An iconic theater has anchored downtown West Bend for nearly a century, and it’s just getting started. The Historic West Bend Theater, otherwise known as “The Bend,” is a center for entertainment and the arts in West Bend. Built in 1929 as a vaudeville theatre, The Bend was restored by the nonprofit organization Historic West Bend Theatre Inc. in 2020.
It hosts a wide variety of events, including stand-up comedians, theater performances, movies and concerts—even yoga sessions take place at The Bend!
The theater is housed in an impressive brick building, designed by Chicago architectural firm Graven & Mayger. (The same firm built the Fisher Theater in Detroit and the Alabama Theater in Birmingham.) Originally known as “The West Bend,” the theater had an original capacity of 825 seats. It was the fourth theater to be built in West Bend, and it’s the oldest one that still exists today.
The theater opened as Hollywood films were transitioning to synchronized sound, and the building was known for its excellent acoustics as well as an early version of air conditioning. The theater had a short run as a vaudeville venue; the singing cowboy Gene Autry even performed here for two days in 1933.
The theater’s sound was enhanced during a recent renovation with a modern sound system. Take in the ambiance of the past as you enjoy the latest acts of today.
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