PABST GERMAN STOCK COMPANY. See PABST STADT THEATER.
PABST STADT THEATER. The Pabst Stadt Theater ( Milwaukee, Wisconsin), also known as the Pabst German Stock Company, was consolidated in 1890 from the Heinrich Kurz German Pabst Theater. The earlier company and theatre was purchased in 1889 by brewer Captain Frederick Pabst, who intended to provide the German company with a new home. Pabst refurbished the Grand Opera House (built in 1871 by Jacob Nunnemacher at 144 East Wells) and opened it on September 17, 1890, with a production of Goethe Egmont. That theatre burned down in 1895 and a larger proscenium theatre was built on the site by Pabst's architect Otto Strack. The gala opening was on November 10, 1895, with a peformance of Friedrich Schiller Kabale und Liebe, following a preview production of the farce Zwei Wappaen by Gustav Kadelburg and Oskar Blumenthal on November 9.
German-language production in Milwaukee had been an uninterrupted tradition since 1850, due to a large German immigrant population and the recognized need to continue the culture of central Europe. When the Pabst opened in 1890, Milwaukee had been accorded the official title of America's "most foreign city" because of the large Germanic population, 72 percent of 285,000 in 1900. German immigrants and their descendants had seen the need to maintain their German culture in the city, lovingly termed "Deutsch-Athen" (German-Athens). The Pabst represents both the zenith of German theatre in Milwaukee and the beginning of its decline, as third- and fourth-generation Germans abandoned the language and as World War I generated opposition to German productions.
Pabst had long been a patron of the German theatre and other arts in Milwaukee and entrusted the company to the management of a number of actor-directors, beginning with Leon Wachsner and Ferdinand Welb. Wachsner, Welb, and Julius Richard had managed the Kurz theatre from 1884 to 1890; the purchase and