Marcus Performing Arts Center
Press Release

Free Entertainment Returns to the Marcus Center’s Peck Pavilion on June 26-September 5

Shakespeare in the Park, Milwaukee Ballet’s Ballet Beat, True Skool and Milwaukee Fringe Festival continue this summer!

By - Jun 12th, 2019 07:29 am

MILWAUKEE, WI (Wednesday, June 12, 2019) – Live @ Peck Pavilion returns to the Marcus Performing Arts Center grounds this summer. The season will run from June 26 through September 5 with each day of the series featuring a different program focus. Optimist Theatre: Shakespeare in the Park returns to Peck Pavilion from June 26-July 13 with their presentation of The Comedy of Errors. Community Partners, Milwaukee Ballet’s Ballet Beat, True Skool Block Party and Milwaukee Fringe Festival, also return this summer. All events in Peck Pavilion are free and open to the public.

Live @ Peck Pavilion will feature the following:


July 25 – Mixtape MKE
Mixtape: A Tribute to the 80’s is a high energy dance band playing your favorite UK and Euro-Pop, New Wave, and classic American hit songs from the height of the MTV era. Righteously fun, energetic, and tubular to the max, this band features experienced Milwaukee musicians who lived it, loved it, and look forward to bringing back the memories and creating new ones. Mixtape will take you back to the 80’s and on to the dance floor – like, for sure!

August 1 – Milwaukee Smooth Jazz Tribute
Led by pianist/band leader JL Russell, this evening will be a very special night of smooth jazz. Featuring a very special salute to Milwaukee’s own Al Jarreau, the tribute will ignite fond memories for any who remember the classic station WJZI.

August 8 – The Ron Burgundy’s
Experience a night of yacht rock and softcore rock of the 60s, 70s, 80s! Hits from Hall and Oates, TOTO, Michael McDonald, Billy Joel, Kenny Loggins, Fleetwood Mac and MORE!

Instagram: @theronburgundys

August 15 – Heartache Tonight – A Tribute to the Eagles!
From the powerful guitar duel in “Hotel California” to the shimmering harmonies of “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” Heartache Tonight delivers a true Eagles concert experience. With meticulous attention to every detail, Heartache Tonight brings together music from all eras and incarnations of this huge rock powerhouse that produced hits over four decades.

There are no pre-recorded backing tracks in this show – all vocal harmonies and guitar parts are faithful to the originals and performed live. A Heartache Tonight concert is one unforgettable hit song after another from one of the greatest rock bands of all time, performed by tremendously talented musicians with perfection and passion.

The six multi-talented members of Heartache Tonight have shared stages with some of the biggest names in rock, including Jimmy Buffet, Joe Cocker, Eddie Money and the Doobie Brothers, and have played festivals and performing arts centers across the country – Taste of Chicago, Ravinia Festival and Wrigley Field to name just a few.

A Heartache Tonight performance is filled with moments designed to thrill classic rock fans: the soaring a cappella harmonies of “Seven Bridges Road,” the snarling guitars of “Life In The Fast Lane,” the anthemic country rock of “Take It Easy,” and the beautifully evocative “Heart Of The Matter”.

August 22 – Ladies First: A Tribute to the Women of Classic Hip Hop & R&B
Milwaukee Renaissance Woman, B-Free, curates an evening of Milwaukee musicians in an all-star tribute to the Women of Classic Hip Hop and R&B. The Chicago-born Milwaukee native is not only known for her soulful voice, but as a multi-instrumentalist as well. Composing original songs at only seven years old, B~Free has dedicated her life to music. B~Free serves her musical community as an educator, curator, music producer and performance artist of all sorts.

DANCE MKE | July 30, August 6, 13, 20 | 7 PM

DANCE MKE is a four-week dance competition featuring Milwaukee dance artists from ANY discipline. Selected performance groups will battle it out over three consecutive weeks starting July 30, 2019. A panel of local dance experts will select the top three groups from each week to advance to the finals on August 20. Now entering its fourth year, over hundreds of local dancers have performed to thousands of dedicated dance lovers in the first three years of the competition. Submissions are open now at


July 25 – Nineteen Thirteen
Cellist Janet Schiff and Percussionist Victor DeLorenzo (founding drummer of Violent Femmes) create the new, dynamic sound that is NINETEEN THIRTEEN.  Schiff plays a cello that was made in Romania in the year of 1913 while DeLorenzo plays a set of drums made in modern day America. Together their music suggests mystery, romance and future thought.  Powered by cello layers and beat brush percussion, this award-winning duo defies expectations and rewards listeners with their unique expression of music.

