Modjeska Theater

1134 W. Historic Mitchell Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Named for a popular Polish Shakespearian actress, the closed movie palace is looking for a savior


Overview Looking Northeast

The theater is looking for an operator who would be willing to finish the restoration and open the neighborhood theater again.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning September 2016




The 1924 Modjeska Theater opened in 1924 in Milwaukee's most prominent Polish community. It was named for Helena Modjeska, stage name of a very successful and popular Shakespearian actress from Kraków, Poland, born on October 12, 1840. (She died in 1909 in California, years before her namesake theater was opened.)

The Modjeska was designed by the famous Rapp brothers, designers of noted movie palaces around the country.

Helena Modjeska (her real name was Helena Modrzejewska) had a son, Ralph Modjeski (also Anglicized from his Polish name) who went on to be a prolific and noted bridge designer in the United States. Several of his bridges, spanning great American rivers, are listed on our companion website, Historic Bridges of the United States.

Edited to add: Added to the NRHP as part of the West Mitchell Street Commercial Historic District, SG100003103, Listed 11/9/2018.

Update Log 

  • July 7, 2019: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • July 2, 2019: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated NRHP Listing - Property added to NRHP 11/9/2018
  • February 4, 2019: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • February 4, 2019: Added by J.R. Manning

Related landmarks 

  • Modjeska House (Same project) - California residence of Helena Modjeska, prominent Shakespearian actress and namesake of two theaters in Milwaukee, WI and Augusta, GA.