West Wisconsin Avenue will soon look a little brighter.
The Riverside Theater will be getting a new marquee structure and a 40-foot tall vertical sign as soon as December. The face lift is a nod to the marquees of yesteryear, in a similar vein as the Avalon theater’s recently redesigned exterior.
The Riverside opened in 1928 as a vaudeville theater, just as the entertainment era was coming to a close and the Depression loomed in the distance. Beginning in 1935, the theater mostly screened movies and hosted the occasional musical performance. While it has once been owned by Warner Brothers and RKO, Zilber, a local real estate comapny, purchased the theater in 1962. Zilber later completed a two million-dollar renovations that the aging theater badly needed.
Now, the Pabst Group, who has managed the theater since 2005, isn’t stopping at new marquee that will be paid for with funding from Zilber, Pabst Group and designated ticket fees.
Also in the coming year, the stage will receive a fresh sanding, the seats will be replaced, and new theater doors will be installed. “Even something as simple as sanding the stage hasn’t been done in two decades,” says Pabst Group PR Director Andy Nelson. “There’s just constant work because of its historic nature.”