“Wet paint glistened on the staircases of the new $42 million hall at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts” in St. Paul, Minnesota, writes Rohan Preston in Saturday’s (2/21) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). “Opening with a gala Feb. 28, the 1,100-seat Ordway Concert Hall fulfills a promise dating to the center’s launch 30 years ago, when money issues forced the founders to scale back their ambitions. Coupled with its 1,900-seat Music Theater, the Ordway now packs a one-two punch that should bring more events to the capital city…. The new hall—which replaces the 306-seat McKnight Theatre—will serve as home for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. That frees up the main stage for locally produced Broadway-style shows … or longer runs by the Minnesota Opera…. Built for $46 million, the Ordway was an immediate hit when it opened on Jan. 1, 1985…. However, the Ordway’s principal users … competed for time on the main stage.” For the new project, the city committed $3 million, the state $20 million, and “private donors made up the rest. In all, more than $83 million was raised…. How the Ordway resolved its challenges … is already being studied as a national model.”

Posted February 25, 2015

Pictured: The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is home to the new 1,100-seat Ordway Concert Hall. Across the street is Rice Park. Photo by Jim Gehrz