On July 27, The Pabst Theater Group installed new seats on the first floor of the 1895 Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St.
The seats that were removed are now being sold online at pabstchairsforcharity.com. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Center (MADACC) and Artworks for Milwaukee, which organizes paid arts internships for Milwaukee high school students.
In 2016, the PTG auctioned seats from the Riverside Theater to benefit MADACC.
The Pabst says that the new seats are part of ongoing maintenance to enhance customer experience and keep the venue up to date while at the same time preserving the integrity of this theater – designed by Otto Strack – which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Though the decorative brass row ends and wooden arm rests appear old, it’s unlikely any of the removed seating is original to the theater. First floor seating was replaced as part of restoration work in 1975, and, potentially, during renovations in 1928, 1996 and around 2002, too.
The upgrades are funded by the PTG’s historic preservation fee, which is added to every ticket it sells. Every venue in the group is historic, from the The Pabst to Turner Hall Ballroom to the Riverside to the Miller High Life Theater to the recently purchased The Fitzgerald and even the Back Room at Colectivo.
In September, the Pabst Theater Group will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
In autumn, the plan is to install a new vertical sign at the Pabst. Similar vintage-style signs are already in place at Turner Hall and the Riverside.
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 episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," 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 has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.