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Take a tour of the Milwaukee Rep’s ambitious home-improvement project

Since its founding almost 68 years ago, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater has undergone a handful of “Love It or List It” moments. Clearly, the organization — and the community — still loves its Wells Street home, a feeling that should only grow if renderings released Tuesday are any indication.

The images from EUA and Hunzinger Construction greatly expand on the entrance concept we saw back in September, when we first learned of the Associated Bank Theater Center project. This batch really rounds out what audiences, performers and students will experience in three flexible theater spaces:

  • Mainstage Theater — The flagship performance space will be more flexible and accessible, with fewer seats (550-650) that are more comfortable with better sight lines. The theater will also get tech enhancements, including digital sound, laser projection and intelligent lighting.
  • Studio Theater — The black-box setup will be easily reconfigurable to fit the different performances, up the seating capacity and feel more welcoming with bigger restrooms and a bar.
  • Education & Engagement Center — The Rep welcomes more than 20,000 students every year as part of its in-school and after-school programs. The center will give them and other community members a state-of-the-art rehearsal, performance and classroom space.

The project goes well beyond the performance areas to include some improvements that’ll be very obvious and others that are more behind the scenes. The two public-facing enhancements are The Sandra and William Haack Grand Lobby, which will connect the performance spaces, and the Northwestern Mutual Riverwalk, which will provide a place for events and receptions, as well as a place to hang out before and after shows.

There are also two elements that’ll play a huge role in the final product audiences see on stage. The rebuilt rehearsal halls with sound barriers will make it easier for multiple products to prep at the same time, and a new 35,000-square-foot production facility will improve on the ability to build out the Rep’s 12-15 annual productions.

The organization also let us know it’s about 60% of the way to its $75 million campaign goal for the project, which is scheduled to finish in mid-2025 according to the Journal Sentinel. You can find more information at the Milwaukee Rep’s website and check out all the renderings in the gallery below.