Northrop Auditorium to reopen in April 2014

Categories: Venue Spotlight
Photo by Steve Cohen
Neil Young at Northrop in 2010
The U of M is getting back into concert hall game in about six months. The historic, 85-year-old Northrop Auditorium is set to complete renovations by April of 2014, and wrap up a three-year project that cost nearly $90 million.

Much like the proposed return of the Palace Theatre in St. Paul, this adds another Twin Cities spot for shows larger than the downtown clubs. After the renovation, Northrop's main hall is actually reducing its capacity from 4,800 to the still-impressive 2,700 -- spread over three balconies, according to Star Tribune.

The site, which has hosted lectures and poetry readings, has also been a huge part of local concert history. Bob Dylan performed there the night that Barack Obama won the 2008 election. From Andrea Swensson's review: "I was born in 1941," he said, a wavering sentimentality in his scratchy voice. "That was the year they bombed Pearl Harbor. I've been living in darkness ever since. It looks like things are going to change now." Not too long before it closed for the renovations, Neil Young performed at Northrop in 2010.
Photo by Steve Cohen
Northrop in 2010

The amount of campus life in the space is set to increase drastically as three academic departments and a Surdyk's-run cafe will occupy Northrop after it reopens. A movie theater, a larger box office, and rehearsal space have also been added.

Live entertainment begins April 4-6 with the American Ballet Theatre doing "Giselle" with a live orchestra. On the calendar so far: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, and a recreation of the Minneapolis Symphony's very first concert at the venue featuring Osmo Vänskä leading the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. The first rock concert announcements, however, are still forthcoming.

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