Get your Milwaukee history fix this summer with OnMilwaukee's Urban Spelunking, sponsored by DearMKE. Fall in love with Milwaukee and its stories on DearMKE.com, or go on your own urban exploration and share your photos and your stories of Milwaukee with #DearMKE on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Last December, as soon as news emerged that the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra wants to buy the gorgeous Art Deco former Warner/Grand movie palace at 212 W. Wisconsin Ave., we went inside to offer you your first look at the place in decades.
Recently, we got an update from the MSO about the status of its plan to restore the theater as its new home, and they invited us back inside to take some more photographs.
According to the MSO's Erin Kogler, the organization has raised a large chunk of its goal of $120 million to purchase and restore the theater, fund an endowment and pay off a pension liability.
"Right now the MSO has secured more than $80 million in pledges and gifts for the project," Kogler told OnMilwaukee.
"We are still on our critical pathway toward opening in September 2019, and the project is continuing to progress as we meet our milestones. As you know, we are working with Kahler Slater, and we are finalizing plans and details of the build."
There is a complete history of the theater, more details on the MSO project and many photos here.
Last week we went back inside the 1930 Rapp & Rapp-designed theater with the MSO to get more images...
Front of house
Yep, it's still beautiful.
A decorative arch in the auditorium.
Ornate textile valance in the auditorium, beneath the balcony.
Now that's a bubbler!
Why St. George is, ahem, slaying the dragon in the men's room I can't say.
Doesn't every movie theater have a beautiful fountain between the rest rooms?
An orange aura in a lobby aisle.
Behind the scenes
Pneumatic tubes connecting box office with a basement office.
A phone connecting every aspect of the theater's operations, with extensions still labeled.
On the stage
The ladder to...?
The lighting panel.
Cut this rope, but only in case of fire.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in an episode of TV's "Party of Five," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.