"This space is crucial:" Pabst Theater begins first full-scale remodel of backstage area in decade

MILWAUKEE -- It’s an area few concert or theater-goers ever get to see. Backstage at the Pabst Theater is reserved for the performers.

“It’s really important for the actors to feel like they have a home to come home to because they’re traveling all over the place," said Anne Sperry, Steinhafels senior interior designer.

And that home is getting a major face-lift. Instead of the curtain going up on Tuesday, February 21st, the elevator was going down – with a full assortment of furniture for the first full-scale remodel of the backstage area in a decade.

“We popped bright red and we popped lime green, and a little yellow, and new lights down there," said Sperry.

Sperry is a former stage actress in her own right. Her goal was to brighten up an area that used to resemble, in her words, a cave.


“It’s really important to come in to a place where they can take a deep breath and go, 'something is organized, and it feels right in here, and there is balance and color and joy,' and then they can go out on stage and be themselves. And just have fun," said Sperry.

And for the Pabst Theater Group, the project is an investment in the future.

“This space is crucial to having artists come to our venues," said Sasha Molin, hospitality director.

Milwaukee may not be New York City or LA, so the comfort and hospitality of the backstage area plays a huge part in bringing big-name acts to town.

“We’ve definitely had artists that have come here multiple times, and it’s because they know they are treated really well," said Molin.

With an in-house chef, a barista and now the new design, it might even make artists on the road feel right at home.

Below are some pictures of what the backstage area used to look like.