Behind-the-scenes look at the Oriental Theatre restoration project


While the Oriental Theatre on Milwaukee’s East Side remains closed for the summer, work is underway to restore the historic 93-year-old building’s main and east houses.

Milwaukee Film, the nonprofit owner and operator of the Oriental, offered a behind-the-scenes look of the project construction on Wednesday.

Crews on Wednesday were painting and cleaning the plaster on the ceiling and walls of the main theater. Other work this summer will include replacing seats and carpeting, improving sightlines and sound quality and beginning the process of installing a 1925 Wurlitzer theater organ.

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The organization met its $10 million fundraising campaign goal for the project in spring 2019, and completed the restoration of the Oriental’s west theater later that year.

Milwaukee Film expects to complete the current phase of the project by the end of October. The organization hasn’t yet determined when it will reopen the theater doors, due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, Milwaukee Film is screening independent films online through its Sofa Cinema platform

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