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Marcus Center Debuts Newly Renovated Uihlein Hall

While the stage was dark, Marcus Center transformed seating in Uihlein Hall and introduced COVID-19 related improvements.

Marcus Center Debuts Newly Renovated Uihlein Hall

After more than a year without live performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marcus Performing Arts Center is eager to bring back patrons to a newly renovated Uihlein Hall.

Over the past year, the Marcus Center has invested in a renovation of Uihlein Hall including new seats, a new seating configuration utilizing multiple aisles, increased public health and safety amenities and enhanced ADA accommodations. As performances were halted and the curtains were closed, the Marcus Center focused on valuable building improvements. As the light at the end of the tunnel begins to grow brighter, the Marcus Performing Arts Center raises the curtain to the public for its first performances in the space beginning May 7.

"As we realized the pandemic was going to last far longer than any of us could have initially anticipated, we recognized an opportunity to focus on making important improvements to our space while the venue was closed," said Marcus Center President and CEO Kendra Whitlock Ingram. "After speaking with resident companies, including the Milwaukee Ballet and Florentine Opera, our top priority quickly became renovating the seats in Uihlein Hall."

Prior to the renovations, seating in Uihlein Hall was arranged in a continental style, meaning all seats were located in one large central section without center aisles. Adding two main aisles and dividing seats into three sections makes the theater more accessible for all patrons.

The $4 million project is made possible through the generous support of donors, including two lead donors: a $1 million gift from Donna and Donald Baumgartner and a major gift from an anonymous donor. Renovations also were made possible through a generous grant from the Herzfeld Foundation.

"The continued support and generosity of donors made it possible not only for our company to make it through a tumultuous year, but also gives us the opportunity to return to live performances in an improved theater that will offer a world-class patron experience," said Florentine Opera General Director and CEO Maggey Oplinger. "Our artists are thrilled to be among the first to perform in this beautiful space as we begin bringing live musical performances back to the Milwaukee arts community."

The Uihlein Hall renovations come as a part of the Marcus Center's larger plans to safely welcome back patrons to the theatre. In addition to new seats in the hall, patrons will see a new ticketless entry process, increased hand sanitation stations, floor markings encouraging social distancing and signage displayed throughout the facility to serve as a reminder to wear masks correctly, maintain social distancing, wash/sanitize hands and inform patrons of capacity limits in restrooms. Capacity limits for each theatre have also been temporarily reduced in accordance with city health guidelines.

Additional updates include the optimization of a state-of-the-art HVAC System that continually introduces fresh outside air and circulates it out of the building every 17 to 20 minutes, along with a new air filtration system that utilizes needlepoint bipolar ionization technology to further clean the air and free it of particles that could be carrying and spreading viruses or other bacteria.

For more information on how the Marcus Center is keeping patrons safe at performances this spring, visit

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