Stackner Cabaret – Milwaukee Repertory Theater


The Milwaukee Repertory Theater


Milwaukee, Wisconsin


5,000 SF



One of three theaters at the Milwaukee Rep complex, the Stackner is the only venue in Milwaukee offering dinner service and uniquely intimate and immersive performances. After some 200 shows a year over the last 30 years, the venue was in need of renovation to keep up with current demand. The Stackner suffered from code compliance issues, failing kitchen equipment, and space constraints. Approaching its 63rd season and with the help of a fundraising campaign from its loyal subscribers, the Rep was able to re-imagine their cabaret theater for the next 50 years.

Ramlow/Stein reconfigured the layout of the Stackner to provide full utilization of its 4,000 square feet. Relocating a central dividing wall and moving the bar and bathrooms opened up unobstructed view seating from 118 to 192. Creation of a service alley for wait staff and production crew improved their efficiency and eliminated cross traffic with patrons. And new bathrooms feature additional fixtures, accessible stalls and queuing space that no longer impedes table service.

More comfortable seating and updated finishes elevate the experience for patrons. We chose a palette of neutrals that would allow the productions to take center stage while providing a rich environment to spend an evening. Warm pecan wood tones balance the cool greys and dark umber of the carpet and paint scheme, while new white subway tile references the original glazed structural brick of the venue and brightens the bathrooms and bar. In addition, a new ceiling landscape supports optimal acoustics for performances.

To meet the operations and revenue goals and maintain the Milwaukee Rep’s show calendar, our design process was executed efficiently, with construction completed in just under four months.


  • ASID Wisconsin Design Excellence Award
    Hospitality/Restaurant Category – Silver