The next act is ready to start.

The curtain is about to rise again.


When she was at her peak, The Modjeska Theatre was at the heart of the Polish community on Mitchell Street.  About 70 years after the first immigrant from Poland arrived in Milwaukee, the area around Mitchell Street was the hub of a bustling Polish community, and the first Modjeska Theatre was built.  Named in honor of the famous Polish Shakespearean actress who had died the year before, it was replaced in 1924 by the theatre that still stands on Mitchell.  It was a palace, celebrating vaudeville and movies and the Polish community itself.

The years have not been kind to the Modjeska.  Once a place where families would spend entire afternoons watching movies, and later where young people came to explore musicals, she fell into disrepair.  The roof leaked, the electrical system and the plumbing broke down.  She looked sad for a long time.

But now there is a strong effort to bring her back.  We have started investing in her again and have fixed a lot of the major issues like the leaking roof. We have begun the process of bringing the community back to the Modjeska:  700+ people came to visit during the recent Doors Open event.  It was wonderful.


Even better, we have interest from theatre companies, neighborhood groups, and schools who want to use the space.  They come to visit and immediately see the potential for holding performances and events on her stage.  With her ornate details, domed ceiling, and sweeping balcony there is nothing quite like the Modjeska Theater anywhere in Milwaukee: she truly is Milwaukee’s grand old lady on Mitchell Street.


Many of the historic monuments of the Polish community that arrived in the mid 1800s have needed some help.  The Basilica of St. Josaphat., the Kosckiusko Monument, and St. Stans to name a few, have been restored to their former glory.  Now it’s the Modjeska’s turn.  I hope you’ll join me in restoring this beautiful part of Milwaukee Polonia’s legacy.


John Kesselman

1 Comment

Devin Deuter

08/31/2015 at 7:45 pm


I was at the Modjeska last year to help paint some of the walls. I was curious if you still need help restoring because the man operating the project left me his business card and told me to call and I did and left a message but never got a response.

Thanks for your time,


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