A Palace for the People

Rialto Sqaure Chandlier

The esplanade, or inner lobby, is designed after the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles near Paris, France. The arch between the esplanade and rotunda area has been carefully copied from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In the center is the head of the goddess Athena.

To the upper right of the arch is a symbolic bas-relief, in the form of a dragon, entitled "Labor Fighting the Evils of Today." On the left side is "Man's Labor," showing the harvesting of wheat.

The elegant rotunda is surrounded by 18 Corinthian-style columns, and surmounted by a dome very similar to the Pantheon in Rome. The suspended eight-arm crystal chandelier, the "Duchess," bronze giant of some 200 fixtures, is 20 feet long with 250 lights. The large prisms are of the Marie Therese cut which was popular during the Rococo period.

Draperies throughout the theatre were of the early Dufour period. Encircling the rotunda in full view, is the Goddess of the Eastern Star.

The esplanade

The Esplande

The Rotunda Fountain

The Fountain

The rotunda's fountains feature a bronze grille with colored glass backing on a marble base. Each is crowned with a basket of colored grapes, a design repeated in the large chandelier. The bowl is encircled with a bronze fringe.

The Theatre

Old Theatre

A full view of the proscenium arch with the grand drape. Organ chambers are bordered by ornate balconies on either side, with pipes masked by glittering floral grills of Byzantine influence.

Read more about the history of the Rialto Square Theatre

A position of pride:

Rialto Ushers

The Rialto's highly-trained team of ushers, circa 1926.

The Promenade

The Promenade 1

A promenade foyer of dignity and beauty leads to the auditorium and to a stairway to :he mezzanine as well as to the Scott Street ground level exit.

Playing Host

The people 1

The Rialto played host to large gatherings while still fulfilling the needs of the theatre-going public. A fashion show with Sammy Berk and his Rhythm Kings, circa 1932, is pictured above.

The Son of Jupitor


To the far left in the arch is the god Apollo, son of Jupiter and Leto. According to Greek and Roman mythology, Apollo was the driver of the Chariot of the Sun. At the far right is his twin sister Diana, Goddess of the Hunt and Goddess of the Moon. Her chariot is pulled by lions and Apollo's by horses. Again, we see the garland of fruits around the arch. Some of the other plaster reliefs around the stage are of Pan, a god of flocks and pastures. The woman in the center of the arch reminds one of the Sandro Botticelli painting titled "The Birth Of Venus."

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Rialto Square Theatre

Rialto Square Theatre
15 E. Van Buren St.
Joliet, IL 60432

Site Design by Gammon Group

Phone: (815) 726-7171 Box Office: (815) 726-6600
e-mail: information@rialtosquare.com
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Photos by Tim Kump