Orpheum Theatre

910 Hennepin Avenue,
Minneapolis, MN 55403

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Orpheum Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opening as the Orpheum Theatre on 16th October 1921 as a vaudeville house. It went over to movies in 1927 and the name was changed to RKO Orpheum Theatre.

The Orpheum ended its run as a movie house in the mid-1970’s and has been a legitimate theater ever since.

Renovated in 1993, the Orpheum still showcases the best touring broadway shows in the country.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 14, 2007 at 7:51 am

Patsy- the info that I have (from THSA notes) is that the Orpheum had a 3-manual Kilgen organ with twin consoles, but it was removed, probably a long time ago. The auditorium does feature an enormous crystal chandelier, “15 feet high, and weighing one ton”. The THSA is planning to visit the Orpheum and other theatres in the Twin Cities in mid-June, 2007.

williame303
williame303 on October 8, 2007 at 6:35 pm

I just attended a session of the National Trust for Historic Preservation at this theatre. And yes, it has a very odd lobby — long and narrow. As I had to catch the bus, I wasn’t able to walk around the block to get a better idea of how it all fits together. We were told in our printed material that Bob Dylan once owned this theatre. I don’t know how long or how it was used.

Ryan McGuire Grimes
Ryan McGuire Grimes on October 25, 2008 at 1:59 am

For those of you curious about the lobby, I recommend viewing the Orpheum’s Technical Specifications. The last page has a detailed floor plan of the main lobby, which faces Hennepin Avenue, and you will quickly see how the capacity of this lobby compares to the original 9th Street-facing lobby, which is now referred to as a “vestibule”, a more appropriate term for its size. The vestibule is quite awkward as it has low ceilings and its floor is severely graded to make up for the significant difference between the level of the foyer and street level.

The repositioning of the lobby adequately responds to the traffic issues when audiences arrive for a performance, but there is still a significant traffic problem when exiting. I recently attended a sold-out performance, at which I was seated toward the front on the right aisle. Ushers are positioned to prevent people from exiting onto 1st Avenue, so a majority of people go straight for the 9th Street exits (through the awkward vestibule) rather than snake back to the Hennepin Avenue entrance, which results in a pouring of people onto 9th Street due to the narrow sidewalk.

Aparofan
Aparofan on March 22, 2009 at 5:35 am

Here’s a 1997 shot of the Orpheum.

View link

DonLewis
DonLewis on October 31, 2010 at 9:47 pm

From the late 1950s a photo postcard view of the Orpheum along Gopher which is on the opposite side and up the street.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm

George Burns mentioned on his TV show (in 1954) that he played this theater.

Mike_Blakemore
Mike_Blakemore on June 25, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I assume that I have the correct Orpheum Theatre and there is not another that I do not know about in Minneapolis.

theatre
theatre on October 4, 2013 at 11:08 am

The New Hennepin theatre is shown as the current Orpheum theatre on a few sites. It is a different building allgeather. It was on 9th street and Hennipen Ave. Is it still standing, or was it replaced by the current Orpheum?

dmmaasch
dmmaasch on December 15, 2013 at 10:59 am

I managed the Orpheum Theatre at 910 Hennepin Avenue in the 1970’s. This is the second Orpheum theatre and, according to the blueprints, was built as the Junior Orpheum to the original theatre two blocks away, even though the surviving theatre is nearly 700 seats larger. I also have original blueprints of the main floor. It was originally designed, and was built as it now stands. The 9th Street vestibule was always meant to be for exiting only, it was never intended to be an entrance.

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