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From Theater to Ballet and Opera - Explore Milwaukee’s World-Class Arts Scene

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Milwaukee houses a wealth of artistic offerings from opera and ballet to comedy and world-class concerts. Whether you’re seeking original plays or award-winning Broadway productions, traditional or contemporary dance, or a kid-friendly evening of dinner theatre, you’ll find it here.

Milwaukee’s theatre productions

 

theatre is the cornerstone of Milwaukee's cultural scene, with dozens of shows playing on stages around the city all year long. Milwaukee Repertory theatre in East Town is known for thought-provoking scripts and masterful productions that include both original plays and well-known Broadway musicals. If you head south to the Historic Third Ward, you’ll find the Broadway theatre centre that comprises 3 resident companies in 2 unique spaces. In the summer months, Milwaukee Public Theatre takes to the streets, bringing theatre to parades and outdoor exhibitions.

 

Milwaukee Repertory theatre

 

Operating in a repurposed power plant, this company, commonly known as The Rep, produces traditional and contemporary plays, and offers adult and teen theatre education.

 

108 East Wells Street, Milwaukee 53202Tel: +1 414 224 9490

 

Milwaukee Repertory theatre website

 

Broadway theatre centre

 

Housing both the Cabot Theatre and the Studio Theatre, this space mounts performances including operas, musicals, and dramatic plays featuring local talent.

 

158 North Broadway, Milwaukee 53202. Tel: +1 414 291 7800

 

Broadway theatre centre website

Modern and traditional dance

 

Dance plays a large part in Milwaukee's cultural heritage. The Milwaukee Ballet, which performs at both the Marcus centre for the Performing Arts and the Pabst theatre, has thrilled audiences since 1970 with traditional and contemporary productions, including the winter favorite The Nutcracker. It's also one of the few companies nationwide to retain its own symphony orchestra, which premieres at least 1 commissioned production each year. On the contemporary side, DanceWorks in East Town puts on modern dance performances and organizes outreach events to engage a larger audience.

 

Milwaukee Ballet

 

From traditional favorites to contemporary productions created in conjunction with some of the international dance world’s most renowned choreographers, the Milwaukee Ballet features over 40 performances a year.

 

504 West National Avenue, Milwaukee 53204. Tel: +1 414 643 7677

 

Milwaukee Ballet website

 

DanceWorks

 

DanceWorks produces shows across genres, from ballroom to modern dance to tap, and supports dance education for all ages.

 

1661 North Water Street, Milwaukee 53202. Tel: +1 414 277 8480

 

DanceWorks website

 

Milwaukee’s comedy clubs

 

From local comics to critically acclaimed national talent, comedy is a large part of Milwaukee’s cultural profile. You can head to international sketch incubator Comedy Sportz or visit Bonkerz Comedy Club at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino to catch renowned comics such as Kathleen Dunbar and Bryan McCree. Milwaukee Comedy! is known for open mic nights, improv education, and Sketch 22 events, where 60 actors, directors, and writers pull together a live show in 22 hours. For A-list performances, head to Milwaukee's Comedy Café, which has been frequented by funny folks from the national circuit for 20 years.

 

Milwaukee's Comedy Café

 

National headliners fill the calendar here, including Drew Carey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Tommy Chong. Tickets are available online or by calling ahead. Plan to arrive 30 minutes early as all reservations expire within 15 minutes of show time.

 

1033 North Old World 3rd Street, Milwaukee 53203. Tel: +1 414 271 5653

 

Milwaukee's Comedy Café website

 

Milwaukee’s mystery dinner theatre

 

Among the most kid-friendly evening entertainment options, mystery dinner theatre is a Milwaukee mainstay. Both The Dinner Detective and The Murder Mystery Co. feature interactive dinners that allow families to puzzle through clues over a meal, and offer a coveted prize package for the evening's best sleuthing. Trained actors sit among the guests and keep them guessing until the last plot twist plays out.

 

The Murder Mystery Co.

 

Nationally acclaimed and performed in The Astor Hotel Ballroom in East Side, this dinner theatre event involves actors mingling with dinner guests while complex clues to the killer's identity come to light.

 

924 East Juneau Avenue, Milwaukee 53202. The Murder Mystery Co. website

 

Concert venues with style

 

When you're looking for a big show in a big venue, check out the historic opulence of The Pabst theatre Group in East Town, including The Pabst theatre, trimmed out in gold leaf, Austrian crystal, and Italian Carrara marble. Rounding out the trio of performances spaces are The Riverside theatre and the 7,000-square-foot Turner Hall Ballroom. West of downtown, The Rave/Eagles Club is 180,000 square feet of concert venue, spread among 7 stories and 8 independent clubs, hosting crowds from 400 to 4,000. Shows range from metal to hip hop to country and feature artists like Marilyn Manson and Ke$ha.

 

The Pabst theatre Group

 

Built in 1895, The Pabst theatre and its sister venues, The Riverside and Turner Ballroom, rival the elegance of Europe's great opera houses. Established and emerging performers include Blues traveller, Norah Jones, and the Extreme Midget Wrestling Federation.

 

114 East Wells Street, Milwaukee 53202. Tel: +1 414 286 3663

 

The Pabst theatre Group website