Varsity Center for the Arts

418 S. Illinois Avenue,
Carbondale, IL 62901

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Showing 26 - 50 of 61 comments

HDTVdesignteam on July 12, 2006 at 5:06 pm

I didn’t remember that C'dale had so many theaters until I found this site. As a student you really depend upon these venues to while away the time. If Paul Enchelmayer ever stops by again, Hi from George Thompson. R/TV ‘67-'74.

melders on March 14, 2006 at 10:44 pm

Yes they kept the University 8 open.

saluki42 on January 30, 2006 at 6:22 pm


I am doing a documentary on the Varsity. If you or anyone you know has info on it or pictures of the interior, let me know. Thanks.

melders on January 26, 2006 at 10:53 pm

The Southern Illinoisan recently ran an article on the theater(which I could not find on there online version). It said that little interest has been shown in the theater and the city’s attempts to talk to Kerasotas have accomplished nothing. The city is still inforcing building codes and conducting inspections to make sure Kerasotas is performing maintaince of the structure. The article also mentioned that Kerasotas has been using the theater, as storage space.

melders on November 15, 2005 at 11:42 pm

Paul, can you give me an example of a theater you had success with? I hope Life is correct in saying he has said all he needs too and will stay off this board.

melders on November 15, 2005 at 11:41 pm

I feel that anyone that is willing to take on a project such as this deserves my respect. Life, you have no idea what has gone on with this theater. The former operator promised that it would not close, then closed it with only a weeks notice. That is better than they did with the other old theater in town, they announced it was closing the same day it closed. Then the city talked about wanting to save it, but did nothing. They purchased an abandoned bar in the area from a convicted child molester at a price much higher than its real value. They bought it with the intention of demolishing the structure. Many people in town where furious that they purchased that structure, while ignoring the beatiful Varsity just down the street.

rroberts on November 15, 2005 at 1:46 pm

Lifes too short, as usual you go to far. Do not speak for all those who have worked with Mike Novelli and me on restoration. I am glad tdhat you will finally be quiet and let us do our work. Melders is an adult and so are the people of Carbondale. Let THEM decide on what they want and not you! Goodbye!

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 15, 2005 at 11:47 am


Based on everything I have seen, this theatre (any theatre) would be better off without Paul. I, and many others, think that Paul is a dangerous presence in American preservation. I think the comments above describe my reasoning well enough. I haven’t been hurt by Paul personally. But others have been. I fear that your desperation with regard to the Varsity may be clouding your logic. Paul is a good salesman. So he will probably have some confidence-inspiring comeback to post. But this is the last I will say on the subject here. The moderators of this web site have made their wishes clear. And actually, I think my point has been made. Good luck.

melders on November 14, 2005 at 11:46 pm

Why are you sorry? Because I hope someone steps in to save this theater? What is your deal with Paul anyway? Did he hurt you in any way? If not, please leave this message board alone, I would hate to lose it. Also, if Paul can manage to purchase or lease this theater from Kerasotas, I don’t really how much he screws it up. Just getting the theater would be a miracle.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 14, 2005 at 10:33 pm

I’m sorry you feel that way melders. I wish you the best in any dealings with Paul Warshauer. Don’t come back later and say you were not given warning.

rroberts on November 10, 2005 at 5:46 pm

Thank you. We will do our best. Our staff will be down in Carbondale with a crew within the month! If you would like to join our “tour” call the office. (630) 480-3345.

melders on November 9, 2005 at 11:15 pm

Please do not prevent comments on this theater. I hope that Mr. Warshauer or someone does get involved. This theater despritely needs someone to step up and save it. I don’t care if Mr. Warshauer has had problems in the past, everyone makes mistakes. Hopefully he will step up and prove Life’s too short wrong!

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on November 2, 2005 at 5:49 pm

We’d like to remind everyone to keep the conversation here productive.

When posting a comment, please make sure your comment is informative, friendly, and free of personal attacks. If you fail to follow these guidelines (and our terms of use), your comment will be removed.

Due to recent activity, we’re also considering not allowing new comments on this theater. It would be a shame to take this step, but if people are unable to respect the rules of this open forum, we may be forced to take action.

Remember… we can only save theaters if we work together. ;)

Patrick Crowley
Co-founder, Cinema Treasures

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 31, 2005 at 8:23 pm

I don’t believe that I am misinformed. Why don’t you share your successes online? What is the reason for that policy? You don’t even have references posted on your official company web site…like Conrad Schmitt Studios does, for instance. I know a lot of people who have been involved in preservation for decades…who hold positions within highly respected preservation-related 501©(3) organizations. Why don’t they know of your successes…only your failures? And finally, why did you tell a Quincy, Illinois newspaper that you ran the Wheaton Grand Theatre two months after it is documented that your contract was terminated and the locks were changed at the Wheaton Grand to keep you out? If you have successful references, why did you tell the newspapers about the Wheaton Grand?

Your responses are entirely predictable. These questions, and similar ones, have been posed to you over and over again. Instead of answering them, you avoid the questions, and defame the person asking them.

