Orpheum and State Celebrate 90 Years with Free Open House

Hennepin Theatre Trust celebrates the 90th anniversary of the opening of the historic Orpheum and State Theatres with a free open house at both venues from 4-6 p.m. today. The family friendly event will feature historical photos, books and programs, a treasure hunt at both theatres, juggling and live music from the Stompin' Dixie Band, strolling vaudeville acts performed by participants in the Trust's SpotLight Musical Theatre Program and 1920s style refreshments. This event is free and open to the public and begins at the State Theatre (805 Hennepin Avenue, Mpls., 55402). RSVPs are appreciated at http://www.hennepintheatretrust.org/90.

Opened in 1921, the Orpheum and State Theatres have rich and varied histories as vaudeville houses, movie houses and live theatre venues. Both venues continue to host Broadway's biggest musical blockbusters. The Orpheum, which opened on October 16, included visits by more than 70,000 patrons who witnessed performances by the Marx Brothers in the first week. Originally known as the Hennepin, it was billed as the largest vaudeville house in the country at the time.

At the State, which opened February 5, the opening night included the silent film "Mama's Affair" starring Constance Tallmadge, a travelogue and newsreel. One Minneapolis newspaper columnist described the theatre as "a gilded pleasure palace, dedicated to the Hollywood dreams that captured America's heart in the roaring ‘20s." They were both extensively remodeled and re-opened as live theatre venues in the early 1990s and continue to host a variety of eclectic performances from touring Broadway shows to comedy, dance, music and speakers.

HENNEPIN THEATRE TRUST, non-profit owner of the historic Orpheum, State, Pantages and the newly developed New Century Theatres, is devoted to enriching the vibrant cultural atmosphere of the Twin Cities. The Trust's activities include Broadway touring productions and the related Broadway Confidential series, concerts, comedy, speakers and other variety entertainment plus educational initiatives including the SpotLight Musical Theatre Program for high schools, Critical View student reviewer program, Teen Ushers, the Access Program and Kids' Night. For more information, visit HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

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