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Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts (photo credit Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts)

Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts

Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA

First Opened: 18th February 1928 (96 years ago)

Atmospheric Style: Spanish Garden

Architects: Ralph L. Beaudry, Larry P. Larsen

Former Names: Sheboygan Theatre, Plaza 8 Sheboygan Cinemas I & II

Website: www.weillcenter.com Link opens in new window

Address: 826 N. 8th St, Sheboygan, WI 53081 Link opens in new window

National Register of Historic Places: #99001606 Link opens in new window (added 22nd December 1999)


The 1,600-seat Sheboygan Theatre opened in early 1928 with Finders Keepers (1928) Link opens in new window starring Laura LaPlante, and five “big time” acts of vaudeville, having been built at a cost of $600,000 by the Universal Pictures chain for the Milwaukee Theatre Circuit.

It was reported that theatregoers were “seated in a huge Spanish patio, with the blue sky above and the huge and magnificent walls of a castle surrounding them”. The report continued: “On either side of the auditorium are high castle walls, small spires, and parapets. Here and there are huge pillars, and there are many arched nooks containing things of beauty, all of them having their splendor accentuated clever lighting effects”.

The theatre was particularly praised for its Atmospheric lighting effects: “Perhaps the most amazing effect of all is the blue canopied sky which the artist’s brush and ingenuity in the control of lighting effects have converted into a seeming reality with the skill of a magician. A glance above gives one the impression that he is gazing into the heavens on a beautiful Spring evening. Wisps of clouds seem to be rolling along gently, and tiny starts twinkle mysteriously here and here on the large canopy. More than one theatre-goer missed parts of the entertainment while gazing up in wonder at the realism of the effect”.

In April 1930 the theatre was taken over by the Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corporation.

In 1980 the theatre was twinned and renamed Plaza 8 Sheboygan Cinemas I & II. The theatre ultimately closed in 1992.

In 1996, the Weill Center Foundation Link opens in new window purchased the building for the purpose of preserving, restoring and overseeing the future operation of the historic theatre. Following listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 by the Foundation, the Weill complex includes many of the buildings in the block in which the theater stands, adapted for use by the theater for ticketing, rehearsal, conference room and storage uses.

Further Reading


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