Madison Theatre

204 State Street,
Madison, WI 53703

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Additional Info

Architects: Phillip Dean

Previous Names: Grand Theatre

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Madison Theatre

Opened as the Grand Theatre in 1910. In 1922 it was sold to the Fischer-Paramount Circuit and was remodeled to the plans of architect Phillip Dean and was renamed Madison Theatre, which reopened on March 8, 1923.

It was closed in 1928 and was converted into retail use in 1929. The ‘Madison’ name was transferred to the former Orpheum Theatre/Garrick Theatre in 1936.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

dallasmovietheaters on January 14, 2018 at 1:30 pm

There were two Madison Theatres – one in the silent era and one in the sound era. This entry is the silent-era Madison which began as the Grand Theatre.

J.E. Sherwood and F.J. McWilliams launched the silent era Grand Theatre at 204-6 State Street in 1910 after their neighboring Fair-Play Theatre (208-212 State Street) had success. The Fair-Play (sometimes Fairplay) was discontinued during World War I. Sherwood and McWilliams sold the Grand to F.W. Fischer of Fischer Paramount Circuit in 1922.

Fischer tasked architect Philip Dean to refresh the theatre under a working name of Fischer’s New Madison Theatre shortened to Madison Theatre at opening. The theatre relaunched with its new moniker with “My American Wife” on March 8, 1923. Audiences were impressed with the now 900 seat theatre which featured a pipe organ on hydraulic lift.

But times changed quickly in downtown Madison especially with the neighboring New Orpheum and Capitol opening in 1927 and 1928. Fischer would drop the Madison Theatre never converting to sound in 1928. The Madison would be gutted for a retail furrier store in 1929. Its nameplate would be re-used for an existing theatre, the Garrick at 113-5 Minona now Martin Luther King.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 9, 2023 at 12:09 pm

The March 24, 1923 issue of Motion Picture Newshad this item about the new Madison Theatre:

“A number of Chicago and Milwaukee exchange men journeyed to Madison, Wisconsin, last Thursday night to attend the opening of Frank Fischer’s new Madison Theatre in that city. They found the theatre fine in architecture and magnificently equipped, and were unanimous in congratulating Manager Fischer on his splendid new cinema palace.”

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