Get a sneak peek inside Milwaukee's Oriental Theatre renovations

Posted at 8:31 AM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-19 10:12:51-04

MILWAUKEE — When the Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee re-opens later this summer, movie-goers will get a look at all the work that’s been going on in the last year.

The theater closed last year for the coronavirus pandemic, and management decided it was a good time to begin a renovation project years in the making.

“This project that we are completing now wasn’t going to happen until this summer. Regardless this summer we would have been closed” said Cinema Operations Manager Andy Helmkamp.

The multi-million dollar renovation will bring the theater opened in 1927 back to its original glory.

“The idea behind this is eventually we want you to feel like you are stepping back to a 1927 movie palace,” said Helmkamp.

The project focused on cleaning and restoring much of the historic artwork in the theater.

Helmkamp says “I think one of the aspects people are going to be most floored about when they re-enter the Oriental Theatre is going to be the work done on the ceiling and the walls. Before we closed, these areas of the theater were kind of caked in a lot of dust and tobacco smoke and various other items throughout the years.”

The first public event on the calendar is the Cultures and Communities Festival September 6-12. Milwaukee Film is putting on what they call a film, health, and lifestyle event. The theater is expected to open for movie-goers sometime in the late summer.

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