2230 N. Farwell Avenue,
29 people favorited this theater
Oriental Theatre, Milwaukee (Official)
Firms: Dick & Bauer Inc.
News About This Theater
- May 27, 2011 — Bad Drive-in memories of the previous tornado
- Oct 12, 2007 — Milwaukee's Oriental Theatre to mark 80th Birthday with film
- Mar 14, 2005 — Avalon Theatre To Return
- Dec 28, 2004 — Calendar Features Color Photos of Classic Landmark Theatres
- Nov 16, 2004 — "Cinema Treasures" in Newsweek and Budget Travel
- May 6, 2004 — Oriental to Host Last "Silents Please" Showing
- Apr 9, 2004 — Milwaukee's Oriental to Host Silent Film Weekend
- Mar 11, 2004 — UPDATE: Oriental To Screen "College" Saturday
- Nov 10, 2003 — Milwaukee in Theater Spotlight
When Saxe Amusement Enterprises 1,900-seat Oriental Theatre opened in July 1927 with Colleen Moore in “Naughty but Nice” and a stage show “"Mystic Araby”, it was among the most exotic and ornate movie palaces to have opened in Milwaukee with its Middle Eastern-meets-Far Eastern décor. It was taken over by Wesco Corporation in December 1927. In June 1928 they were taken over by the Fox Wisconsin circuit.
Although the large auditorium was divided into three smaller auditoriums in the late-1980’s, the décor was largely kept intact, miraculously, and the theatre has managed to retain its 1920’s appearance to the present.
It originally opened with a Barton 3 manual 14 ranks pipe organ, which was replaced in 1959 by a Kimball 3 manual 28 ranks pipe organ which was originally installed in the Warner Grand Theatre (now the Bradley Symphony Center). The Kimball organ, played each Saturday before each 7 p.m. show, and was the largest of its kind remaining in the US. The Oriental Theatre is known for holding the record for a continuous midnight screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, which began screenings in January, 1978.
In 2017 the ownership of the Kimball organ changed hands and in April 2018 the instrument was removed from the building. In July 2018 the theatre was taken over by Milwaukee Film, and renovations began straight away on July 1, 2018. Seating is now provided for 1,080 seats, with 554 in the orchestra and 526 in the balcony in the main original auditorium and 220 seats in each of the smaller auditoriums. On May 9, 2019 it was announced that a Wurlitzer 3 manual pipe organ, originally installed in the Paramount Theatre, Atlanta from 1925 to the 1950’s was installed in the Oriental Theatre, with completion at the end of 2020. The Oriental Theatre reopened in late-2021/early-2022.
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