MANISTEE — An unexpected call from well-known actor John C. Reilly was a welcome surprise to supporters of Manistee’s Vogue Theatre.
Reilly offered to stage a musical performance by John Reilly & Friends, to benefit the theater’s restoration project.
“Our musical group has only one ambition and that’s to raise funds to help close out the Vogue’s capital campaign by sharing old-time American folk music that I’ve loved since my boyhood days in Chicago,” said Reilly, who owns a home in northern Michigan. “The restoration of the Vogue is a story of community determination and old-fashioned volunteerism to bring great entertainment to a community and county that has no other film theatre.”
“It is a story that must and will be successful and then shared throughout the nation where we have old theatres crumbling that are begging for rejuvenation,” he added.
Reilly’s interest in the Vogue came through a discussion with Michael Moore, a founder of the Traverse City Film Festival, which owns and renovated the historic State Theatre in Traverse City.
“They were talking about movies and the northern Michigan community. Michael put a bug in his ear about helping out the Vogue,” said Jami Klomp of The Alliance for Economic Success, which provides project management for the Manistee theater venture.
Reilly has appeared in more than 50 films, including three in 2002 that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Chicago” and for a Grammy Award for the song “Walk Hard.”
The Vogue Theatre offically kicked off renovations in mid-February 2013. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation recently granted $500,000 toward the project, leaving about $700,000 to be raised to fully restore the theatre, including two new screens.
Capital Campaign Chairman Steve Brower said the project has depended on the generosity and good will of “many, many people,” including Reilly.