Take a Tour of the Historic Madison Theater

A newly formed group, the Madison Preservation Association, will be hosting free tours of the historic Madison Theater in downtown Peoria this month.  The group consists of 7 local business and civic leaders whose goal is to renovate the theatre to once again host events and shows in the last remaining icon of Peoria’s vaudevillian past.

Madison Theater tours will also include a brief project overview along with the opportunity to ask questions about the project.   Tours open to the public will take place on the following dates/times:

Thursday, August 19
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Light lunch provided

Thursday, August 19
4 – 6 pm
Hors d’oeuvres provided

Saturday, August 28
11:30 – 1:30 pm
Light lunch provided

Anyone wishing to attend is required to RSVP as space is limited by emailing [email protected] or calling 309-431-1612.

Madison Interior color

The theatre will be managed by the non-profit group that hopes to have the building re-opened by 2024.  The Two25 Restaurant, formerly in the Mark Twain Hotel, plans to open in the downstairs restaurant section of the building which was most recently a Rumbeger’s Wings and More at the corner of Main St. and Madison.  The operation of Two25 in its former location ceased due to COVID restrictions.  The restaurant will be open temporarily while the renovation of the main building is in progress and will re-open permanently once that’s completed.

The group plans to renovate the theatre using the guidelines of the National Register of Historic Places that is administrated by the National Park Service.

“The theatre has 1600 seats,” said Lee Wenger, one of the 7 members of the association.  “It’s right between the Civic Center’s capacity of 2,000 seats and the Scottish Rite theatre which has 900 seats,” he said.  The association hopes to host between 75 and 90 events there annually once the renovations are completed.

The overall project budget is $30 – $35 million and it is expected that approximately 70% of that will be funded by historical tax funds, new market credits along with state & federal government resources according to Wenger.   The initial purchase price of $1.3 million is for the restaurant area and commercial space above that spot from the Comfort family who is the current owner.  With that purchase, they will donate the theater to the association.

For more details about the project, visit the association’s website at https://www.themadisontheaterpeoria.org

Find Peoria area events & entertainment information on the ExplorePeoria.com Events Calendar!