Arcada Theatre

105 E. Main Street,
St. Charles, IL 60174

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Arcada Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Anderson Theater Company, Cineplex Odeon, Classic Cinemas

Architects: Elmer F. Behrns

Functions: Concerts, Live Performances, Movies, Special Events

Styles: Italian Renaissance, Spanish Renaissance

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 630.962.7000

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News About This Theater

Arcada Theater, St. Charles, IL - stage from balcony

The Arcada Theatre opened on September 6, 1926. With Spanish-Venetian decor, the theatre was originally a vaudeville palace, designed by architect Elmer F. Behrns. It could seat a little over 1,000. It was equipped with a Marr & Colton 3 manual 16 Ranks organ. Among the stars to appear on its stage in its early years were George Burns & Gracie Allen, Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy and Jeanette McDonald.

During the 1940’s, and again in the 1960’s, the theatre underwent renovations and remodelings, including one in the 1960’s which reduced its seating to 900 by adding wider seats and aisles. The Arcada Theatre was operated by Plitt and Cineplex Odeon in the 1980’s and early-1990’s, and in 1993 was sold to Classic Cinemas, whose owners painstakingly restored the Arcada Theatre to its original appearance and also made many upgrades to the theatre, including DTS sound and modern cinema equipment. The Arcada Theatre was one of the jewels of the Classic Cinemas chain.

Privately owned, since 2001 when Classic Cinemas sold it (they took over the 18-screen Charlestowne Mall theatres that year, also in St. Charles) the Arcada Theatre functioned as a venue for live performances, brew and view type movie showings, and classic silent movie screenings, accompanied by the Arcada’s Marr & Colton organ. Also, big television events were also shown on the large 20' by 40' screen, such as the Superbowl and Academy Awards.

In January of 2005, the outgoing previous ownership of the Arcada Theatre announced that it would be closing the theatre. However, during the summer of 2005, the Arcada Theatre reopened under new management, now operating as a venue for concerts, live stage performances, special events and film screenings.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 78 comments)

kencmcintyre on June 1, 2006 at 6:34 pm

Unless I missed it, I don’t see that anyone has posted Onesti’s web page for the Arcada:

kmac on July 27, 2006 at 9:11 am

Hello, I am working with Onesti Entertainment to put together a documentary celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Arcada Theatre. I am currently doing research into the history of the Arcada and the usage of the Arcada throughout different era of American history. If anyone has already preformed some research and would like to contribute it would be appreciated. As another part of the documentary we would also like to look at the “uniqueness” of the Arcada, why this theatre is so special. For this section we are looking for ways the Arcada has touched individual lives, so if you have a story about the theatre(meeting a significant other there, former employee, anything that is unique and interesting) let me know. Shoot me an e-mail at

klimkm on October 23, 2006 at 9:45 am

I went to the 80th anniversary vaudeville show, and I really thought that Onesti group and the three sheeters club that put on the show did a great job of re-creating what I think must have been what a true vaudeville show was like back then. It was very enjoyable. Good job.

JoiaLucht on February 23, 2007 at 9:56 am

Good afternoon! As a member of Onesti Entertainment, I wanted to stop by and thank you all for your enthusiastic support of The Arcada! As youâ€\ve noted, Onesti Entertainment has taken over the management of the Theatre. You can keep track of our shows by visiting If you are interested in receiving our email newsletters, feel free to email me () and Iâ€\ll add you to the list.

As I believe has been mentioned here, there are still movies shown at The Arcada. You will frequently see silent movies shown with live organ music, as well as film fests, classic flicks, and favorite pop culture movies like “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” We also have live events, such as concerts, ballet, theater and community events.

Restoring The Arcada is a work of love for Ron Onesti, owner of Onesti Entertainment. He is enthusiastic about maintaining the original splendor of the theatre while introducing new generations to the fun and excitement of a classic theatre. If you have any suggestions or requests, we would be happy to hear from you.

Thank you again for your support of The Arcada Theater!

Joia Noel Lucht
Director of Festivals & Special Events

IceCoach on July 8, 2007 at 12:04 am

I am so glad that the Arcada will go on. My Dad was a projectionist there in the 50’s and early 60’s. I can remember seeing the Ten Commandments there and I will always remember that. I can also remember the ladder that my Dad had to climb to reach the projection booth. I don’t know how he did it every day. I remember the Saturday matinees showing all of our favorite cartoons on the large screen. I am glad that another generation will be able to enjoy a great theater.

DAL on January 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm

When this theatre only had two triplexes as competition, it could churn out some big boxoffice numbers with a good booking. A couple of interesting facts: (1) Aside from a theatre organ, there was also a turntable in the stage floor. (2) When a would-be burglar broke in and attempted to rob the house safe, all they were able to do was to ruin the dial and make it impossible to access. The safe and its contents were left alone, since it was going to cost more to access the safe than the house fund contained!

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on February 20, 2014 at 10:38 am

The Arcada’s pipe organ was built by Marr & Colton, originally 3 manuals and 10 ranks of pipes. Its original console supposedly adorned with flamingos. Early in the organ’s life it was rebuilt and expanded to 16 ranks by the Geneva organ company. The existing Art Deco style console dates from that time. Marr & Colton and Geneva were companies that specialized in building pipe organs for theatres but they are not remembered as being the top tier in that category (as for example, Wurlitzer, Kimball, Robert Morton). In short, a Marr & Colton was a lot cheaper than a Wurlitzer. It’s interesting that the owners of the Aracada, obviously building to high standards, choose an organ which was a definite nod to “economy.”

DavidZornig on August 30, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Monday’s 90th Anniversary Flyer added to Photo Section. It has the day’s itinerary and phone number for tickets. Also available on the link below.

LouRugani on March 22, 2019 at 7:01 pm

The iconic Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles has been ordered to address code violations before reopening, city officials said yesterday, following a thorough code and safety inspection by the St. Charles Fire Department and a third-party fire inspection consultant after receiving complaints regarding overcrowding at the Arcada, accessibility to exits in the building, and issues hearing the fire alarm during a performance. Fire officials decided to schedule a complete code and safety inspection to take place during the building’s regularly scheduled annual review in March. B&F Construction Code Services, Inc., an independent third-party fire protection consultant, and the city’s building and code enforcement staff completed their reviews on March 12. City officials didn’t elaborate on the exact issues at hand but did say they are working with the building’s owner to get the theatre back up and running, and a Facebook post from the Arcada Theatre on March 21 indicated the issue had to do with a cover from the theatre’s electrical system that “came off.” The post reads: “We are feeling the pains of this 93-year-old building! One of the covers from the electrical system came off and we won’t let anyone into the building until it is 100% safe.”

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