Renovations continue on the former Théâtre du Léman, the stage area should be done in early 2023


The cast of ‘Big Fish: The Musical’ perform an energetic dance number during a rehearsal session.

The curtain could rise on another new venture in the former Geneva Theater building early next year.

Renovations are currently being completed in auditoriums one and two of the former Geneva Theater building, 244 Broad in Lake Geneva.

When completed, the building area will be known as “Geneva Stage” and will feature live music, community performances, acting classes, plays, silent and classic films, and business presentations.

Members of the Lake Geneva City Council unanimously approved a specific implementation plan on January 24 to allow representatives of Burlington’s Win Properties LLC to renovate the former theater building for an indoor commercial entertainment facility and an outdoor commercial entertainment land use.

Auditoriums Three and Four were renovated earlier this year and transformed into the Geneva Tap House, which features 50 self-pouring taps where patrons can sample locally-made beers, wines and hard seltzer.

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Shad Branen, co-owner of Win Properties LLC, said the “Geneva Stage” portion of the building is expected to be completed early next year, but no opening date has been confirmed at this time.

A new “Geneva Stage” sign is being prepared to be installed on the former Geneva Theater building, 244 Broad St.

“We don’t have a firm opening date, but it should be early 2023,” he said.

Branen said the project was delayed due to construction and supply chain issues.

“We just fell behind with construction and access to equipment, but things are progressing,” Branen said. “We’re installing some of the catering equipment. Most of the heavy work is done now, so we’re only working on the details and other interior work.”

Branen said that due to the delays, some of the events scheduled to be held at “Geneva Stage” have been postponed.

“We had a calendar of events. We had to postpone a number of them,” Branen said. “So the original plan was to open earlier, but we’ve just had to reschedule a lot of these events. Soon we’ll start setting these dates. We just want to make sure we don’t have to reschedule any more events. .”

Representatives of Racine’s Dairyland Theater Organ Society are restoring a “Style H” Wurlitzer pipe organ for the “Geneva Stage”.

The organ is intended to be used for concerts and silent films. Branen said the “Geneva Stage” will also have the theater’s retractable movie screen, which will be used for silent and classic films.

“The goal of the ‘Geneva Stage’ is that it’s a live venue,” Branen said. “But the organ and retractable screen provide plenty of possibilities for a variety of programs and presentations.”

Branen said he looks forward to the “Geneva Scene” being completed and open to the public.

“It’s falling into place. It’s going to be a beautiful setup not just because of the organ, but overall,” Branen said. “This is how it was originally built, going back to the original roots of the Geneva Theater and its stage.”

The Théâtre de Genève opened in 1928 and has hosted artists such as Will Rogers and the Marx Brothers.

After being closed for about 10 years, Branen renovated the building and reopened it as a movie theater in March 2017.

Branen decided to turn the building from a movie theater into an entertainment venue due to how the movie theater had been negatively affected over the past few years from the coronavirus, movie streaming services, and the opening of the luxurious Emagine Geneva Lakes theater in the city of Lyon.


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