History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Businesses - Bars and Clubs

Riviera Show Lounge
Location: 183 S. 2nd Street


June 30, 1972

Male/ female



Riviera Show Lounge, formerly the Nite Beat, had its grand opening on June 30, 1972. The first production was called "The Dolly Review", presenting a cast of local female impersonators. According to an article in GPU News, "The show consisted of eleven numbers in pantomime and was produced by "Norma Jean" Baker with choreography by Mel Powers. The show featured Winnie Storm, Mel Powers, Jerry Powell, Bill, Andretta, and Mother Chris with Norbert, Tom, Frank and Donnie as chorus boys... The production was lavishly costumed and of excellent quality."

The Lounge promised to feature an entirely new production weekly, with performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Future ads headlined "A.G.C. & the Riviera Show Lounge present new shows weekly".

(In 1974 we have seen indications that another bar, named "Dionysus", existed in this location; so it appears the Riviera Show Lounge did not exist for more than a year or two. However, we have no information about the "Dionysus" bar at all.)

More information about this business is welcomed from anyone who can contribute it.


Recollections: The following are recollections of others who have been kind enough to submit their personal memories to the webmaster. You are welcome to do the same!

    Brings back so many wonderful memories! Mel & Jerry were fabulous people. Milwaukee had a very active and proactive drag community and they were the definitive leaders, not to mention MaMa Ray. They did countless fund raisers for H.I.T. as well as many other causes. I remember when some members of the gay sports community were reluctant to having them appear in the awards banquets and going to bat for them......"they are good enough to raise money for you, they belong in the awards ceremonies."

    Kenneth Kurtz, via Facebook (2018)



Opening information
GPU News, August 1972

A.G.C. and Lounge shows for November 1972:
Sweet Charity; Pajama Game; Variety Show; and Kismet
GPU News, November 1972

Credits: contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Special thanks to Jamie Taylor for contributing info from his
'History of Gay Milwaukee' Facebook group.
Last updated: September-2018.

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