New York has Broadway, England has London’s West End, and Wisconsin’s largest city has its own theater district. After years of speculation about the future of the Milwaukee Theater District, it has finally come to fruition.The collective is part of a statewide effort to celebrate the arts and attract more visitors.
Nine performing arts and live entertainment groups participated in the collective, including the Marcus Performing Arts Center.
“Every great city needs a few hooks to tell its story,” says Andrew Flack, chief commercial officer at Marcus Hotels & Resorts, and art has been a hallmark of Milwaukee for more than 100 years. I added that there is.
“A visit to a great show or concert is more than just the performance, it’s about creating an experience for the whole visitor who comes to town, maybe stays for the night, and makes it a truly memorable one.” “And that’s what the city’s Great Theater District does.”
The collective’s establishment also comes as the entertainment industry recovers from the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic. According to VISIT Milwaukee, 151 events were canceled in 2020, while in 2021 he had 171 events.
Direct visitor spending in the Milwaukee metropolitan area slowed from $3.33 billion in 2019 to $2.67 billion in 2021, according to the latest report from VISIT Milwaukee.
Restaurants and performing arts venues have been “hit hardest during the pandemic,” according to the report, but leaders say they are recovering.
Josh Albrecht, VISIT Milwaukee’s vice president of marketing and communications, called the theater district a “recovery catalyst.”
Rather than being defined by geographical boundaries, the new Theater District will have venues scattered throughout the city’s downtown area.
“As the city grows, you see the theater district growing, and we didn’t want to limit ourselves to that space,” says Albrecht. And the lack of a board, he described it as a “branding and placemaking initiative.”
Gary Witt is President and CEO of Pabst Theater Group. It operates Riverside Theatre, Turner Hall Ballroom, Miller Highlife Theatre, and most recently Fitzgerald, Milwaukee’s private event wedding venue. The group has attracted artists such as Thom Yorke of Radiohead and David Byrne of the Talking Heads.
“I think it’s important that our industry is heard, seen and able to play a bigger role in the future development of the City of Milwaukee.
But he said the industry “isn’t taken very seriously.” According to Witt, about 30 percent of Pabst’s theater ticket buyers come from Illinois.
“People make decisions about where to live based on what their lifestyle is like. think.
Sunstone Studios, a theater district venue, just opened last August. Executive Director Amber Regan said Milwaukee is home to an “incredible art scene.”
“For the state, this is definitely another way to frame Milwaukee in a positive light,” she said.
Witt compared his contribution to the performing arts to that of the Milwaukee Bucks, Brewers and Packers.
“When a city or state has a winning team, it gives them a sense of pride, a soul and an identity. I think that’s what we do, but we do it every night.”
Other venues include the Bradley Symphony Center, Wisconsin Center District, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and St. Kate’s ACR Theater – The Arts Hotel. Performance groups include Black Arts MKE, First Stage, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Ballet and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
The collective is sponsored by Downtown Milwaukee BID21, United Performing Arts Fund and VISIT Milwaukee.