Lights, Camera, Action: Over-the-top New Berlin theater-themed home on the market for $424,900

Posted at 9:19 AM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 10:19:38-05

NEW BERLIN — From the outside, a New Berlin home sale looks pretty normal. But inside it's lights, camera, action. It's a theater-themed home that is just as over-the-top as your favorite outrageous musical.

The home on 3240 S. Hickory Rd is listed for $424,900. It's listed as having 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and 2,514 square feet of space. The formal home listing doesn't include what makes this home so unique, though.

Bar and Restaurant
The bar and lounge area is right next to the theater.

Walk down a narrow spiral staircase and through the hallway to enter the Flicker Liquor Emporium. It's a vintage style theater with a restaurant and bar. The bar resembles a classy cocktail bar from the mid-20th century. The restaurant portion is reminiscent of an old-school dimly lit Italian restaurant Frank Sinatra probably would have loved to dine at.

There are tons of show posters, images of Hollywood titans, two vintage film projects, and a mid-century ticket booth.

Theater-Themed Home
Two vintage film projectors from the Miller Brewing factory. They were used to show employees on-boarding and training videos.

John Dolphin, the owner, intends to sell the home as is. He wants to leave everything in the home for the next person to enjoy.

“I’d love to have somebody who appreciates all the paraphernalia that I have around to take advantage of and doesn't have to buy it themselves," he said.

The 87-year-old has been involved with theater all of his life. He owned a set design company and worked in almost every theater in Wisconsin from high schools to professional playhouses. That's where the majority of his props came from. His company created sets, installed curtains, and did light design.

"And I always ask somebody when I meet them, 'where did you go to high school?' Because I probably did the curtain, and I can remember if it was a red curtain, a blue curtain, or a gold curtain," he said.

John Dolphin
John Dolphin stands in the living room of the theater-themed home he built in 1968.

“Well, I’m in the theater. I’ve been putzing in the theater since I was 14 and a half years old," Dolphin said.

He built the home in 1968 and has lived there ever since. However, he said it's time to move on from this theater-themed home. He wants a change of scenery.

“I want to go someplace where I don’t ever have to wear a coat," Dolphin said.

Theater-Themed Home
The outside of this theater-themed home in New Berlin.

Like Bangkok, Thailand. He has a friend who owns a condo there. He plans to live with them in the Thailand capital.

“I hope I’m in Bangkok in less than a year," Dolphin said.

It’s not just the downstairs that’s full of theater decorations. Upstairs is equally eclectic with statues, wall decor, old lights, and posters. The master bedroom is no different either. The kitchen looks like it has been untouched since the 1960s. The table is the original from when the home was first built. The curtains aren't from the 60s, but they create a 60s vibe.

The kitchen inside the theater-themed home. The table is the original one put inside the home when it was built in 1968.

Dolphin never wanted to have a typical home. He wanted his home to reflect his passions.

"It's unique to come down to see a theater in a theater from a person that's doing the theater rather than just come down and just have a shuffleboard or pool table or whatever it is."

To have a pool table would be disingenuous to his character.

The house just hit the market so the curtain hasn’t closed on this theater-themed home yet, but Dolphin hopes to exit the stage soon. It's a bittersweet moment.

"I don't have to leave, but I'm sad that I will leave. And I'll have memories. And I'm not taking anything with me except little trinkets, or something that I can reminded. But I have a very good memory, and it is time to - I mean 88 is - people don't think I should be even walking at that age, but I am," Dolphin said.

You can find the listing here.