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Oriental Theater

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1926, Dick and Bauer. 2230 N. Farwell Ave.
  • (Photograph by Paul J. Jakubovich, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)
  • (Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee)
  • (Photograph by Jeffrey E. Klee)

This white Moorish Revival, terra-cotta-clad theater with its copper-domed minarets is an Upper East Side landmark. The theater interior, a veritable catalog of Near Eastern and Asian design motifs, embodies the 1920s fascination with adventure and exotic places. Adorned with ornamental plaster, decorative painting, and sculpture, the interior centers on a balustrade of life-size ebony-colored lions. Larger-than-life Buddhas, with lighted rubies in their foreheads, squat in ornamental plaster niches along the auditorium walls. Richly ornamented pilasters hold huge elephant- and lion-head capitals. In 1988, the Oriental Theater was sensitively divided into a three-screen cinema. Two new auditoriums were built beneath the huge balcony, but the size of the original screen and virtually all of the historic ornamental features are intact.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Oriental Theater", [Milwaukee, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 143-143.

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