Milwaukee Theatre celebrates 100 years

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:02 am

The Milwaukee Theatre was founded first as the Milwaukee Auditorium on Sept 21, 1909, it celebrates its history with its 100 year anniversary on Monday, Sept 21

“The Milwaukee Theatre is a reinvented Milwaukee Auditorium that will serve many generations of Milwaukeeans and others who will enjoy high quality diversified entertainment in its halls for another 100 years to come,” said Frank Gimbel, chairman of the board of directors for the Wisconsin Center District which owns and operates the Milwaukee Theatre, The Midwest Airline Center and the U.S. Cellular Arena. “I am very proud to be associated with the conversion of the old auditorium which has always had great historical significance for this society. I am sure that the renovated theatre will continue to hold significance, and I predict will continue to be a solid venue of entertainment for future generations.”

According to Gimbel; the theatre has always been an integral part of the Milwaukee community for events, business meetings and performer showcases.

In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt gave a three hour speech at the theater after being wounded in an assassination attempt. Presidents beginning with William Howard Taft have delivered important policy addresses there and Dr. Martin Luther King spoke at the theater during the height of the civil rights movement.

“Historically the building has been a place where many people have gone for momentous events in their lives, and now with the establishment of the convention center we are happy to provide a unique venue experience for conferences and conventions from across the nation.”

The theatre and convention center have been used for democratic and republican conventions, the NAACP national convention, Northwestern Mutual’s Annual convention, Harley Davidson convention and others. It has also been used to host graduation ceremonies.

The theater has also hosted famous performers like John Phillip Sousa, Jerry Lewis, Barry Manilow, Nirvana, Prince and Robin Williams among many others.

The theatre received a more than $40 million renovation from the original auditorium beginning in 2001, that included the construction of modern heating and cooling systems, 4,100 new seats with improved sight lines and comfort, and a modernized stage. The outside structure still contains 3 out of the original four walls, Gimbel said.

The Theatres new season kicks off Sept. 26 with Say Goodnight Gracie. Other shows this season include David Copperfield: An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion; ABBA Mania; STOMP; Annie; Jesus Christ Superstar; Hairspray; Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles; and One Night of Queen.

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