By Rachel Sorce

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center Announces “Restart the Arts” Fall Shows for the 2020-2021 Arts Season

(South Milwaukee, WI) – South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center is excited to announce “Restart the Arts,” fall programming for the 2020-2021 arts season. These new, limited capacity shows include a silly and educational family show, a one-man Prince music piano show and a Las Vegas style swing concert. Additional shows may be added as they are confirmed.

“The shows were carefully selected to appeal to the various segments of our audience and to align with our theatre’s greatly reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. We’re thrilled to welcome patrons back to our theatre and restart the arts in our community,” says Rachel Sorce, Executive Director. “Our staff and facility are ready to provide arts experiences while adhering to health and safety guidelines. Patrons who are comfortable returning to the theatre are encouraged to do so, and others will be welcomed back when they are ready,” she adds.

Friday, October 2 at 7:00 pm

Rock ‘n’ Roll Science Show (For families with young children)

What happens when a pair of bumbling 80’s rockers show up at the wrong venue to perform a rock ‘n’ roll concert – only to find out they are on the set of a science show performance?  Well, the “show must go on,” as this goofy duo does their best to entertain the crowd with science, despite their limited experiences in the laboratory!  This family-safe show is a fun look at science, especially physics, and includes fun big-stage experiments, clean humor, and of course a lot of ROCK ‘n’ ROLL music! Approximate run-time 60 minutes. Tickets go on sale September 15 and are $10 for students and $20 for adults/seniors. Buy Tickets!

Thursday, November 5 at 7:00 pm

Piano & My Voice (One-man show featuring Marshall Charloff from Purple xPeRIeNCE)

Performing your favorite hits: Purple Rain, Little Red Corvette, Kiss, Pop Life, and many more! From fronting the greatest Prince tribute show in the world, working with the Atlanta Rhythm Section and writing and producing the Commodores, Marshall Charloff embarks on a solo journey, performing all of your favorite Prince songs in this one-man show. His solo performance delivers Prince’s catalog of hits with only a piano, his voice, and his mastery of audience engagement. The only show of its kind, and licensed directly by the Prince Estate. Approximate run-time 90 minutes. Tickets go on sale September 15 and are $29 for students and $39 for adults/seniors. Buy Tickets!

Saturday, November 21 at 7:00 pm

Swing Explosion: We’ve Got a World That Swings (Full swing band with vocals)

Imagine being in Las Vegas and seeing a show with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. or the swinging music of Count Basie and Louis Prima. You’ll get that and more as we recreate the fun and excitement of a Vegas show from the 50’s as we pay tribute to some of the greatest entertainers of that era. Approximate run-time 90 minutes. Tickets go on sale September 15 and are $25 for students and $35 for adults/seniors. Buy Tickets!

Other Upcoming Shows & Events:

Thursday, October 1 – Sunday, October 4

SMPAC at the NEW European Beer Garden, Farmers Market Plaza Downtown South Milwaukee

Join the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center staff, SMPAC Council and SMPAC volunteers as we meet up at the NEW European Beer Garden for music, food and of course, beer! Located at 1010 Madison Avenue in South Milwaukee, the beer garden is scheduled to run September 18 – October 31. Hours are Thursdays 3-9 pm, Fridays, 4-9 pm, Saturdays, 12-9 pm and Sundays 12-7 pm.

Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24 (Shows at 7:30 pm)

South Milwaukee High School Theatre Co. presents

Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry

Spies, murder, love, and other trademarks of Alfred Hitchcock come to life in the style of a 1940s radio broadcast of the master of suspense’s earlier films. With The Lodger, Sabotage and The 39 Steps, Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play is a triple feature, complete with vintage commercials and one that recreates a daring train chase, a serial killer’s ominous presence, and a devastating explosion through the magic of live sound effects and musical underscoring.” Tickets will go on sale October 1.

Friday, November 13 & Saturday, November 14 (Shows at 7:30 pm)

South Milwaukee High School Theatre Co. presents

An Evening With Sherlock Holmes

This original live radio play features three classic Holmes and Watson short stories told in radio play format, as broadcast by CBS Radio in the 1930s and 1940s: The Musgrave Ritual, The Case of the Dead Adventuress and The Adventure of the Tolling Bell. Selected from the public domain and tied together into a single performance by SMHS theatre director Tim Backes, these stories showcase the variety and cleverness found in radio-edition Holmes tales. Tickets will go on sale October 1.

Saturday, December 5 at 2:00 and 7:00 pm

Studio K Flamenco presents

The Flamenco Nutcracker

Studio K Flamenco presents The Flamenco Nutcracker, an exciting new twist on the beloved holiday classic. Celebrate the season with an unforgettable evening filled with the beauty and passion of Flamenco dance. Follow the Matador Prince as he charges into the enchanted forest filled with intoxicating rhythms, clicking castanets, and staccato footwork. Award winning flamenco guitarist Marija Temo will perform her amazing score live. Join us for a magical holiday celebration like no other in this family friendly performance directed by internationally acclaimed choreographer Kerensa DeMars. Tickets will go on sale October 1.

Friday, December 11 and Saturday, December 12 (Shows at 7:30 pm)

South Milwaukee High School Theatre Co. presents

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry

This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve.” Based on the classic Frank Capra film, this is a great way to get into the holiday spirit! Tickets will go on sale October 1.


Purchase tickets online 24/7 at or by phone at 414-766-5049. Please leave a detailed message, since our staff may be working remotely. Walk-ups by appointment only.

Re-Opening & COVID-19 Statements

We understand that the health and well-being of our students, audiences, volunteers, artists, renters and staff is vital. And, we believe that live performances can enhance one’s well-being and contribute to a meaningful and enjoyable life.

That’s why we’re taking steps to reopen the theatre following guidelines provided by municipal and county health organizations. To help ensure good health for all, we’ll continue to monitor and reevaluate the latest COVID-19 information and update our policies as needed. We’ll post updates on our website and social media pages. Everyone who visits our theatre will be asked to follow these policies. We know that by working together, we can keep our environment healthy for everyone who wants to keep performing arts in their lives.

Due to capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements, seating will be limited and look different this season. Here’s how we’ll be working together to maintain a healthy environment:

  1. Calendar of Events – Performances and events will continue as scheduled unless otherwise directed by public health officials or school district administration. Please check our website,, and Facebook page for updates.
  2. Tickets, Cancellations & Refunds – Advance tickets will be general admission and will be sold via our website, or by phone, (414) 766-5049. Tickets may be purchased at the Box Office one hour before show time. Please call ahead for wheelchair reservations or assisted listening devices. Tickets are non-refundable except when a show is cancelled and not rescheduled. If a show must be cancelled due to community health or other unplanned reasons, patrons will be notified by phone and email.
  3. Physical Distancing – Audience capacity is restricted to every other row and attendees are asked to leave 2 empty seats between parties to allow for physical distancing. Capacity may change in accordance with health department requirements. Signage will be posted and announcements will be made periodically asking patrons to maintain physical distancing.
  4. Masks – Wearing a mask will be required for all visitors and staff. A limited number of masks may be available for $1 at the box office while they last.
  5. Hand Sanitizer – Sanitizer dispensers will be available in the lobby and throughout the theatre offices and backstage areas.
  6. Cleaning and Disinfecting – Theatre, restrooms and backstage areas will be cleaned and sanitized before and after each event.
  7. Show Programs – Programs will be single use only. Renters may provide a digital program to be uploaded to our website.
  8. Concessions – Food may not be sold or carried in. Bottled water is allowed.
  9. Doors – Theatre doors will open approximately 45 minutes before show time to allow for more seating time. Patrons will be encouraged to take their seats upon arrival.
  10. Live Streaming – A live streaming option is being considered to accommodate patrons who are unable to attend in person. Live streaming may not be available for all performances. Renters who choose to livestream events will be required to ensure that their content has the appropriate licensing needed.

SMPAC staff appreciates your cooperation and support as we navigate through this challenging and uncertain period. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.


South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (SMPAC) has been providing the greater Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin communities with creative, innovative and diverse performing arts for 15 years. Located inside of the South Milwaukee 6-12 campus, it serves the families of South Milwaukee and provides professional performing arts services for hundreds of events annually.

Past performances on our stage include the Soweto Gospel Choir, Celtic Nights, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Vienna Boys Choir, The Violent Femmes, Flamenco Vivo Carlotta Santana, Tommy Emmanuel, Legends Roundtable to Honor Da Crusher, Ex Fabula, Cirque Alfonse, The Official Blues Brothers Revue, John McGivern, Lindsey Buckingham, George Watsky, Donny McCaslin, Robert Glasper, The Zombies, Jean Luc Ponty, Jon Anderson, Arlo Guthrie, The Red Green Show, Slim Goodbody, George Winston and many, many more.

SMPAC was named as a top five Best Theatre in City Voter’s Milwaukee A-List Best Of contest in 2016 and 2017, receiving customer reviews such as “Great venue with fabulous events for all ages!” “Excellent and diverse touring artist performances showcased in a comfortable, friendly theatre away from the downtown crowds.” “There is not a bad seat in the house.” SMPAC was named the tri-city South Shore Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Award for 2017.

The SMPAC Performing Arts Series is sponsored in part by Classic Cargo International Inc., Courtyard Marriott Milwaukee Airport, Skyline Catering & Express Deli, TASC Services LLC., Molthen-Bell & Sons Funeral Home, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company and Ken Cook Co. Performances are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

SMPAC is located inside of the South Milwaukee School District 6-12 campus, at 901 15th Avenue in South Milwaukee between College and Rawson Avenues. It is easily accessible from I-94 and 794. Free parking is available in the northwest parking lot. For events, patrons should enter door #9. For tickets or more information, visit or call (414) 766-5049.

South Milwaukee PAC Announces 2017-2018 Performing Arts Series

(South Milwaukee, WI) – South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (SMPAC) announced its 2017-2018 Performing Arts Series during a Preview & Tasting Party featuring SMPAC sponsors Skyline Catering & Express Deli, Azteca Restaurant, Barbiere’s Italian InnScrappy’s BBQ and Parkway Floral at the theatre on Wednesday, May 24. Approximately 200 people attended the preview that featured hearty food samples and a sneak peak of the professional touring artist series line-up.

“We strive to present a mix of artists and performers not featured elsewhere in our area, along with providing educational opportunities for our students. We’ve become a cultural destination for Milwaukee’s south shore communities, presenting performances that entertain and inspire people of all ages and aesthetics. This season, we’re excited to present performances that appeal to our sense of nostalgia and the familiar, as well as performances whose impeccable musicians or intriguing artists enchant or surprise us,” says Rachel Sorce, Executive Director. Read more

South Milwaukee PAC Voted 2016 Milwaukee A-List Top Theatre

Thanks to all of you who voted for us, and thanks to Wisconsin Gazette for publishing our exciting news about being voted 3rd Best Theatre in the 2016 Milwaukee A-List contest.

“It was a terrific surprise to be voted among the top theatres in the Milwaukee area,” said Rachel Sorce, executive director at SMPAC. “We have many wonderful and loyal patrons, and we thank them for supporting us and posting comments about their experiences during the contest voting period.”  Read more

Silent Movies & Live Gypsy Swing at SMPAC in November

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center is proud to present The Hot Club of San Francisco: Cinema Vivant, on Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. Cinema Vivant celebrates the imagination and innovation of the 1920’s and 30’s with the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, and three silent movie shorts created by the pioneers of animated filmmaking, Ladislaw Starewicz and Charley Bowers.

“With Cinema Vivant, we want audience members to feel as if they are transported back to the French countryside of the 1930’s, where gypsy caravans would set up camps outside of town and lure locals out for an evening of music and silent movies, which flickered to life on the side of a barn,” says Rachel Sorce, Executive Director. “It was magical for audiences of the time, because the musicians would play guitars and fiddles, matching every movement on the screen and creating live soundtracks to the silent movies, which had never been seen or heard before.”

The Hot Club of San Francisco is an ensemble of accomplished and versatile musicians performing the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s pioneering Quintette du Hot Club de France. Called gypsy jazz, the swinging, bouncy beat has entranced audiences for decades. The ensemble borrows the all-string instrumentation of violin, bass, and guitars from the original Hot Club, but breathes new life into the music with innovation arrangements of classic tunes and original compositions from the group’s superb lead guitarist, Paul Mehling. Acoustic Guitar hailed Hot Club of San Francisco’s sound as, “intricate, scorching and often brilliant.”

In Cinema Vivant, three short films are projected during the show. Two are by a European pioneer of stopaction animation, Ladislaw Starewicz, including The Cameraman’s Revenge, and The Mascot. A third film, There It Is, is by American Charley Bowers, who helped revolutionize the industry in the 1920s by combining animation with live action.

On Sat., Nov. 21 from 1-2 pm, South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center will host a Gypsy Swing Guitar Masterclass for all ages by instructor and HCSF founder Paul Mehling. Cost is included in the price of a midlevel ticket to the evening performance. Pre-registration is required by calling 414-766-5049.

Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-45 for adults, with discounts for seniors and students. For tickets, visit or call (414) 766-5049.

Get Bold & Brassy Sept. 17 & 19!

