Modjeska Theatre

1134 Historic W. Mitchell Street,
Milwaukee, WI 53204

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Showing 26 - 45 of 45 comments

JimRankin on August 11, 2006 at 2:27 am

Just to make it clear, the photo linked to above by “Ken MC” shows the original Modjeska somewhat on the left; it is not the same building mentioned by “exModjeskaTech” in the comment above.

kencmcintyre on August 10, 2006 at 2:37 pm

I don’t think this photo has been posted yet:

erskin on September 22, 2005 at 7:46 am

I spent the late 90’s and early oo’s working as a Technical Director/ Stage Hand at the Modjeska and took it upon my self to learn what I could about it’s history and construstion. I have been all over (and thru) the building including doing repairs inside of the walls of the fasade. If anyone has any questions; if I know the answer I’ll give it to you or put you intouch with the current building owner Stewart Johnson (he happens to be in my mind one of the greatest set designers ever!)
I see that above it says that the chain is unknown the current building was built for Saxx theatres however it later was sold to United Artist who had their regional offices in the building.

TimothyRuf on September 21, 2005 at 1:59 pm

This link leads to a photo of the orignal Modjeska Theatre.

View link

PhilWrob on August 1, 2005 at 9:58 am

I am a transplanted Polak from SouthSide Milwaukee to Escondido CA.
I and my brothers spent many Sundays at the Modjeska or the Granada across the street. The family doctor, Kreiger (sic?) had his offices above the theatre. Thank you very much for these pics and for the memories.
Phillip F. Wroblewski

pBusch on August 1, 2005 at 5:31 am

There is a closed Modjeska of the same Marquee design in Savannah, GA. I am familiar with the Milwaukee theater and while on business in Savannah I happened to notice the closed property downtown. This was four years ago and it appeared as if someone was trying to bring it back to life. I found it interesting that two theaters of the same name and same design (named for a woman) were located so far apart. I snapped a picture (at the time) and gave a copy to the S. Johnson – owner of the Milw. property.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 8, 2005 at 8:05 am

The Modjeska Theatre opened on 2nd August 1924 with a seating capacity of 2,000.

deleted user
[Deleted] on January 21, 2005 at 11:56 am

Not many theatres are named after women because most theatres were owned by men. Women came into power so to speak in the seventies. By that time not many new theatres were being constructed.

JimRankin on January 20, 2005 at 10:04 am

Yes, Lostmemory, the last two images you link to are indeed the second MODJESKA. Incidentally, Milwaukee also named more than one theatre/cinema for a man, and a Polish man also: KOSCIUSZKO, General Thaddaeus of Revolutionary War fame. MOZART and CHOPIN are to others that come to mind. Also WAGNER, WASHINGTON, POLA NEGRI, VICTORIA, and in Milw. of course, the PABST.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 20, 2005 at 7:22 am

in NYC there was also the Helen Hayes Theatre, but it wasn’t originally named for her.

JimRankin on January 20, 2005 at 12:02 am

“Lostmemory’s” link to a photo is of the 1910 original MODJESKA, not the 1924 version still standing today. The 1124 address is to the offices upstairs over the stores on the ground level; 1134 is the theatre entreance.

DavidHurlbutt on January 19, 2005 at 11:07 am

It is wonderful to see that during the past eighty years the different owners of the Modjeska Theater have kept the name Modjeska. Not only is the Modjeska one of the few motion picture theaters named for a native of Poland, it is also one of the few that was named for (1) a theater personality and (2) a woman. How many other motion picture theaters were initially named for a woman and used her last name in the title?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 19, 2005 at 7:57 am

How do you pronounce ‘Modjeska’ ?

AndrewWillenson on January 19, 2005 at 7:21 am

About a month ago I saw a live stage play, “Fame the Musical” at the Modjeska. It was put on by the Modjeska Youth Theater Company. The play was very well done. The theater company is a commendable project where teenagers, largely from low income backgrounds, are taught how to be actors, and to put on a musical play.

The orchestra level was almost full when I was there. It was nice to see the Modjeska crowded.

I have no doubt that 1 million dollars could easily be put into the Modjeska. It will probably never again look like it did in 1925. But the Modjeska Youth Theater Company may very well save the Modjeska Theater. I wish the organization well.

Andy Willenson

DavidHurlbutt on July 16, 2004 at 12:08 pm

According to a poster on a light pole on Brady Street, there is going to be a Heaveymetal Fest at the Modjeska this July 30-31st, 2004. Ninety bands will perform during the two day event. I do hope the grand old lady of Mitchell Street can survive this.

DavidHurlbutt on July 12, 2004 at 2:44 pm

In the 1940s the Modjeska was one of two neighborhood theaters in Milwaukee that had daily matinees. The other being the Granada which was directly across the street. Both theaters occasionally showed Polish films. Usually, the Polish films were at the Granada on Mondays and Tuesdays but sometimes the Modjeska would featue a Polish film on Tues-Wed-Thur.

JimRankin on April 13, 2004 at 8:12 am

Please let me know if you learn anything more about this theatre. Thank You. Jim Rankin =

AndrewWillenson on January 13, 2004 at 2:17 pm

“I glad the building was not torn down.” SHOULD READ “I am glad the building was not torn down.”

AndrewWillenson on January 13, 2004 at 2:14 pm

In the early 1990s, when the Modjeska reopened, they showed second-run movies on the weekends. I saw such movies as “Home Alone 2”, “Last of the Mohicians” (sp?), and the excellent “Fugitive”. The theater was in far from pristine condition. However, I did enjoy seeing movies there.

I respectfully suggest that the owners of the theater give weekend movies another try. Good things are happening on Mitchell Street, and the Modjeska is beautiful. I glad the building was not torn down.

One more thing. I hate to sound obnoxious, BUT having at least Dolby would have made the good movies I saw at the Modjeska even better. I know that only weekend movies might be possible, and that it probably is not practical to spend big money on digital sound system. But even a used Dolby system would be better than just having a very old fashioned sound system. (Again, please realize that I KNOW this costs money.)

Best wishes as this building is restored.


Andrew N. Willenson