Orpheum Theatre Information
Designed by Kirchoff and Rose, Orpheum Theatre started its days as a hotspot for vaudeville, with acts such as Jack Benny, George Burns and Fanny Brice performing there regularly. After the decline of vaudeville in the 1930s-1940s, the Orpheum Theatre transformed into one of Minneapolis’s major cinema houses, and also played host to famous big bands, including Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie’s orchestras.
The Orpheum was bought in 1959 by Ted Mann, owner of six other downtown Minneapolis theatres, who brought in touring productions including My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof, in addition to continuing to show movies. In 1988, the venue was purchased by the Minneapolis Community Development Agency from singer Bob Dylan and his brother, David Zimmerman, who owned the theatre at the time.
The theatre’s 1993 restoration saw a 20ft extension of the stage to accommodate Broadway shows, which involved a painstaking brick-by-brick removal of the theatre’s back wall. During this $10 million restoration, six Pompeiian friezes were discovered in the lobby, previously hidden under velour curtains, fake window grids and a false wall. Nowadays, this magnificent building is owned and operated by Hennepin Theatre Trust.