On July 14, 2016, our rotary lunch speaker was Jan Gibson of the Genesee Theater in Waukegan. Jan became the general manager of the Genesee Theater two years ago after spending many years as business owner and Arlington Heights High School.
The Genesee Theater open on Christmas Day 1927.   The theater was constructed for $1 million that was contributed primarily by three prominent Waukegan-area families. The theater's original purpose was for music, movies and vaudeville, and was one of 13 similar theaters in the Waukegan area at that time.  The original building included the theater and 40 apartments and 11 shops, which were meant to subsidize the construction and operation of the theater, a plan which did not succeed.
After a long period of financial struggle for the theater and Waukegan generally, the doors of the theater closed in 1989. However, the city of Waukegan, which now owns the theater building, spent $23 million rehabilitating the theater building and it reopened in 2004. The theater is now comprised of 2400 seats over 115,000 square feet. These days the theater welcomes musical performances, magic shows, corporate parties, weddings, holiday parties and dance shows. There is also an outdoor lounge and seven other indoor lounges. There are also no pillars in the theater, making just about every seat a great view.  For more information and details, visit http://www.geneseetheatre.com/