Oct 16, 1921: Originally known as the Hennepin, the Orpheum Theatre opens to present live vaudeville acts. The theatre was designed by the Milwaukee firm of Kirchoff & Rose and cost $1 million to build. Among the performers on the first playbill were the Marx Brothers; over 70,000 guests attended the opening week run. The Orpheum becomes a major outlet for such vaudeville entertainers as Jack Benny, Burns & Allen and Fanny Brice. The best seats in the house sold for 47 cents, and children's tickets were 9 cents. The Orpheum featured a playroom and day-care services for small children on the first floor mezzanine lobby.
1927: As vaudeville declined, the Orpheum became one of the major cinema houses in Minneapolis.
1940: Gone with the Wind premiers at the Orpheum. On opening night moviegoers form a solid line that extends out the doors, down Hennepin and around the corner onto 9th St. For three full weeks, the theatre is sold out every showing.
1959: Ted Mann purchases the Orpheum and brings back some Broadway touring productions.
1988: The Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA) purchases the Orpheum for $1.4 million from singer Bob Dylan and his brother, who had owned the theatre for four years.
1993: Renovation and restoration begins. The stage was extended almost 20 feet in order to accommodate the most elaborate of the new Broadway productions. The theatre was restored in deep Victorian colors to match that of the original design. The art deco marquee was restored & reinstalled. Unexpected architectural discoveries were made while renovating the lobby areas, including 6 Pompeiian friezes previously hidden under velour curtains and fake windows grids and 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. A 15 foot high, 2,000 pound chandelier made of brass & Italian crystal dominates the domed ceiling, which is lined with over 30,000 leaves of silver. All other chandeliers in the house and lobbies are antiques salvaged from 1920's theatre. The renovation cost was over $10 million.
The first concert performance was by Heart in Dec. 1993. The first Broadway production was Miss Saigon in Jan. 1994. The Orpheum has 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.
Thursday, Nov 5, 2020 at 6:30pm Central Time
Saturday, Nov 14, 2020 at 9:00am Canada Central Time
VIrtual Platform via Zoom
Tuesday, Nov 17, 2020 at 10:00am