In an effort to drive brand awareness and attendance back to pre-pandemic levels, several local performing arts and live entertainment organizations have joined forces under what's dubbed the Milwaukee Theater District.
The group, comprised of marquee venues across the city including the Bradley Symphony Center, the Pabst Theater, the Milwaukee Rep and the Miller High Life Theatre (see full list below), announced the launch of their new entity at a press conference Wednesday. The district itself has no formal borders but its members are all located in downtown Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Theater District aims "to empower and unite Milwaukee’s already impactful live entertainment scene as it assists in placing our city in the regional and national spotlight," according to a news release from VISIT Milwaukee, which will lead marketing efforts for the group, including strategic campaigns, advocacy, paid and earned media and community events.
With 15,000 theater seats, the Milwaukee Theater District ranks No. 1 in the United States for the highest number of theater seats per capita. Its member organizations put on a combined 2,100 performances annually, which attract a total of 2 million attendees and generate an estimated $400 million in visitor spending, according to Tourism Economics. MTD's venues employ more than 1,000 people.
"Milwaukee Theater District will add momentum to Milwaukee’s cultural scene after the devastating effects of the pandemic. Investment in the Milwaukee Theater District venues’ programming, buildings and attendee experience has increased the caliber of live entertainment offerings, and the Milwaukee Theater District will capitalize on this," according to the news release.
Beginning Nov. 30, advertising for the Milwaukee Theater District will appear on multiple digital mediums within a six-hour driving radius. Local awareness will be generated through the Holiday Lights Brochure, participating partner newsletters, Milwaukee365.com, skywalk advertising and an eventual Milwaukee Theater District newsletter. The group has also launched the Milwaukee Theater District Pass, which will allow patrons to check into participating theaters and redeem deals on select pre- and post-show favorites. In addition to check-in incentives at nine theaters, the Milwaukee Admirals, Usinger’s, and Saint Kate -The Arts Hotel will offer discounts to pass holders. Additional deals from Tua Pasta, The Dinner Detective - Milwaukee, East Town Kitchen and Bar, Dairyland, and Bublr Bikes will be added to the pass in the near future.
The Milwaukee Theater District will also sponsor two forthcoming skating events that promote Broadway shows at the Marcus Performing Arts Center. The first will take place January 20 at Red Arrow Park featuring the music of Hairspray the Broadway Musical, which will be at the Marcus Performing Arts Center Feb. 7-12. The second skating event takes place Feb. 18 at Red Arrow Park with the music from Frozen the Broadway Musical, which will be at the Marcus Center April 6-16, 2023. For more information on Milwaukee Theater District events and activations, visit milwaukee365.com/mketheaterdistrict.
Milwaukee Theater District venues include: