PERFORMING ARTS MEMBERS
Your gift helps fund 14 diverse local arts groups, from children’s theater troupes to the opera. Find your favorites and get to know new arts groups right here.
Meet our Cornerstone MEMBERS
Founded in 1987, First Stage is one of the nation’s most acclaimed theaters for young people and families and is the second largest theater company in Milwaukee. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences for young people and families through Professional Theater Productions that engage, enlighten, and entertain; unparalleled Theater Academy training for young people, fostering life skills through stage skills; and dynamic Theater in Education programs that promote active learning in our schools and community. First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Milwaukee Arts Partners and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).
414-291-5700, ext. 224
Florentine Opera Company
As Wisconsin’s oldest fully professional performing arts organization and the sixth-oldest opera company in the country, the Florentine Opera has been bringing a bit of the world to Milwaukee since 1933. We’re a powerhouse for sharing different voices and stories through adventurous, fully staged productions of the most beloved and delightful operas. The camaraderie, music, and thrilling vocal athleticism will inspire you. Through community and educational programming, the Florentine also provides vital arts experiences for 15,000 children in Southeast Wisconsin annually, nurtures new audiences of all ages, and expands cultural horizons. Join us for a performance that will sweep you off your feet. Maggey Oplinger serves as General Director and CEO.
Milwaukee Ballet is renowned for presenting new interpretations of story ballets and introducing compelling contemporary works. It is made up of an international Company of 24 professional dancers, the Milwaukee Ballet II trainee Company, and a dedicated orchestra. Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy is the only professional studio school in the Midwest accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, with a Pre-Professional Program for teens. Our Community Engagement programs embrace a “ballet without boundaries” philosophy, offering free school-year ballet classes; adaptive ballet for youth with disabilities, and free summer performances out in the community.
Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Milwaukee Rep is the largest performing arts organization in Wisconsin in terms of audiences served and one of the largest professional theaters in the country. Each year, The Rep welcomes up to 275,000 people at nearly 700 performances of 15 productions ranging from compelling dramas, powerful classics, new plays and full-scale musicals in its three unique performance venues – the Quadracci Powerhouse, Stiemke Studio and Stackner Cabaret. Over the course of six decades, The Rep has gained a national reputation as an incubator of new work, an agent of community change and a forward-thinking provider of vital arts education programs. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Clements and Managing Director Chad Bauman, Milwaukee Repertory Theater ignites positive change in the cultural, social, and economic vitality of its community by creating world-class theater experiences that entertain, provoke, and inspire meaningful dialogue among an audience representative of Milwaukee’s rich diversity.
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is among the finest orchestras in the nation and the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin. Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region, develop music appreciation and talent among area youth, and raise the national reputation of Milwaukee. The MSO’s 70 full-time professional musicians perform more than 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. The orchestra’s nationally syndicated radio broadcast series, the longest consecutive-running series of any U.S. orchestra, is heard annually by more than two million listeners. The MSO’s standard of excellence extends beyond the concert hall and into the community, reaching more than 40,000 children and their families through its Arts in Community Education (ACE) program, Youth and Teen concerts, and Family Series.
Skylight Music Theatre
Founded in 1959, Skylight is Milwaukee’s professional Equity music theatre company and the largest employer of Wisconsin actors in the state. Skylight produces the full breadth of music theatre including blockbuster Broadway musicals, reimagined operas, exciting world premieres, and contemporary off-Broadway hits. Known for artistic excellence, Skylight brings distinctive imagination to music theatre works, creating personal connections between artists and audiences. The experience is further enhanced by the intimacy of Skylight’s Historic Third Ward home, the Cabot Theatre in the Broadway Theatre Center. Based on the design of an 18th-century French opera house, the 350-seat Cabot Theatre is considered one of Milwaukee’s most beautiful theatres. Led by Artistic Director Michael Unger, Skylight embraces the power of music and theatre to illuminate fresh perspectives on the human condition. Each year, Skylight Music Theatre entertains a wide and diverse audience of more than 30,000 people, in addition to offering educational programming reaching over 14,000 students.
Meet our MemberS
414-481-8801, ext. 1
Bel Canto Chorus
Founded in 1931, Bel Canto Chorus is Southeastern Wisconsin’s oldest continually performing arts organization. The group includes an auditioned adult performance chorus of approximately 100 singers and a Senior Singers program for those 55 or better who want to sing in an organized performance chorus. Characterized by a heartfelt belief in the value of Bel Canto Chorus’s mission and vision, and supported by devoted singers and audiences, talented artistic and administrative staff, and dedicated Board members, the group’s passion for sharing the thrill of live choral music has remained steadfast throughout its long, proud history.
Black Arts MKE
Black Arts MKE’s mission is to increase the availability and quality of African American arts and culture. We collaborate annually with over 100 performing artists of color and organizations including in-residence theatre group Bronzeville Arts Ensemble to illuminate the Black experience in America by developing and creating theatre while also providing artistic and educational programming opportunities, collaborating with the local and national community, and inspiring healing through positive social change.
