The Virginia Theatre to celebrate 100th anniversary with production of “The Bat”


Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

On December 28, 1921, the Virginia Theatre opened to the public for the very first time to present, to a sold-out house, a popular touring Broadway comedy-mystery called The Bat. The following night, a (now classic) short silent film—Buster Keaton’s maritime misadventure The Boat—was screened for an appreciative audience, with these two inaugural events launching a 100-year tradition of family entertainment that continues to this day. Through the decades, the Virginia Theatre has been a vital community resource, a playhouse, a movie palace, a comedy club, a performing arts center, a concert hall, and a meeting place. Today, this fully-restored Spanish Renaissance-revival venue—listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and owned and operated by the Champaign Park District—is proudly celebrating a century of being your Virginia Theatre!

And the Virginia’s 100th anniversary season promises to be special in more ways than one. The Champaign Urbana Theatre Company will appear on stage in a first-time-ever concert retrospective of Broadway favorites at their show “All Together Now: A Global Event”. For the first time in 100 years, the Virginia will present the live stage play The Bat, directed by John Stuff and produced by Jeff Goldberg, featuring performers from around the community. Major concerts, touring comedians, incisive spoken word events, and, as always, family-friendly performances from the CU Ballet, CPD Youth Theater, Dance Arts, Art in Motion, Twist and Shout and so many others fill out our busiest schedule yet. We can’t wait to have you join us!

THE BAT: A Comedy/Mystery in Two Acts

THE BAT: A Comedy/Mystery in Two Acts

more infoTuesday, December 28, 20217:00 PMVirginia Theatre Champaign, ILBUY TICKETS

THE BAT: A Comedy/Mystery in Two Acts

more infoWednesday, December 29, 20217:00 PMVirginia Theatre Champaign, ILBUY TICKETS

THE BAT: A Comedy/Mystery in Two Acts

more infoThursday, December 30, 20217:00 PMVirginia Theatre Champaign, ILBUY TICKETSTHE BAT: A Comedy/Mystery in Two Acts
Reserved Seating Tickets:$16 Standard/$14 Senior (55 and Up)Add’l per-ticket processing fees apply: $2DEC 28-30, 2021

The smash hit Broadway play The Bat – first produced in 1920 – was drawn from Mary Roberts Rinehart’s famous story, The Circular Staircase, and was set for the stage by Rinehart and her collaborator Avery Hopwood. THE BAT
Produced by Jeff Goldberg
Directed by John Stuff

On December 28, 1921, the front doors of an ornate, 1,900-seat venue were opened to the public for the very first time in Champaign, Illinois. The name of this new performance space and movie palace was the Virginia Theatre.

That evening, before a sold-out house, the Virginia proudly presented a touring production of the stage play The Bat.

A comedy-mystery that helped inspire the original Batman comics of the 1930s, The Bat was a hit on Broadway, running for 867 performances in New York and another 327 performances in London, with six different road companies ultimately taking the show on the road to communities like Champaign.

In the play, Cornelia Van Gorder (an “elderly spinster”) and her guests spend a stormy night at Cornelia’s rented summer home, searching for stolen money they believe is hidden in the house, all the while being stalked by a masked criminal known only as “the Bat”.

For this special 100th Anniversary revival, producer Jeff Goldberg has combined talents with director John Stuff to bring The Bat back to the Virginia stage for the first time in a century!

Producer – Jeff Goldberg
Director – John Stuff
Technical Director – Bob Aldridge
Set Designer – David Robertson
Light Design – David Robertson
Sound Designer – Michael Miller
Stage Manager – Shawna Smith
Properties Designer/Set Decorator – Cindy Havice
Costumer – Laura Vavrin 

Suzanne Aldridge
Anita Stein
Maddie Henson
John Tilford
Ryan Gossett
Andy Blacker
Mike Steen
Grant Morenz
Jim Dieker
Aaron Clark



Per an Executive Order signed by Illinois Governor Pritzker on August 26, 2021, all individuals age 2 and up who are medically able are required to wear a face mask while indoors in public settings, regardless of vaccination status.


Please note that, due to the recent increases in active COVID-19 cases in Champaign County, the Virginia Theatre has suspended the sale of food and beverages, including liquor, at all public events through the end of the year, at which time theatre staff will reevaluate.

Please also note that outside food and beverage are not allowed into the Virginia Theatre.

The Virginia has taken these steps to help ensure that all individuals are wearing a mask at all times while inside the facility. For more information, please visit this page.

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