Since the Wisconsin Union Theater’s beginnings during the Great Depression, an impressive list of musicians, actors and politicians have taken the stage. Many of these famous faces can still be found hanging around in the theater’s Winkler Lounge, the basement lobby. Your memory is correct — among the memorabilia is a photo of a very young Yo-Yo Ma, internationally renowned cellist, and a brochure featuring American jazz musician Louis Armstrong.
Over the years, the Wisconsin Union Theater has hosted a veritable legion of legends including jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, classical guitarist Andrés Segovia, Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, U.S. President John F. Kennedy, civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., the Trapp Family Singers of Sound of Music fame, writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr., and poet Robert Frost.
Legend has it that there are even a few patrons who hang around the Wisconsin Union Theater in the afterlife. Staffers leave a lone light burning at center stage each night to soothe the theater’s two ghosts, a construction worker and a percussionist who died tragically in separate incidents.
This season, the Wisconsin Union Theater has a variety of great acts lined up, from World Stage performers to dance ensembles to a travel adventure film series. Visit www.uniontheater.wisc.edu for a full schedule.