Black Arts MKE’s annual signature performance – Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is a holiday musical favorite in Milwaukee featuring an all-black, MKE-area based cast. We’re a recipient of the APAP ArtsForward, NEA Grant for Arts Projects, The Black Seed and Theatre Communications Group national awards. Black Arts MKE is a producing theatre with World Premier Wisconsin. We are a proud Member Group of the United Performing Arts Fund and Resident Group at the Marcus Performing Arts Center. Black Arts MKE is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.
414-277-8480, ext. 6025
Danceworks Performance Company is the resident contemporary dance company of Danceworks, Inc. Founded in 1997, Danceworks Performance Company is a dynamic group of dancers/choreographers that is committed to creating and performing contemporary dance that is physical, virtuosic, entertaining and honest. Collaboration fuels the creative vision of the company members as they regularly work alongside guest artists, including musicians, poets, visual artists, actors and choreographers. Danceworks Performance Company strives to make its work relevant and accessible to a wide range of audience members by regularly performing and teaching workshops and residencies in diverse communities throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Danceworks Performance Company’s artists embody the mission of Danceworks, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded in 1992, to enhance the joy, health and creativity of the community through performances, classes and outreach activities that integrate dance and other art forms. Danceworks contributes to Milwaukee’s cultural vitality by sparking a lifelong interest and participation in the arts. Danceworks is committed to taking arts and arts learning beyond the studio and theatre and into the community by creating work that resonates with diverse groups of people, and serves more than 60,000 children, adults and seniors each year through original contemporary performances by the Danceworks Performance Company; a year-long season of training and themed dance concerts in Danceworks Studio Theatre and out in the community by Danceworks Youth Performance Company, which is modeled after the professional company; a year-round experimental venue for local and national artists called the DanceLAB; weekly dance and dance fitness classes at our downtown studio and at satellite locations; dance and arts programming at schools in Milwaukee and surrounding communities; and dance and arts programming for older adults.
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) produces intimate, high-quality, professional works of literary merit that engage and challenge the audience, while employing and nurturing principally local theatre artists. MCT was co-founded in 1975 by two local actors who envisioned a space where audiences could open their minds to new theatrical ideas and Milwaukee's theatre professionals could broaden their skills and apply their craft.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Brent Hazelton and Managing Director Amy Esposito, MCT serves as a vital building block in the theater industry and the city of Milwaukee as a whole due to our unwavering commitment to building community and increasing quality of life for our region. A resident company of the Broadway Theatre Center since 1993, MCT partners with other arts organizations, community-based organizations, and universities to produce thought-provoking productions and innovative outreach programs on an intimate, human scale. As a leader in supporting local talent, MCT provides regular employment and a stable artistic home to Milwaukee theatre professionals through a five-play performance season, the Young Playwrights Festival (YPF), and the Montgomery Davis Play Development Series (MDPDS). Each year over 16,000 individuals attend MCT performances, take advantage of our educational opportunities, and participate in our artistic activities.
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
Since 1956, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) has been nurturing, challenging, and inspiring generations of students, profoundly changing lives and our community for the better. MYSO has grown from one orchestra and 30 students to become one of the largest youth orchestras in the country, and one of the most respected. It serves 900 of the area’s young musicians who come from more than 200 schools, 60 communities, and as many as 14 counties throughout southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. It also provides outreach programs to an additional 5,000 youth annually through the more than 100 concerts we perform.
The importance of MYSO as a catalyst for youth development and community change has not gone unnoticed. In the 2015-16 season, MYSO received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the country’s highest honor for after-school youth arts and humanities programs, presented by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Next Act Theatre
Next Act Theatre was founded in 1990 upon the merger of Next Generation Theatre and Theatre Tesseract. Next Act’s mission is to engage the hearts and minds of audiences with compelling and intimate theatre productions intended to stimulate thought, foster the exchange of ideas and promote the development of new perspectives and understanding. Productions center primarily on stories that speak to relevant topics.
Next Act also offers year-round education opportunities, going into classrooms as well as bringing students to the theatre for its Next Actors: Summer Theatre for Teens program. Programs are offered for free (along with no-cost lunches for participants of the summer program), and student matinee tickets are offered at deeply-discounted rates.
Present Music is Milwaukee’s internationally acclaimed new-music ensemble that commissions, performs and records the music of living composers. Founded in 1982 by Kevin Stalheim, Present Music commissions and works closely with many of the nation’s most exciting and important composers. Present Music’s mission is to engage artists and audiences in imaginative and provocative experiences with new music through ensemble performance and education.
Renaissance Theaterworks’ (RTW’s) mission is to create moving theater that connects with our shared sense of being human; dedicated to promoting the work of women, onstage and off. RTW is Milwaukee’s only women-founded, women-run theater company and has been narrowing the gender parity gap in the arts for over 25 years. Located in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, RTW produces intimate and thought-provoking theater in The Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center (158 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202).