Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Meet the new executive director of Galesburg’s Orpheum Theatre

Andy Driscoll in an empty room in the Maxam Building.
Ron Johnson
Courtesy photo
Andy Driscoll in an empty room in the Maxam Building in Peoria.

A Central Illinois native, entrepreneur, and thespian will take the helm of the “Jewel of Galesburg” with the goal of growing the Orpheum Theatre’s footprint as a premier entertainment destination.

Andrew Driscoll was appointed executive director by the Orpheum’s board of directors after a national search.

“I am honored and thrilled to begin the next chapter of my life with this opportunity to return to my greatest passions – entertainment and the preservation of our historic theatres. Not only does the stunning Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg have that, but equally importantly, it has a community that cherishes, embraces, and supports it,” Driscoll said in a release.

Driscoll, a graduate of Peoria High School, started his career as a professional actor and singer in New York, performing on Broadway and as a solo performance artist who released three vocal recordings.

After 9/11, Driscoll returned to Peoria and launched Apollo Theatre on Main Street, the city’s first professional theater contracting actors and stage managers from the Actor's Equity Association.

After two years, Driscoll relocated Apollo Theatre as a for-profit venture along Peoria’s Riverfront with the purchase of a venue called The Waterhouse on Water Street.

The Waterhouse, at the original location for 20 years and for the last 10 years in the MAXAM Building, has been an umbrella organization that has hosted 1,000 private banquet events and 850 shows including performances from Central Illinois Dueling Pianos, Peoria Cabaret Theatre, and the Broadway Lounge.

Driscoll’s appointment to the Orpheum is a crucial first step in a three-year strategic planning process launched by the theatre's board late last year.

In a community survey, the board heard a common theme – that people want more programming, more diversity of shows, and more community involvement from the Orpheum.

As part of the implementation of the strategic plan, the board aims to attract a wider audience for the Orpheum.

“While we will continue to feature our many local and beloved community partners on our stage, Andrew’s experience will guide us in adding the kinds of programming our audiences asked for during the strategic planning process,” said board chair Keri Dodson.

The board considered a number of candidates for the position. Dodson said Driscoll stood out as a leader with a “strong mix of business acumen and a passion" for theater.

Dodson previously confirmed to TSPR that former executive director Erin Glasnovich was no longer with the theater as of mid-March.

Board member Karen Cates has been serving in an interim leadership role.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.