Luxurious Vaudeville theater/movie house restored as a live theater venue
It is apprpriately named, the battle to keep the Milwaukee River out of the basement continues to this day.
After the theater closed, the future of the theater was in doubt with some calling to make it into a parking lot. Local support to restore the theater as a live performance house grew and local philanthropist, Joseph Zilber, funded the $1.5 million restoration. The Wurlitzer organ was donated to the Dairyland Theater Organ Society, which restored and maintains the organ.
The theater retains its original elegance. The ceiling is a dome rimmed with crests that conceals lighting. A chandelier provides house light. A beautiful drapery was suspended from the proscenium arch with swags and tassels but it was destroyed by fire in 1966, caused by a moron tossing a cigarette on to the stage.
In 2005, the Riverside Theater Foundation, part of the Pabst Theater Foundation, leased the venue and promotes live performances of big-name performers.