August 1 – WhiskeyBelles
Three Chords and the truth! Roots Country Music, Born of Gin Halls and Juke Joints – Hank Williams passion, Carter family harmonies, with a little Hee Haw mixed in for good measure.

The WhiskeyBelles are an all-female traditional country and Americana trio based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Belles are widely known for captivating shows featuring their own take on classic and obscure vintage-country, Americana, folk-revival and roots-country tunes, with their own witty originals sprinkled in. They’ve been compared with the Pistol Annies, Dixie Chicks and The Trio (Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris & Linda Ronstadt). The ‘Belles have personalities as big as the Texan skyline – they have a great time on stage, and love to share the fun with their audience.

August 8 – B-Free & Quinten Farr Duo
Multi-faceted husband and wife combo B-Free & Quinten Farr bring their savvy technique and musical experience to the venue by way of flute, voice, piano & loops. With an array of jazz standards, covers & originals steeped in several genres, the performance is sure to deliver an array of soulful and jazzy sounds.

August 15 – Chris Crain 
Singer, Songwriter and multifaceted Musician Chris Crain is taking the R&B scene by storm. His passion for using his music to make a change is prevalent in every lyric; every rhythm; every note. Change – in the way people listen to music and the way it makes them feel.

August 22 – Nickel & Rose with Sista Strings
This August, Americana/Folk duo Nickel&Rose join forces with R&B/gospel duo, SistaStrings, to form an exciting and unique quartet.  These Milwaukee acts will perform duo sets as well as combined sets, pulling from each other’s lush repertoires in beautiful four part string and vocal harmony.

Nickel&Rose have influences that span the spectrum of American music. Carl’s background brings elements of West African music and Blues while Johanna brings her experience playing Bluegrass, Folk and Jazz. From loss to heart break to love, Nickel&Rose address the human experience with gentle harmonies and soul stirring cries. With a shared appreciation for traditional music and a desire to break rules, the two have have created a unique sound that embodies Americana’s past and future.

The sound of SistaStrings can’t be described in one word. The Milwaukee-based sister duo (Chauntee – violin, Monique – cello) combines their classical background with R&B and a touch of gospel that culminates in a deep, lush sound. Formed in 2014 after the sisters graduated from college, the sisters began composing string arrangements for local hip-hop artists and the rest is history. SistaStrings has performed with Malik Yusef, Black Violin, Bone Thugs ‘N Harmony, Lupe Fiasco, BJ The Chicago Kid, and The Roots. They have soloed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

August 29 – The New Grey
The New Grey was solidified as a band in August of 2017. However, its roots began in 2013,  when bassist, Jake Rieboldt, and Luis Santana (drums) disbanded from a previous project, deciding to move in a different musical direction.

After one year of songwriting with multiple guitarists, Mike Hartl (guitar) was discovered through a Craigslist ad. Mike’s clean blues rock style and Reggae flair were a welcome addition to the group, adding a different dynamic to the Indie Rock foundation that Rieboldt and Santana had already established. In what seemed like a futile effort, the band continued to audition one singer after the next.  This went on for nearly four years until Hartl walked into an open mic night and heard Johnny Helm, an R&B solo artist. Helm had been releasing singles on his own, working the open mic circuit in Racine, Wisconsin.

While it was no doubt that Helm had talent, Santana was not convinced that his R&B style would gel with the instrumentation.  This assumption was quickly dispelled, when Johnny easily freestyled over an open jam, revealing that he was not only a talented R&B vocalist, but could also bring an aggressive, yet powerful Hip Hop element to the table. Johnny’s unique blend of Hip Hop and R&B, along with the band’s instrumentation, proved to be a long awaited breath of fresh air.

