The next stage
Theater On Main seeking to move to Brown Street Marketplace

By Josh Perttunen - Enterprise Staff

June 5, 2014

The Theater on Main has "undergrown" its location at 25 S. Main St. in downtown
Oconomowoc, said Managing Director Kimm Mann.
Josh Perttunen/Enterprise Staff

TOWN OF OCONOMOWOC - Theater On Main is exploring a move from its location at 25 S. Main St. in downtown Oconomowoc to the Town of Oconomowoc's Brown Street Marketplace.

The possible move, which Managing Director Kimm Mann said would be more economical for the theater, was brought before the town's planning commission Monday night to see if the community theater would be allowed to operate in a B-2 district.

The commission voted that the theater would be permitted in this district, citing that zoning language neither encouraged nor discouraged a business of this nature. The next step is to come back to the commission with a site plan.

The location being eyed at the Brown Street Marketplace would be a more intimate setting with plenty of parking available for Theater on Main shows, Managing Director Kimm Mann says.
Josh Perttunen/Enterprise Staff

Mann said that the current building simply has more space than theater operations require. There are 125 seats at the downtown location, for example, when post-recession crowds have consistently been in the range of 40 to 70 people per show.

"Instead of outgrowing the building, we've been undergrowing it," he said. "We don't need a huge building downtown anymore."

Additionally, the larger location on Main Street has been expensive to heat and there is a story of the building that is being used solely for storage.

"Half the stuff in the basement we don't need," Mann said.

General Manager Sandra Manfrin said that the Brown Street Marketplace location would be a much easier space to manage.

"It will definitely solve our issues," she said.

In moving to this location, the community theater would gain a large parking lot, which Mann said could help attendance and alleviate safety concerns brought on by not having immediate parking.

Theater on Main produces four to five productions per year, in addition to having theater classes for children and community members.

Mike Herro, co-owner of Brown Street Marketplace, said that he's excited for the theater's possible move to his building.

"It will bring more energy to the mall," he said. "It was built with diversity in mind, whether it  be offices, retail space or restaurants."

Other changes at Brown Street Marketplace include a possible expansion of Ron's Cozy Corner and the addition of a gymnastics studio. These changes would be on the heels of the opening of Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the Willow Gallery.

If the theater is unable to move, Mann said that it would likely have to close.  

Email: Jperttunen@conleynet.com