The Pabst Theatre, 1895


Frederick Pabst wanted to offer the city an artistic venue. Pabst … created a theatre reminiscent of the German Renaissance Revival style with appropriate baroque influence. The building itself provides an acoustically excellent auditorium for performances. The architect employed gray sandstone, St. Louis brown pressed brick, and terra-cotta ornaments for the exterior. -Jennifer Watson Schumacher, Images of America: German Milwaukee

Whenever I drive by the Pabst Theater at the intersection of Wells and Water Street, I’m always captivated by its beauty. All of us in Milwaukee owe Frederick Pabst a debt of gratitude for his vision to enhance the city’s image with unique buildings like this. The first time I went inside this elegant theatre was in 1998, to see Celia Cruz perform. Old Caribbean classics like “Mi Viejo San Juan” and “Guantanamera,” sung by one of the greatest Latin singers of all time, echoed inside this masterpiece. The sounds of Cuban Son and the sights of German Renaissance Revival…what a combination! I took my grandmother along who, with her husband, came to Milwaukee from Puerto Rico fifty years ago. It was an unforgettable experience. We ran into old family friends and, by the end, everyone was dancing in the aisles. Frederick Pabst (1836-1904) and Celia Cruz (1925-2003) lived in different eras and came from different cultures but, for one night at the Pabst Theater, I was able to appreciate the mingled genius of both.

Does anyone else have a Pabst Theater memory?

I drove by today and thought I should make returning to the theater a priority. Here is the link to upcoming performances. See you there!