After only four months together, the band hit the studio, producing a five song self-titled EP.  They then hit the ground running to promote it, playing both local and regional venues ranging from basements and bars to colleges and festivals.  Less than a year from conception, they began receiving radio play, reviews, and were asked to perform on the Emerging Artist Stage at Summerfest.  With two EPs under their belt, and plans to return to the studio to begin work on their third, there is no telling what is ahead for The New Grey’s musical endeavors.

September 5 – Trapper Schoepp Duo
The Milwaukee-based tunesmith had been on a roll, earning acclaim as one of America’s most gifted new singer-songwriters, singled out for his remarkably detailed tales of characters on the fringes of society. His Brendan Benson-produced second album, 2016’s RANGERS & VALENTINES, was hailed among that year’s finest, declared a “mini masterpiece” by Relix after being named Billboard’s “Best of the Week.” But by the time 2016 came to its end, Schoepp had split with his longtime partner, been all but forced out of his longtime home and band clubhouse by a new landlord, and worst of all, painfully re-herniated a disc in his back that had plagued him for years.


June 30 – Kids From Wisconsin (Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall)
After 50 years of entertaining audiences across Wisconsin and beyond, the KIDS beat is stronger than ever. The curtain opens in June and closes in August with over 60 performances of “The Beat Goes On”. This 51st season will feature music and artists that have stood the test of time.

Living legends such as Billy Joel, Tina Turner and Cher, just to name a few, along with music that is both traditional, award winning and notorious, will get audiences on their feet. Music from some super all-stars such as Queen and Gershwin will keep them wanting more and more.

The songs of today that are featured, have beats that will last from now on…. as they captivate our younger dreamers and wannabe’s in the audience. The iconic sound of the Kids From Wisconsin BAND will wow you with some winning tunes from all-time rockers such as the Doobie Brothers, Festival Di Ritmo, some FAVORITE Super Heroes and more. These band features will get toes tapping to some of rock’s greatest guitar riffs and percussive Latin beats.

The classic Broadway medley will make you want to stomp, clap and sing along. It will bring to life some of the best known, beat filled Broadway tunes. This year’s talented Hometown KIDS hail from as far north as Eagle River, west to River Falls, east to Kohler, and as far south as Salem!

July 21 – Milwaukee Festival Brass
Founded in 1985, Milwaukee Festival Brass is an exciting brass ensemble made up of volunteer brass and percussion players from all walks of life, both young and old from all over Southeastern Wisconsin. Led by its highly regarded Director, Mark A. Taylor, they have added their own unique flair to a repertoire ranging from classics to contemporary selections using traditional British Brass Band instruments.

As highly regarded musical ambassadors for the great and vibrant city of Milwaukee, award-winning Milwaukee Festival Brass supports its strong cultural foundation and is dedicated to developing younger brass and percussion musicians.

The Band is a state of Wisconsin registered 501(C)3 non-profit organization as well as a 509(A)2 Public Charity and is run by a member elected Board of Directors.

July 28 – Command Performance Big Band
Command Performance is a traditional 17-piece big band that features two dynamic vocalists (one male and one female), performing Jazz standards from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. The Band’s library also includes music in a wide variety of other styles that are suitable for community dances and private parties and weddings, as well as concert settings, both indoors and outdoors. In addition to performing in both casual and formal settings, the Band also portrays itself as a Glenn Miller-style military band that performs all-World War II programs, ideal for historic and retro-style events.

For more information visit the Band’s website or contact music director, Sal Terrasi, at or call (414) 628-3921.

August 4 –  The Amazing Grace Chorus
The “Amazing Grace” Chorus is a Milwaukee-based diverse Chorus made up of people living with dementia and their caregivers. The chorus program improves the quality of life of its participants and caregivers through socialization and music; and provides education and assistance to connect with dementia and Alzheimer’s care support services, resources, programs and respite opportunities. The program is provided by the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute Regional Milwaukee Office.

August 11 – MYSO Calypso & Soca Steel Bands
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra’s steel pan programs, Calypso and Soca, offer middle and high school students who live or attend school in the city of Milwaukee, an opportunity to develop new and exciting musical and rhythmic skills. Calypso has performed throughout Milwaukee, with highlight performances including, Summerfest, the Lakefront Festival of the Arts, the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebrations and many other performances throughout the community

August 18 – Milwaukee Police Band
The members of the Milwaukee Police Band under Retired Lieutenant Karen Dubis, a 40 year veteran of the band and 37 year veteran of the department, continue in their role as “goodwill ambassadors” to the citizens of Milwaukee. They cherish the opportunity to do their part in improving the quality of life in this fine City of Milwaukee.

