Milwaukee Repertory Theater Names Powerhouse Theater in the New Associated Bank Theater Center for Philanthropists Ellen and Joe Checota

July 20, 2023 (MILWAUKEE) — Milwaukee Repertory Theater (Milwaukee Rep) is pleased to announce the Powerhouse Theater in the new Associated Bank Theater Center will be named the Ellen & Joe Checota Powerhouse Theater. While the amount of the Checota’s generous gift will remain confidential, it is the second largest gift in Milwaukee Rep’s history and is in addition to the $61 Million raised that was previously announced on July 6, 2023.

“Ellen and I have been proud residents of Milwaukee for 50 years, and we are proud to join the long list of donors who are funding the creation of the beautiful new home of Milwaukee Repertory Theater,” said Joe Checota. “Milwaukee is nationally-recognized as an important center for the arts, and the new theaters as well as the education and engagement center in the new Milwaukee Rep will significantly expand the cultural landscape for residents of greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin for generations to come.”

The Ellen & Joe Checota Powerhouse Theater will be one of the finest theatrical venues world-wide and will include:

• Flexible Theater Configuration. As the only theater in the country that seamlessly converts from thrust to proscenium configurations with fixed seats, production teams will have enhanced flexibility to match artistic vision with audience configuration. Additionally, the Powerhouse Theater will now be compatible with virtually any theater in the world allowing Milwaukee Rep to transfer productions to Broadway and beyond.

• Fly Loft. The ability to “fly” in larger pieces of scenery which the current venue does not provide.

• Improved Seating and Sight Lines. Reducing the audience capacity with configurations offering between 550 and 650 seats, widen the proscenium arch to improve sightlines, and install much more comfortable seats to ensure everyone has an enjoyable experience.

• Better accessibility. Accessible seats in prime orchestra and access to those seats from the ground floor, steps away from valet parking on Wells Street without the need to navigate stairs. Additionally, performer dressing rooms will now be on ground level allowing performers with disabilities to have direct access to the stage.

• Modern production technology. Offering advanced digital sound, laser projection capability, automated scenery, live-streaming capabilities, and programmable intelligent lighting.

“We are incredibly grateful to Ellen and Joe for their vision and generous support,” said Chad Bauman, Executive Director. “The Checota name will be synonymous with our Powerhouse Theater for decades to come, welcoming millions of people to Milwaukee Rep to experience world-class productions in a state-of-the-art facility.”

The Powering Milwaukee Campaign to build the new Associated Bank Theater Center will define the standard of theater in Wisconsin for generations to come. The campaign, which is over 80% complete, funds the creation of a new complex, including three state-of-the-art performances spaces, a large, unified lobby providing ample opportunities for community events, a dedicated Herzfeld Foundation Education & Engagement Center to serve the theater’s 20,000+ students, an expanded offsite production center employing hundreds of local artisans, and venues with modern audience amenities. Take a Virtual Walk through Associated Bank Theater Center at the link.

Milwaukee Rep’s 2023/24 Season, marking the theater’s 70th anniversary, will continue as planned in its current home starting with the World Premiere rock musical Run Bambi Run in September and featuring twelve full productions in all three theater venues through May 2024. More information on the construction timeline for the Associated Bank Theater Center will be announced later this summer.

To learn more about the Powering Milwaukee Campaign and to get involved, please visit

About Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Milwaukee Rep is the largest performing arts organization in Wisconsin with three unique performance venues in the Associated Bank Theater Center. For over seven decades, Milwaukee Rep has been a centerpiece of Milwaukee’s vibrant arts and cultural scene with productions ranging from Broadway musicals to Shakespeare to American Classics and New Works that are entertaining, inclusive, and impactful. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Clements and Executive Director Chad Bauman, Milwaukee Repertory Theater ignites positive change in the cultural, social, and economic vitality of its community by creating world-class theater experiences that entertain, provoke, and inspire meaningful dialogue among an audience representative of Milwaukee’s rich diversity.

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