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Orpheum Theatre
Hennepin Theater
Hennepin Avenue-Minneapolis-2006-12-14.jpg
The Orpheum Theatre at night
Address 910 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, Minnesota
United States
Owner Hennepin Theatre Trust
Operator Historic Theatre Group
Capacity 2,579
Construction
Opened 1921
Reopened 1993

Orpheum Theatre is a theater located in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is one of four restored theaters on Hennepin Avenue, along with the Pantages Theatre, the State Theatre and the Shubert Theatre (now The Cowles Center).

The building opened on October 16, 1921, originally named the Hennepin Theater. The theater actually consists of two separate structures: a long, fingerlike lobby that extends back from a narrow facade along Hennepin Avenue, and the auditorium, which is set back and parallels Hawthorne Avenue. The restored lobby includes six terra cotta bas relief sculptures. The auditorium is intricately plastered, with a number of garlands, swags, medallions, and other decorations. The ceiling has a dome with 30,000 squares of aluminum leaf.

The building seats 1500 on the main floor and 1100 on the three level balcony.

Several musicals, including Victor/Victoria, The Lion King, and The 101 Dalmatians Musical premiered at the Orpheum.

In 1988, the Orpheum was sold by Bob Dylan (who owned it from 1979-1988) to the City of Minneapolis; it was renovated and reopened in 1993. In 2005, the city transferred ownership of its theaters to the Hennepin Theatre Trust.

Historic Theatre Group's original partner was Jujamcyn Productions. SFX (now Live Nation) bought Jujamcyn Productions in 2000. Live Nation sold most of its theatrical properties, including its Minneapolis operations, to Key Brand Entertainment in 2008.

1993 Renovation and reopening

After being purchased by the Minneapolis Community Development Agency from Bob Dylan and his brother David Zimmerman in 1988, the Minneapolis City Council had an interest in revitalizing Hennepin Avenue as an entertainment street. The nearby State Theatre had been renovated and reopened in 1991, but the Orpheum had a deeper stage that would allow larger sets needed for shows such as Miss Saigon, which was scheduled to open on January 14th, 1994. The city agreed to finance the renovation, issuing bonds to be paid back with a $2 surcharge on tickets for the Orpheum and State. The renovation cost $10 million dollars.

Phase 1

The first phase of renovation begun in January of 1993, and involved expanding the stage by 20 feet, adding more dressing rooms, renovating the restrooms, and making the theater handicap accessible.

Change of plans

Aesthetic improvements (cleaning the facade; restoring the lobby) were planned to be made in a second phase, but during phase 1, a terra cotta wall was found behind a plain wall in the vestibule, 85 percent intact. A laborer knocked through a layer of plain plaster and found plaster sculptural reliefs of griffins and urns.

Entertainment

  • Phish - November 26, 1994 Highlights include what was at the time the longest ever version of David Bowie (clocking in at 37:27) and the version of Slave to the Traffic Light featured on "A Live One".
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Luis Miguel - February 12, 2000
  • Crowded House - September 9, 2007
  • Diana Krall - March 15, 2002 August 7, 2015
  • Barry Manilow - February 28 - March 1, 2002
  • John Prine - September 30, 2000
  • Celtic Woman - October 22, 2005, April 5, 2006, April 17-18, 2007, April 13, 2013 (2 shows), June 13, 2017
  • Brian Wilson - September 30, 2004, October 2, 2016, November 28, 2018

Comedy

Musicals

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