The Band performs regularly at the Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial, recruit graduation ceremonies, the Law Enforcement Mass of Blessing at the Basilica of St. Josephat, the Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies and other Civic functions.

The Band is funded solely by the Milwaukee Police Band Association and has earned the status as a 501(C)3 non profit organization.


August 2 – Wizard of Oz
Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.

August 9 – Brave
Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

August 16 – 101 Dalmatians
An evil high-fashion designer plots to steal Dalmatian puppies in order to make an extravagant fur coat, but instead creates an extravagant mess.

August 23 –– Big Trouble in Little China with Live DJ: Can I Kick It
A rough-and-tumble trucker helps rescue his friend’s fiancé from an ancient sorcerer in a supernatural battle beneath Chinatown. CAN I KICK IT? creates a unique film experience. This special screening is given a unique scene-by-scene score featuring a blend of Hip Hop, Soul, Funk and more mixed live by DJ 2-Tone Jones, using his turntables. The result – your movie experience redefined where 2-Tone creates a live mixtape to the movie.

TASTE OF ISLANDS | August 24 | 2pm – 10pm
Celebrate the Live at Peck Pavilion series with a celebration of the music, food and culture of the Caribbean Islands. The mini-festival will feature live performance, kids activities, art vendors and more!

Community Partner Events:

OPTIMIST THEATRE | June 26 – July 13
It’s the 10th anniversary season of free Shakespeare in the Park! Join the fun with William Shakespeare’s masterful and riotous The Comedy of Errors. The Comedy of Errors is a fast-paced farce of mistaken twins. It’s one of Shakespeare’s shortest plays and features some of his most accessible language.

Milwaukee Ballet Company’s BALLET BEAT | Week of July 15
Ballet Beat brings professional dancers into libraries, outdoor stages, and community centers throughout the Greater Milwaukee area for FREE interactive activities, professional performances and pop-ups throughout the city. Details announced soon.

TRUE SKOOL BLOCK PARTY | July 27 | 11am – 5 pm
TRUE Skool is tapping into young peoples’ potential to be creative, productive and empowered. The annual Block Party features live performances, live art, children’s area, Circulate Market, BBoy Battle, Skate Jam, MKE Photographer Meetup and more!

Following the rich tradition of Fringe Festivals, the Milwaukee Fringe Festival is a showcase of a diverse collection of artists that call Milwaukee home. From theatrical actors to painters, musicians to tap dancers, performance artists to playwrights, MKE Fringe is a joyous celebration of what makes Milwaukee’s culture vibrant and extraordinary.

Marcus Center’s Peck Pavilion features fixed seats in a covered pavilion along the beautiful Milwaukee Riverwalk. Events are presented rain or shine.

More details for all the events for the Live @ Peck Pavilion series are available at All performances are free and open to the public. Food and beverage will be available for purchase for all events from Sazama’s River’s Edge Patio. No carry in food or beverages are allowed.
Established in 1969, the Marcus Performing Arts Center is the premier performing arts community gathering space in Southeastern Wisconsin. As the Marcus Center moves into its 50th year, it continues to build bridges between diverse members of our community through high-quality arts entertainment in the region and the state. The touring Broadway series, sponsored by Associated Bank, is recognized as bringing the best of Broadway entertainment to Milwaukee for the past 20 years and provides opportunities to educate, entertain and engage audiences. The Marcus Center is also the home to the Milwaukee Symphony, Milwaukee Ballet, Florentine Opera, First Stage plus a variety of other important community and family events throughout the year. For more information about events visit the Marcus Center website at  The Marcus Center is a private non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation and is a dedicated veterans memorial in Milwaukee.

Recent Press Releases by Marcus Performing Arts Center

Marcus Performing Arts Center to Receive $15,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Funding supports advancement of racial equity through the performing arts as part of MPAC Presents Series

Marcus Performing Arts Center Announces Departure of President and CEO

Kendra Whitlock Ingram to leave organization in January 2023, Board to launch national search for new leader

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