If you could list one successful project Paul, you would never have to hear from me again. But you can’t do that, can you…because there aren’t any.

rroberts on October 31, 2005 at 7:48 pm

As usual, Life’s Too Short is misinformed. We do not share our successes on line. Sad that this person in Wheaton pollutes all the sites where we try and do good things. The people of Carbondale will see results if we get involved. Not all of the information is on these silly postings. Intelligent people go elsewhere. Give it a rest.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 31, 2005 at 1:47 pm


It is entirely possible that this theatre would be better off without Paul Warshauer. I understand your desire to have someone pay attention to the Varsity. But, serious issues have been raised about Paul. In fact the same unfortunate story seems to play out over and over again. Do some reading on your own:






Paul holds himself out to be a wizard of theatre restoration…operating old movie houses far and wide. But he refuses to share any of his claimed success stories with the rest of us. This is ridiculous. Why would you hide your successes? What’s more, nobody in the preservation community can name a theatre that Paul has rescued.

If Paul can name one community that loves him for rescuing their theatre, I wouldn’t have a problem with him. But all I see is a string of people who feel that he has done them wrong…people living in communities where the neighborhood movie house remains unrestored.

leahwill on September 21, 2005 at 3:45 pm

Melders, I am a student journalist at SIU and reporter for the Daily Egyptian. I was wondering if you would be available to help me on a story I am writing about the Varsity, seeing as how you know so much about it. Please e-mail me at if you are able to help. Thanks, Leah

melders on September 20, 2005 at 12:00 am

Paul, if you are looking for a theater company to help, try The Stage Company. They where recently kicked out of Carbondale’s old opera house, because the bank that owns it didn’t want to pay for repairs and decided to demolish it. I think they breifly considered the Varsity, but decided that it would be best if they built there own theater. Perhaps if they could find a partner to share the renovation costs, they would be interested in the Varsity.

rroberts on September 16, 2005 at 9:01 am

Melders: Thanks! We will try our best!

melders on September 14, 2005 at 10:31 am

Why is this on this site? It has nothing to do with this theater. Why doesn’t “goaway” take his own advise and GO AWAY! I am glad someone has actually taken interest in this theater, since no one else has. And if Mr. Warshauer can convince Kerasotas to sell this theater before it falls to pieces, he will be my hero!

rroberts on September 12, 2005 at 1:45 pm

Why is this article posted on this site? This is truly remarkable. So many “allegations and enemies.” Perhaps my story should be made into a movie starring say, Richard Dreyfus or Danny DeVito. Why bring up all this stuff on this specific site? It has very little to do with this theatre’s posting but what the heck. So much misinformation here. So many lies, but hey: this is America. Say what you like and don’t check your facts! Assassinate someone’s character while remaining anonymous but what the hell. It’s America. OK. Here’s a quick fact check for the people who really matter and proof you cannot always believe what you read in the newspapers or from what is written on these blogs. Mike Novelli is the President of GVI and had nothing to do with any of your allegations other than for the Wheaton, Zoe and Lawford Theatres. Leave him out of the rest or are you too ignorant to recognize that other corporations have come and gone without him. 1. GVI paid all workers at the Lawford Theatre in Havana except for two who are being investigated for theft. 2. We did NOT accept donation money at the Wheaton except for the outstanding fundraiser set up by Todd Plagman and many others for wounded veteran Sgt. Joel Gomez. This was a fundraiser that we all produced last January and audited then turned over ALL money to Community Bank. 3. I like smarter people than me because I learn from them. I don’t see to many on this site however. 4. I am proud that we sold calendars from the lobby of the Portage Park Theatre. No one else was helping us. (See many other postings about the Portage Park Theatre.) We returned everyone’s deposits, by the way, unlike the mess with the Annoyance Theatre company. I have accepted responsibility for the $4K debt personally as I have with the $5K debt for the Uptown Theatre, (Pales). 5. The Henslowe Group was not given the cease and desist order at the Portage. Our tenant, The Universal Church was issued the order for “building without a permit.” I had three partners there. Why don’t you hound them: Richard Pales, Kevin Miner and Jessica Deans. 6. I am a rather pleasant man who likes cigars, fun people, travel, the theatre and music, and lively discussions about politics and social issues with intelligent witty people.

rroberts on July 31, 2005 at 12:10 pm

Our company, Grande Venues, Inc., has made inquiries to the city (and now looking to the community fvor assistance) about operating the Varsity Theatre. We are looking for concert promoters, children’s theatre advocates and presenters, as well as theatre companies and individual performers. First run movies will probably not work as the current owner has a “deal” for any potential buyer but we will consider an Arts House or Film Festival format. Anyone interested, please contact us at

melders on July 31, 2005 at 12:05 am

Doesn’t have anything to do with this theater, but thought you might find it interesting to know that the Rapp brothers where born and raise in Carbondale. There father was the main construction contractor in town, and actually built several of his sons' early designs in the city.

rroberts on April 4, 2005 at 9:33 pm

So is there nothing going on in that small gem of a theatre?