-woman portrayal of Albert Einstein. This presentation was held in conjunction with a reception staged in the theater lobby; donors proceeded to the theater for an evening of monologue theater.
On Sept. 17, a traditional bluegrass concert will be presented in the theater by a group called “Truman’s Ridge.” Ticket sales for this event will be available to all and priced appropriately for families. Other events are still in the planning stages and will be announced in the local media outlets.
The opportunity to fund new seats is being offered at each event by mail or online. The total number of seats for the theater will be 1,400. To date, about a quarter of the needed funding has been donated. Each donated seat will bear a nameplate to honor donors. Businesses, organizations and individuals wishing to donate to the overall Egyptian Theatre restoration project will be listed according to the amount of the donation.
More information is available by calling the theater at 815-758-1215 or by visiting www.egyptiantheatre.org.