Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Return of The Avalon Theater

Everything you need to know, including behind-the-scenes photos, about Bay View's historic movie theater and its $2.5 million renovation.

By - Nov 5th, 2014 11:04 am
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Everything you need to know, including behind-the-scenes photos, about Bay View's historic movie theater and its $2.5 million renovation. Back to the full article.

Photos - Page 3

18 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Return of The Avalon Theater”

  1. Lee Barczak says:

    Thanks to you for a wonderful article! I am very excited that a long term vision of what The Avalon could be once again, is finally moving toward reality. This has been a wonderful project and we have received countless encouraging comments from so many past…and future..patrons. I cannot wait to see how people from Bay View and all over the Milwaukee Metro area respond to this lovely theater of days past. While all of those who remember The Avalon will recognize this movie palace, the modernizing of sound, projection, screening and comforts will create a movie going experience unlike any other in our area. Oh, one small point of clarification….our seating is all individual seats with no seat more than two seats from an aisle. The goal is to maximize the comfort you enjoy and that servers do nothing to disturb your experience while they cater to your needs. Hope to see you at The Avalon soon!

    Lee Barczak

  2. Bill Kramer says:

    I’m happy this restoration is happening. I don’t live in MKE any more, but in 1995 I was able to go to a movie there twice a week. I remember watching “Appolo 13” on the screen in the little stage theater, which was behind the curtain. I was disappointed the place closed up shortly thereafter.

  3. gary says:

    when is it openning? I remember getting friends and driving all the way from Mequon to see movies and hang out at the local bars when I was home from school

  4. Ron Zeilinger says:

    Thanks for the updates, especially regarding our beloved Bay View!

  5. Deb Switalski says:

    I’m just tickled pink happy to see that the Avalon has come back to us. I was born and raised in Bay View and spent many a Sunday afternoons here. It has given me more “wonderful” memories than I could ever list. While I can’t speak for everyone, I personally believe that those of us who grew up in the area are just elated that it’s been renovated and brought back to be better than ever!! In closing I would just like to say…

    “Thanks for the memories” Avalon Theater… and Welcome BACK!!! 🙂

  6. Kari says:

    Great to see the enthusiasm for these architectural works of art in our beautiful city! Hopefully the feeling will overflow to other restoration projects on the horizon like the magnificent Grand Warner Theatre across the street from Grand Avenue Mall. It is yet another architectural gem that just waits for theatre lovers like us to bring its unmatched historical beauty back to life. I feel like Milwaukeeans are lovers of entertainment; and having additional spaces available to us to produce or enjoy cinema, music, theatre, dance, etc. will only grow the general appreciation for such art around us. Kudos to all those involved in reviving this asset to our community!

  7. David says:

    I was an usher at the Avalon in 1966-67. I had an opportunity to stop in this summer to see the renovation being done. They’re doing a terrific job. I can’t wait to go back when it’s done.

  8. Rita says:

    This is just so awesome. I used to take my kids to movies at the Avalon when they were little. They loved to look up at the “stars” twinkling on the ceiling. I hope they have kept that wonderful detail! When it closed I had thought about how it would be the perfect place for a “dinner and a movie” type theater – glad to hear someone else did too! I look forward to seeing it open again.

  9. Suzanne Heronemus says:

    My dad, who was born in 1917, grew up in that neighborhood and went to the Avalon all his life. My sister, born in 1947, and I, born in 1962, were raised in the same house and also went to the Avalon throughout our lives through young adulthood (as did my nephews). The ceiling was my favorite thing and i’m so glad they kept that! I am sure they can find a solution with the balcony. The Avalon reminds me a bit of the historic Arcada Theater in St Charles, Illinois, with its Spanish architecture. That balcony is open though the stairway is much, much narrower than the Avalon’s. However, I believe there may be an elevator in another part of the building that leads back to the theater. Good luck with the Avalon’s reopening. Thank you for bringing back this treasure!

  10. John says:

    With this anticipated opening, I hope that this venue will be part of the Milwaukee Film Festival next year! I will be going to this theater as soon as it opens from Cedarburg. The Rivoli in Cedarburg has had a very successful time since it’s restoration. When a community gets behind a project like Bayview will in this case, it will be very successful.

  11. Pam says:

    Many great memories have been made at that beautiful historic theater. Took my oldest son to see his first movie at the Avalon, Peter Pan! The atmosphere of the theater really added to the magical event!

  12. William Campbell says:

    Hi I am happy that someone is going to restore the Avalon Theatre. I have driven by the theatre many times in the last couple of years and wondered what would ever happen to it. For more than 25 years, I played the organ at the theatre for special events and before movies. The organ was removed along with the Buddah statues years ago. However, I have a wonderful recording of the organ that I would like to contact Lee Barczak about. The theatre always had great acoustics and that it would be wonderful to bring that sound back to a theatre that was the first in Milwaukee to be built for sound pictures.

  13. Finkle says:

    Avalon is such a treasured place. Too bad this amateurish stylistic prose of this article did not really capture this effectively. Hopefully the balcony will open someday!

  14. Sharon says:

    I worked at the Avalon from 1970-72. We had to quit when we turned 18 🙁 , otherwise I’d still be there….kidding! Movies are still a weekly event in my life. I now live out-of-state, but have been checking, frequently, to see when the opening will be. So anxious to come to town, to check it out, with my family. Will you have online ticketing and seat selections? Hope so!

  15. charles fitzner says:

    i am one of past owners of the AVALON in the 70s , good to see what is getting done i miss all fun of operating the theaters i also owned majestic in cudahy and garden in south milwakee 1970 to 1979

  16. Chris says:

    Lee Barczak I’d just like to say thank you a million times for what you have done with The Avalon. I know that you have endured a waterfall of issues with the place, and from the reports I can only surmise that it is as lovely as the first day it opened. As you know from your own experiences, The Avalon holds a place in our hearts that cannot be filled by any other means. The first time seeing Star Wars, or a first kiss, or the vivid memory of a weekly family tradition with those who have long since left us are all wrapped up in that place, and it was tragic to think that they may be lost. When I heard you had purchased it, my fears dissipated. You were the perfect person to take control. I look forward to re-living a bit of the past, and I will smile as The Avalon’s accolades come pouring in. Great job.

  17. LEROY says:


  18. david price says:

    An awful lot of teenagers got their first kiss in the Avalon. I was an usher and my job was to break up their teen aged lust.

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