The Milwaukee Repertory Theater at the end of May announced it was 70% of the way to its new building goal and will need to raise $7.5 million by June 30 to start construction.
The new theater, named the Associated Bank Theater Center, received $1 million from the Milwaukee Rep’s annual Curtain Call Ball and a $1.55 million donation from the Lubar Family to name The Lubar Family Donor Lounge, according to the theater website. The theater dubbed its fundraising campaign “Powering Milwaukee.”
Chamberlin LLC and Hunzinger Construction were contracted for the project and theater officials hope to break ground this year.
Anthony Petullo, a sustaining trustee, and an anonymous donor pledged to match gifts up to $7.5 million through June 30 to greenlight construction, theater officials added.
The theater wants to start construction “as soon as possible” to avoid cost increases and the risk of a “catastrophic building failure” in the meantime, Chad Bauman, the executive director of the Milwaukee Rep, said in a statement.
“We are so fortunate to have friends and families like the Lubars and Petullos who have been actively involved with Milwaukee Rep for decades. They encourage big thinking and understand that an investment in our theater today benefits generations to come. We want to start construction on our new home in the Associated Bank Theater Center as soon as possible, knowing that the longer we delay, costs will go up and the risk of a catastrophic building failure in the meantime significantly increases,” Bauman said.
“The Petullo Challenge to match new or increased gifts up to $7.5M will push us past that critical point allowing us to greenlight the project on our preferred timeline and better serve our community and mission by doing what we do best, provide world class theater that entertains, provokes, and inspires,” Bauman added.
In January, the Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation made a $5 million donation to the campaign, the largest grant the foundation has ever made, according to the Milwaukee Rep. Associated Bank made a 20-year, $10 million sponsorship in the fall of 2022 and won the namesake of the new theater, officials added.