2 cinemas in Minneapolis set to reopen for the first time since the start of the pandemic


The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis will reopen Thursday for its first show since the start of the pandemic. (FOX 9)

On Thursday, two theaters in Minneapolis once again welcome audiences for the first shows since the start of the pandemic.

The Guthrie Theater and the Orpheum Theater have now been closed for over 18 months. When the stages darkened as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Minnesota in March 2020, no one had a clue that they would end up shutting down for more than a year and a half.

“We were thinking maybe two weeks at the most,” said John Engebretson, who was lining up for tickets on Wednesday.

John and his mother, Allison Engebretson, come from a family of theater enthusiasts, and this hiatus has been too long.

“We were just talking about it, it was ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in November 2019,” Allison recalls of the last show they saw.

“We had a show right before the pandemic hit and then it all stopped,” said Dale Stark of the Hennepin Theater Trust.

The Orpheum lifts the curtain Thursday after 18 months of rehiring staff and a whole bunch of job rescheduling.

“It’s like a giant puzzle, so it’s not just our theater, it’s theaters across the country and then it shows across the country,” Stark added.

Across downtown, the famous Guthrie Theater also reopens Thursday with a touring production and the same last-minute run to put all of those things in place.

The Guthrie requires proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test for all guests of all ages. Orpheum also requires vaccination for ages 12 and over; children under 12 won’t need anything. Both theaters require masks for everyone.

“It takes a lot of pride and dedication, and it’s all up to you,” Stark added.

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