Your Regional Guide To The Performing Arts

Milwaukee Rep Receives $1 Million to Renovate Stackner Cabaret

Milwaukee Rep Receives $1 Million to Renovate Stackner Cabaret
Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of The Milwaukee Rep

Thanks to generous donations totaling $1 million, Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s intimate Stackner Cabaret performance space will get a much-needed renovation.


The donations, a $750,000 gift from former Board President Vince Martin and his wife Jan, as well as a $250,000 gift from the Stackner Family Foundation will help fund the complete renovation.


“Jan and I have personally always enjoyed the Stackner shows and have felt that the Stackner fills a unique space in the very rich Milwaukee theatre scene,” Vince Martin said.  “We expect this gift will provide needed refurbishing and allow and encourage more people to share the Cabaret experience.”


For 30 years Stackner has hosted The Rep’s smaller-scale productions including Liberace!, a one-man show that played tribute to the legendary musician, and broke Stackner’s all-time ticket sales record in 2014.


As a result of the renovation, the number of seats will increase by 35 percent. The theater will also get a completely new kitchen to better serve patrons as the space currently provides full dinner service prior to each performance, followed by drinks and dessert. The changes will also address aging infrastructure issues and better maximize space within the theater and outer lobby.


Uihlen-Wilson Architects, who have made an extra effort to allow longtime subscribers to keep their exact same seats after the renovation, will complete the work.


Stackner fans can also breathe a sigh of relief, as the renovations will not affect the previously announced 2017- 2018 season. Souvenir, a tribute to eccentric Manhattan socialite Florence Foster Jenkins, is currently playing at the venue and runs until Nov. 5.


The Rep plans to announce start and end dates for the project in the near future. The Stackner is one of three theaters in The Rep’s Patty & Jay Baker Theater Complex and stages about 300 performances annually to near capacity crowds.


“A theatre company not only needs strong shows, but also a strong venue to host these productions,” said Mark Clements, the Rep’s artistic director.  “With the ever-growing popularity of the Stackner Cabaret, a remodel will guarantee that the physical aspects of the theater match the productions themselves.  We thank the Martins and the Stackner Family Foundation for their generous support in creating an opportunity for more people to experience--the art on our stages.”



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