NorShor Theatre Posts

Hot Orpheum Centennial Action

Photos from Thursday night at the NorShor, courtesy of the On 3 Design photo booth.

The NorShor Theatre’s Mighty Tower

In preparation for the events this week honoring the Orpheum Theatre’s centennial at the NorShor, Tony Dierckins put together a slide show with some fantastic historical photographs. You can see the whole thing on Saturday — it’ll be looping in the NorShor’s balcony theater — but here’s one of my favorite images:

This is the tower that used to be part of the theater’s marquee. You’ve probably seen photos of it from the other direction, but this one uniquely looks out over the lake. The tower stood 65 feet above the theater, weighed over 300 tons, and was completely sheathed in porcelain. It used 3,000 lights and was said to be visible from 60 miles away.

NorShor Centennial Celebration

There are three big events coming up to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the opening of the Orpheum Theatre, which was remodeled to become the NorShor in 1941.

Thursday, Aug. 19 | 7pm
This is a vaudeville-themed event featuring Tangier 57 in the mezzanine lobby, the North Shore Big Band on the main stage and a photo documentary on the history of the Orpheum/NorShor by Tony Dierckins. There will be complimentary champagne, live music, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets are $100 per person and proceeds benefit the NorShor restoration project.

Saturday, August 21 | noon
This is an open house with a wide variety of free entertainment, including performances by the Arrowhead Chorale, Over the Top Dance Co, Spin Collective, Duluth Playhouse Children’s Theater, Aurora Baer, Minnesota Ballet, DJ Path Annu and more.

Saturday, August 21 | 8 p.m.
This is a night of live music featuring some of Duluth’s hottest bands, including Modern Gentlemen, Poetry Motel, the Fontanelles, the Little Black Books, the Moon is Down, Cars & Trucks, Batteries and the Acceleratii. This event has a $5 cover charge.

The NorShor is back! It’s now under the management of the Duluth Playhouse, with tons of help from artists, businesses and community members who want to see it succeed. Watch norshortheatre.com for info about future shows, including the return of the Boogieman Project Halloween bash on Oct. 30.

New York Times: Theater of the Variegated

Map of Downtown from "36 Hours in Duluth" New York Times 8.05.05

“36 Hours in Duluth, Minn”
New York Times, Aug. 5, 2005

9) Theater of the Variegated

You never know what to expect at the Historic NorShor Theater (211 East Superior Street, 218-733-0072), an oasis of culture in a scruffy section of downtown. Opened as the Orpheum in 1910 and later remodeled in Art Deco style, the timeworn Norshor is part movie theater, part concert hall, part performance space, part art exhibit hall and part whatever whim strikes the management. One July weekend featured a showcase of local and Twin Cities bands; the next included all-day showings of “Dr. Strangelove.”

More NorShor Details

I was going to post this as a response in a previous thread, but made it a post instead…

There are questions about the sale price.  Legitimate questions, $2.6 million is a lot of money.  Between the three buildings, there is a lot of value.  This is both a fair price and makes economic sense for the city.  I’ll share our value assessment with you.

First, we have examined the sq ft comps in the neighborhood.  There is 40k sq ft of commercial / office space in the Temple and Annex space.  The average per sq ft cost for sale in old downtown is $37.75 based on building sales of Coney Island Bldg and Gardner Hotel (and other area building sales).  I think we could make a strong case that the Temple is a much more valuable property than those, but using this standard, the value of the commercial and office space would be $1.5 million.

NorShor and Temple Opera Block

On Saturday Eric Ringsred signed a purchase agreement to sell the Temple Opera Building, NorShor Theatre, and NorShor Annex to DEDA for $2.6 million.  The sale is contingent on approval by DEDA and the Council.  It’s my intent to make the NorShor the crown jewel of the downtown, to make it the center of a regional arts and entertainment district.

There is a lot of discussion on this, let me fill in with a few thoughts:

Going Through Old Files

Circa 2003.

NorShor Centennial

NorShorMarqueeActionA post from Feb. 3 about the Ripsaw’s history featured some comments about the NorShor Theatre’s history, which led to an interesting point:

The NorShor Theater turns 100 this year.

And so I put this question to PDD’s history detectives: What is the exact date the NorShor–then the Orpheum Theatre–first opened its doors?

UPDATE: As Gea reports, the magic date is Aug. 22, 1910.

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