The Miramar Theatre
The Miramar Theatre was built in 1913 as the Miramar Movie House.It name was eventually changed to the Oakland Theatre, and motion pictures continued to be shown through the late forties.In July of 1954,Drama Incorporated,under the chairmanship of Fred Miller,head of the Miller Brewing Company,entered into an agreement to rent the Oakland Theatre for what would eventually become The Milwaukee Repertory Theater.On September 16th 1954,The Milwaukee Journal announced that the name selected through a "name-the-theatre" contest was the "Milwaukee City Circle".The new name however was never used.Tragically,Fred Miller was killed in a small plane crash in December of that year,and the board of directors for Drama Inc. voted to name the theatre The Frederick C. Miller Memorial Theatre.The Fred Miller Theatre opened its doors january 25th, 1955.
The Fred Miller Theatre began operation under what is known as the star system.Throughout the fifties,show business luminaries such as Geraldine Brooks,Edward Everett Horton,Sylvia Sidney,Eva LeGallienne,John Kerr,Gloria Grahame,Geraldine Page,Uta Hagen,John Ireland,Fay Bainter,Monique Van Vooren and many others trod the Oakland Avenue boards.In 1969,after 138 productions,The Milwaukee Repertory Theater moved to the Todd Wehr Theater in the Performing Arts Center.
Throughout the better portion of the 1970's the theatre was the J. Pellman Theatre, a star vehicle venue for musicals and other productions featuring stars such as Mickey Rooney,Rita Moreno,John Astin,Patty Duke,Bernadette Peters, Robet Horton, and Guy Madison, as well as the site for boxing and wrestling matches!
In the late 1970's, until 1981,the theatre became the Metropole Nightclub, featuring numerous rock acts.The Eastbrook Church purchased the building in 1983,only two days away from its scheduled demolition,and considerably repaired and remodeled what had become exceedingly run-down.In 1995,the congregation of Eastbrook Church had grown to such an extent that it became necessary to move to larger quarters.Even though attempts were made to sell the property to some smaller religious organizations,for the most part,the theatre stood empty for three years.
In October of 1998, William Stace of Walls Have Ears Studios,and his wife Pamela Brown Stace of Amethyst Productions purchased the building with the intent of housing both the new Walls Have Ears recording Studio, as well as the theatre,which would become not only the home of Amethyst Productions,but a rental venue for the performing arts.