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Orpheum Theatre

About Orpheum Theatre:-

Originally known as the Hennepin, the Orpheum Theatre opened on Orpheum TheatreOctober 16, 1921. Located at 910 Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota the theatre was designed by the Milwaukee firm of Kirchoff & Rose and cost 1 million dollars to build. Over 70,000 guests came to watch the Marx Brothers perform during opening week.

Throughout the early 1920’s, the Orpheum was a major venue for many variety show type entertainers including Jack Benny, Burns & Allen and Fanny Brice. The best seats in the house sold for 47 cents, and children's tickets were only 9 cents. The Orpheum also featured an unheard of playroom and baby-sitting services for small children on the first floor mezzanine lobby. In the late 20’s, the Orpheum easily changed with the times and became one of the major cinema houses in Minneapolis

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Orpheum TheatreIn 1940, Gone with the Wind premiered at the Orpheum. On opening night moviegoers formed a solid line that extended out the doors, down Hennepin Avenue and around the corner onto 9th Street. For three full weeks, the theatre sold out every showing. It was one of the most successful shows ever at the theatre.

In 1988, the Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA) purchased the Orpheum Theatre for 1.4 million dollars from singer Bob Dylan and his brother. The Dylan’s had owned the theatre for four years, but were uninterested in footing the bill for much needed renovations.

The MCDA, which owns both the Historic Orpheum and State Theatres, financed a $10 million restoration and expansion of the theatre. In actuality, theatergoers paid for the restoration of the 2,600 seat showplace through a historic restoration fee on all State and Orpheum theatre tickets.

The MCDA began the renovation project by extending the stage almost 20 feet in order to accommodate the newer elaborate Broadway shows. The theatre was then decked out in deep Victorian colors to match the original design and the art deco marquee was expertly restored & reinstalled. A 15 foot high, 2,000 pound chandelier made of brass & Italian crystal was installed in the unique domed ceiling, which is really lined with over 30,000 leaves of silver. All of the other chandeliers in the house and lobbies are antiques salvaged from a 1920's theatre.

Unexpected architectural discoveries were made while renovating the lobby areas, including 6 Pompeiian friezes previously hidden under velour curtains and fake window grids and even a false wall. The mural on the ceiling above the stage was added after the discovery of a black & white photo of the original theatre. The restored Orpheum theatre reopened in 1993. The first concert performance was by Heart and the first Broadway production was Miss Saigon.

The Orpheum is proud to have seen the origination of a number of productions, including Victor/Victoria, Beauty & the Beast and the pre-Broadway premiere of Disney's The Lion King, and the national tour of Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA.

The Orpheum seats approx 1500 on the main floor, with an additional 1100 seats in the three level balcony. It's a finely refurbished theatre, with comfortable seating and lovely decor. Both acoustics and sight lines are outstanding, although the back of the balcony still seems a long way from the action. About the only drawback is the limited lobby, which gets so crowded at intermissions of sold-out shows that many choose to stay by their seats.

While the Orpheum was, for decades, one of the most popular places for a concert, it really hit its stride after the remarkable 90’s renovation. Restored to an elegance and beauty before only imagined, the Historic Orpheum Theatre immediately became the favored stop for touring Broadway blockbusters. This elegantly restored theater successfully hosts Broadway hits and rock superstars with equal ease. Its great location in the Hennepin Theatre district and ability to attract big name shows makes the Orpheum one of the most sought-after tickets in town!

 

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