We’re so excited to kick off our 2015-16 Performing Arts Season THIS WEEK with not one, but TWO fantastic brass bands of contrasting styles. Starting Thursday, the city of South Milwaukee will be filled with the amazing sounds of supremely talented brass musicians who thoroughly enjoy entertaining their audiences.

A Haiku in Honor of SMPAC’s 10th Anniversary & Poetry Month

A Toast to Ten Years

Ready to express
emotion for all senses
they will converge here.

Musicians, dancers,
singers and comedians
to entertain us.

Hands, feet, words, bodies
move expertly with practice
sharing their passion.

Tradition, trade, job
hobby, pastime, obsession
avocation, craft.

A showcase on stage
of twenty acts in one night
a toast to ten years.


Friday, May 1st Talent Extravaganza: A Toast to Ten Years

The 10th Anniversary Gala: An Extravaganza of Local Talent will be an event like no other in the 10 year history of our theatre. More than 20 different acts comprised of over 100 amateur and professional performers will take the stage on Friday, May 1st, led by our Master of Ceremonies, Tomas Kubinek, aka, Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible!

The event will be preceded by a social starting at 6:00 pm in the downstairs commons. There will be entertainment, arts and crafts and food, so bring the entire family! The SMHS a cappella ensembles Delta V and The Pop Rockets will perform during the social to get everyone ready for the show. Emerald City Catering is selling their famous pulled pork sandwiches and cole slaw and the SM high school students will be selling baked goods. So, don’t worry about going hungry during the show. Plus, Milwaukee Art Museum presents Kohl’s Color Wheels. It’s a mobile arts and crafts activity perfect for people of all ages and artistic abilities. The SMPAC Council is hosting a mini silent auction, and you’ll have a chance to meet many of the performers, too.

The performance starts at 7:30 and will feature local talent and talent from far away places such as Siberia. Our Master of Ceremonies is an internationally-touring performer who will make you smile and laugh, and who may even throw in a few unexpected surprises! You won’t want to miss the acts we discovered through our audition process that started last October. We auditioned dozens of performers, which made the selection process challenging and also fun. For the Gala, we’ve arranged for a wide variety of acts, from opera to uni-cycling, and even a four-legged performer named “Rosie.”

Won’t you join us for some fun? Get your tickets today, while they last!

2013-14 artist Jason Moran scores the movie “Selma”

Congratulations to Jason Moran, who performed at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center as a 2013-14 Performing Arts Series artist. He recently scored his first narrative feature, Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” about Martin Luther King Jr.’s push to pass the voting rights act in Alabama. Here’s what one reviewer had to say about the movie: “Selma reminds us to honor not just the heroic figure making speeches, but the collective will of so many who made progress possible.” Peniel E. Joseph, Professor of History at Tufts University. 

Variety magazine’s Steve Chagollan has this to say about Moran and his work:

And now with “Selma,” Moran — no stranger to audio visual collaborations with such artists as Adrian Piper, Joan Jonas and Kara Walker — strikes out into more populist territory. “I didn’t know the intellectual approach to music that he was taking until I started to research him,” says DuVernay. “And it was just a meeting of like minds very quickly.”

Read more

2014 Retrospective & Look Ahead

As I write this, it is New Year’s Eve Day. The sun is streaming through my home office window and steam is wisping from my cup of tea. It’s the perfect backdrop for a moment of retrospection and gratitude.

While many during this time of year are looking back at the past twelve months, I’m looking back at the past 10 years. We are, after all, celebrating our 10th Anniversary Season. With support from you, our patrons, contributors and sponsors, South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center has presented hundreds of creative, innovative and diverse artists from around the world and from our own community. These artists are people who have entertained and connected us. They’ve sparked conversations and created memories that have drawn us together. I’m thankful to be part of an organization that provides people of all ages with reasons to gather, be inspired and become transformed. Read more

Christopher McIntyre Perceptions is Journal Sentinel 2015 Artist to Watch

In Mary Louise Schumacher‘s Journal Sentinel article, The Year In Art and Architecture, she poses the question, “What is the role of artists in a time of political and social tumult?” While Schumacher doesn’t attempt to answer the question herself in the article, she identifies several artists and architects who grappled with the subject this year. Among them is Christopher McIntyre Perceptions and his work, Br(OK)en Genius, which premiered at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center as part of our 2014-15 Performing Arts Series in November. Schumacher names C.M.P. as 2015 Artist to Watch, and had this to say about Br(OK)en Genius:

Read more