The head of White Lodging Services Corp.’s entertainment division says a previous decision to close the well-known Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville has been reversed. In a statement, Star Productions Chief Executive Officer Charlie Blum said "we never wanted to close the theater," but demolition of the attached Radisson Hotel was expected to have a major effect on the Star Plaza. He said an outpouring of support to keep the theater caused the company to reconsider plans with its contractors and spare the "cultural beacon" from the wrecking ball.
The venue has been in continuous operation since 1979 and was slated to close in May.
White Lodging founder Bruce White said "the White family is steadfast in our commitment to the region. We know that the new hotel will better serve our community and guests. But fueled in part by the tremendous reaction the closing announcement, we took a hard look at our plans and revised them in such a way that enables us to continue to operate the Star Plaza Theatre. It’s a win-win solution for everyone."
Blum said patrons and artists alike reached out to express their love for the Star Plaza."After much deliberation and consultation with our contractors, we determined that it was indeed feasible to retain the theater despite the nearby construction work." He said the theater was not just draw for entertainers, but an economic driver for the region.