Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
|Oriental Theatre. (Photo: Zhihan Huang / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)|
The Oriental Theatre will remain closed for the summer.
Milwaukee Film, which is in the second year of a 31-year lease of the Oriental, plans major renovations to the main and east theaters in the next few months. The work includes replacing seats and carpeting, improving sight lines and sound quality, restoring plaster on the ceiling and walls and beginning the process to install the 1925 Wurlitzer theater organ.
Milwaukee Film closed the Oriental on March 14 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a press release, Jonathan Jackson, Milwaukee Film CEO and artistic director, said the summer seemed like a good time to start "several long-planned restoration projects that, if not done now, would require future shutdown of the cinema."
The work is expected to run into the fall. It follows similar work completed in the west theater in 2019.
"We anticipate that our current restoration projects will be completed this fall. But we also know that we still may be facing restrictions on the size of crowds we can welcome to our theater even after this work is done," Milwaukee Film told supporters in an email.
Planned late-night screenings of "Cats," originally planned for March then moved to August, have been canceled. Customers who purchased advance tickets will be notified through email about refund options.
Milwaukee Film continues to offer movies through Sofa Cinema, a virtual cinema portal at mkefilm.org.
Contact Kathy at (414) 224-2974 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @katflanigan.