News - Kane County

Historic theater building in St. Charles set to receive landmark designation

Moonlight Theatre will open soon in the former Idle Hour Theatre

Nancy and Joseph Mennella plan to open Moonlight Theatre, located at 7 S. 2nd Ave., in late September or early October. The venue, which will seat about 220 people, will be located in the historic Idle Hour Theatre building that was built in 1900.

A theater building in downtown St. Charles built more than 100 years ago is about to be named an historic landmark as it gets ready to provide a new era of entertainment.

The St. Charles City Council on Monday is set to approve an historic landmark designation for the former Idle Hour Theatre at 7 S. Second Ave. The building, built between 1904-1908, had housed Idle Hour Theatre from 1914-1926.

“The theater was a venue for many well-known vaudeville acts, first run silent movies and other popular events,” city planner Rachel Hitzemann said.

Curt Hurst of Frontier Development owns the building and nominated the building for landmark status. Once the property is designated as an historic landmark, a certificate of appropriateness from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission will be required prior to issuing a permit for construction, alteration, repair, demolition, relocation or other material change that affects the exterior architectural appearance of the structure.

Moonlight Theatre plans to open soon in the building. The venue plans to offer theatrical productions, music and comedy acts at an affordable price.

According to its business plan, Moonlight Theatre will feature two to three music acts a week, three full-scale theatrical productions a year, special events such as cabaret nights, stand-up comedy and improv nights, open mic nights and children’s theater and workshops.

Moonlight Theatre will offer a full service bar and also sell soft drinks and food. The space also will be rented out to other theater companies and corporations for private events and would be available for charity events and fundraisers.

As proposed, Moonlight Theatre will offer summer performing arts camps and workshops in the areas of acting, singing and dancing for children of all ages.