All The City's A Stage

Arts & Culture

Playwright William Shakespeare famously said, “all the world’s a stage.” In Milwaukee, any street or venue can become a stage for the city's first-class performing arts! The fine arts are leaving the theater and hitting the streets for exciting, underground performances.

From fall to spring at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, the Mercury Courtyard becomes Café Sopra Mare. Patrons sipping their coffee and relaxing in the courtyard are entertained with live music performances from string quartets, flute and piano duets, guitar solos, and other instrumentalists.

The Milwaukee area’s beer gardens are more than just local watering holes; they’re live music meccas. South Shore Terrace Kitchen + Beer Garden, The Landing at Hoyt Park, and Whitnall Park Beer Garden are just a few sites where beer pairs nicely with music.

Milwaukee Ballet dances in the streets with its Ballet Beat series. Throughout summer, professional dancers leave the theater to grace more unconventional venues like community centers and libraries. The free performances include traditional and contemporary dances and composers.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra also makes the Milwaukee community its concert hall with Secret Symphony performances. Past Secret Symphony venues have included Milwaukee Blacksmith, Turner Hall, and The City Center.

Where will MSO pop up next? While we wait for the next Secret Symphony, the orchestra’s MSO Mondays take place the first Monday of the month at Colectivo Coffee (colectivocoffee.com) cafés citywide. 

88Nine Radio Milwaukee provides the city’s soundtrack over the airwaves, and its 414 Live music series brings Milwaukee bands to play live at the station's performance space every Thursday.

Hip-hop royalty set up shop – and turntables – in Milwaukee at Hip-Hop Week MKE. The week simultaneously celebrates this genre’s artistry and engages the community in crucial dialogue. In the inaugural 2018 event, artists like Ghostface Killah provided mic-dropping entertainment, DJ Kool Herc led a powerful conversation, and RZA delivered a new score to a classic Kung Fu film in a live performance.
Want to find a pop-up arts event while you're in town? Click here to search upcoming events.