Before there was radio, movies, television, or YouTube, people were entertained by live performances in local theaters. We are fortunate that many Wisconsinites launched campaigns to make sure these wonderful places are still with us today.
The Isle Theater in Cumberland is a great community venue open for not only first run movies but favorites of the past as well. If you want good food before or after your movie, or any other time, check out Nezzy’s Sports Bar & Grill which is adjacent to the theatre at the back-side of the building.
|Ceiling in the Isle Theater.|
About an hour south of Cumberland is the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts in Menomonie. A full performing arts season is offered in this beautiful space. The Theater is the centerpiece of the complex. And the gift shop is quite nice!
|Box seats along the side of the Mabel Tainter Theater.|
The Al. Ringling Theater is located on the square in Baraboo. This theater was featured on an episode of PBS’s History Detectives. Elyse Luray proved that while the theater doesn’t qualify as a “movie palace” (it’s too small), it probably served as inspiration for architects who designed the movie palaces of the early 20th century.
|Mural on the inside of the theater.|
|Mural on the ceiling of the theater's lobby.|
The Stoughton Opera House, to the south of Madison, is another great example of the community rallying around this grand place to restore it to its splendor of the past and equipping it to serve the patrons of the future.
|From the floor looking up at the box seats.|
One more historic theater where we’ve been is the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. The Pabst is a National Historic Landmark recognized for the important role it has played in the cultural life of Milwaukee.
|Outside view of the Pabst (photo from Wisconsin Historical Society).|
You’ll have to visit these theaters to see how beautiful they are since my pictures, only snap shots, just don’t do justice to the grandeur of the spaces.