Below is a short list of events for winter 2023 and into 2024.
How much do Pabst Theater tickets cost?
Prices for Pabst Theater tickets will depend on several factors. When you click the event you're interested in attending, you will see a range of ticket prices. Ticket King backs all ticket orders with our guarantee.
You can view our event and concert lineup to see the list of Pabst Theater events that have already been announced. Most years, you can expect to see the best in live entertainment such as rock bands, country music, hip-hop, rap, and everything in between.
What are the best seats at the Pabst Theater?
There are great views of the stage from many areas at the Pabst Theater. Check the venue map for each event for the best seats.
Where is the Pabst Theater?
Milwaukee's Pabst Theater is located at 144 E Wells St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Pabst Theater History
The Pabst Theater occupies a prominent post in both Milwaukee's downtown theater district and Wisconsin's state history. Built in 1895, the Pabst is the fourth oldest continuously operating theater in the nation. The Pabst Theater was designated a National Historic Landmark of the US on December 10th, 1991.
First slated to open in 1890, the original building, known as the Stadt Theater, burnt to the ground in a fire. For years this handsome opera house served the city, but by 1890 the need for a larger site for the fans of theatre led Frederick Pabst, a former captain on the Great Lakes steamers and now head of the brewery bearing his name, to purchase the opera house and drastically remodel it. He christened it Das Neue Deutsche Stadt-Theater (or The New German City Theater). Vacationing in Europe at the time when informed of the fire, Captain Frederick Pabst reportedly cabled to "rebuild at once" and the Pabst Theater was born. His architect on staff, Otto Strack, determined not to lose his second structure to disaster, designed the Pabst Theater to be one of the most fire-proof theaters of its day.
Strack designed the Pabst Theater in the traditional style of European Opera Houses, modeling his structure on the German Revivalist style. His building included many innovations for theaters built at the end of the 19th Century. The Pabst Theater included one of the country's first fire curtains, all-electrical illumination, and a very early air conditioning system that used fans and large amounts of ice. The Pabst Theater also contained an electric organ, which was extremely rare for theaters at that time.
The Pabst Theater enjoyed many seasons of German touring companies and also hosted resident German theatre groups, along with the occasional English language event. As World War I approached, things changed drastically for the Pabst Theater. No longer were German touring companies available, and in the days that ensued, anything German in nature was certainly discouraged. By the 1920s, most of the productions were in English and the theater was utilized for other events such as political rallies, religious ceremonies, and concert performances by companies including the Chicago Symphony. As the decade wore on, the popularity of motion pictures and a steady decline in traditional theater forced significant remodeling. Gone were the boxes, the pipe organ, the stage elevators, and the unique fire curtain. Gone too was Captain Frederick Pabst himself.
The Great Depression years followed with reduced patronage, but little change to the Pabst Theater. In 1953, a foundation formed of three local foundations to own and run the Pabst Theater. During this time such names as Liberace, Louis Armstrong, Liza Minelli, Jack Benny, Rita Moreno, and Dave Brubeck graced the Pabst stage in between film showings.
In 1967 the city sought local landmark designation for the Pabst Theater, which it received. The Pabst then sought a listing on the National Register of Historic Places from the federal government. It was granted in 1972, and the awarding of that designation was the springboard for the accumulation of public and private funds to finance a major refurbishment.
Aside from the production every December of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's "A Christmas Carol," the modern-day Pabst Theater is too small for larger productions and many touring groups. This realization puts even more emphasis on making the theater suitable for both diverse productions as well as maximum use of its seats. To this end, a campaign was resumed in 1998 with the object of reseating the gallery with seats, for now, larger Americans. In 2002, local philanthropist Michael Cudahy offered to purchase and run the theatre through his foundation. Mr. Cudahy has been instrumental in the revitalization of the Pabst Theater.
Today, the Pabst Theater can hold 1,279 people and is a traditional stage theater with two balconies. The Pabst Theater hosts approximately 100 events per year, including music, comedy, dance, opera, and theater events. The auditorium is drum-shaped and decorated in reds and maroons with gold and silver accents. Perhaps the most notable feature in the auditorium is the 2-ton Austrian crystal chandelier that hangs over the seats. The Pabst Theater also has a staircase crafted from white Italian Carrara marble and a proscenium arch highlighted in gold leaf, which frames the stage.
Throughout the decades, hundreds of top performers have made stops at the Pabst Theater. Early on, pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff, actor Laurence Olivier, and ballerina Anna Pavlova graced the stage of the Pabst Theater. Recently, performers such as John Prine, Tito Puente, Pat Martino, the BoDeans, David Byrne, and Alan Parsons have performed on the stage. Each year numerous jazz headliners perform at the Pabst Theater as the venue is home to the Hal Leonard Jazz Series. One of Milwaukee's favorite Christmastime traditions continues to take place at the Pabst Theater - the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's version of "A Christmas Carol."