By Raymond Neupert/South Metro Observer

WAUSAU, Wis. – The Grand Theater in Wausau could be attracting bigger shows this year thanks to new rankings from an industry group.

The Pollstar group recently ranked the Grand as the 143rd best venue in the world in 2017, up from 174th place last year. That ranking also places the Grand as the 5th best theater venue with 1,300 seats or fewer in the world.

Pollstar is the worldwide trade publication for the concert and performing arts industry and 2016 marks the first time The Grand had been placed on their list.

Performing Arts Foundation director Sean Wright says those rankings have certainly attracted attention, not just from proud Wausau residents and theater-goers, but around the country.

“It increased the phone calls we got from some promoters who wanted to bring shows here or an agent who would be more likely to place a higher caliber artist into the space,” Wright said.

The Grand sold out 18 shows in 2017, and Wright says that also helps bring in more and better talent.

“They see that people are willing and able to turn out and see the best in arts and entertainment at the Grand,” Wright noted.

The new rankings place the Grand alongside other prestigious venues like the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN and the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.

The Performing Arts Foundation is already hard at work getting the 2018 season booked, and Wright says people should continue to expect excellent shows in Wausau.

“This recognition and moving up those charts is just going to continue to provide those opportunities for us, so we’re excited about what the future holds.”

That booking includes the 10×10 program which brings 10 shows to the Grand each year for just $10 a ticket.

“We’ve got three confirmed shows coming up and possibly a few more,” Wright said. “The ranking just helps us open even more doors with artists and agents.”

If you want to find out more about The Grand Theater or buy tickets, you can head to their website at, or call the PAF at 715-842-0988.