People of Pittsburg: Vonnie Corsini
The woman who wants to save the Fox Theatre
Val Vita | Managing Editor
Vonnie Corsini was a flight attendant living in New York when she fell in love with the pilot, Gene.
“It was true love,” Corsini said. “I would have gone anywhere with him.”
Gene, at that time, had already served in Vietnam and wanted to spend more time with his family, who lived in Pittsburg. That was what brought the couple to Kansas more than 30 years ago. And Corsini, who was born in Texas, fell in love again – this time with Pittsburg.
Corsini enrolled at Pitt State and got a degree in education. After that, she worked on her master’s. She continued as a flight attendant for a couple of years, flying internationally from Kansas City.
“But it was too much,” Corsini said. “I also worked from Pitt State. Then I decided it was time to do something else. It was time to spend more time on the porch with Gene and enjoy his retirement.”
In 2007, a meeting changed all that. The meeting, she says, was about saving the Fox Theatre from demolition.
“I was one of those people who drive by and wish for a better downtown,” Corsini said. “I wanted to contribute to a better atmosphere downtown of Pittsburg and I thought, ‘Somebody’s gotta do something about that.’ And there were people doing that. I attended the meeting and at that point, I was already immersed.”
One of the reasons Corsini got involved was that the Fox was the only of many historical theaters in town that remained standing. All the others were demolished. Fox Theatre, which stopped showing movies in the 1980s, was the only survivor.
Corsini became responsible for raising the money necessary to complete the $5.3 million project. She says she worked as a volunteer for two and a half years. Today she is the director of the Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation.
The group is now on the way to renovate the theater’s interior, which still requires $300,000. One of the group’s fundraising activities is Friday Flix, where they show movies outside the theater.
“But what we look forward to is being inside the theater and present movies like documentaries, classics and foreign movies three times a week,” Corsini said. “This will happen next year, that’s our goal. I know we can do it for next May. It will be a safe, warm and dry place.
James Collver, who works with Corsini, says she is focused on the renovation of the place and on the improvement of downtown Pittsburg.
“I’m not sure if anyone else could have taken the foundation as far it has come,” said Collver, junior in graphic communication management. “She is very determined to get things done and do them correctly. Not everyone has that kind of determination, especially to take on a project as big as the Colonial Fox Theatre.”
Corsini, who is 62 years old today, says her job is pretty much her life since movies are one of her passions.
“I just love movies, that’s the thing,” she said. “I love the classical. I can watch movies all day long.”