Varsity Theater

1308 4th Street SouthEast
Minneapolis, MN 55414


Imagine a venue capable of hosting everything from traditional weddings, Baroque chamber music recitals, and Shakespearian drama to modern dance performances, psychedelic folk festivals, and cutting-edge New Media trade shows---all within the space of a few days.

The Varsity Theater, a former Deco-period movie theater located ½ block west of the Loring Pasta Bar on 4th Street SE, was thoroughly refurbished less than ten years ago, and converted to a polished commercial photography studio. The tenants have recently moved on and it now stands ready to be returned to public use as an exciting and strategically located venue for theater, music, film, dance, festivals, and as a special occasion event facility operated by Jason McLean, owner of the Loring Pasta Bar and manager of Annie's Kitty Cat Klub.

McLean's original Loring Café/Bar, and the Loring Playhouse were widely credited as a re-vitalizing force upon a commercial area and brought fresh life into a formerly listless neighborhood. Similarly, arts-oriented entertainment and dining destinations in close proximity should strengthen the appeal and draw of not only the Loring Pasta Bar/Kitty Cat Klub, but the whole of the emerging Dinkytown arts and entertainment district.

The Varsity Theater opened as a vaudeville showplace in 1915. The rise of movies and vaudeville's decline saw the theater's conversion to a movie house after an extensive redesign by local architecture and design firm Liebenberg & Kaplan, who had already made a name for themselves with the Uptown and Granada/Suburban World, both built in 1928. (The firm went on to build theaters all over the region.) Performing its function admirably until well into the Eighties, the Art Deco landmark's marquee went dark after a failed attempt to convert it into a nightclub in the early Nineties (although it's worth noting that Green Day played there once). Until recently, the Varsity served as an extremely well-appointed photo studio. 

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