MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The curtain will soon rise again at a renowned Minnesota theater. Performances have been waiting in the wings at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis for 18 months, and that’s cost it around $28 million in lost revenue.

Whether it’s the soul of Ma Rainey or the saltiness of Scrooge, the Guthrie Theater is where audiences watch, listen and imagine. However, even the playwrights couldn’t have predicted the story that unfolded this last year-and-a-half.

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James Haskins, the theater’s managing director, said it’s been a long 18 months. When the pandemic hit, the theater had to hit the lights and close down, resulting in significant financial losses.

“It’s an estimated $28 million in revenue that we lost,” he said.

A Paycheck Protection Program loan helped for a while, but the Guthrie eventually had to lay off nearly 80% of its staff. Haskins says the process was painful for everyone in the organization.

Through the pain, some donors stayed loyal and the theater got $7 million in federal support.

“Really was the lifeline to get us to this point that we are now able to rebuild,” Haskins said.

Still, more help is needed.

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“The contributed revenue is always going to be greatly appreciated, but what I would love is just to get people back inside the theater. People purchasing tickets and coming together.”

The hope is that patrons and the money will start flowing back into the theater on Sept. 30 for the first show in a year-and-a-half
Haskins says whenever patrons feel ready, the theatre will be there to welcome them.

“We can have them walk through our doors and thank them for that…what they have done to help keep the theatre afloat during the most challenging times that any of us will experience, knock on wood,” Haskins said.

The first show will be “What the Constitution Means to Me” which runs through next month. Then “A Christmas Carol” will be back.

Masks and proof of a COVID-19 test or vaccination will be required.

Show and ticket information can be found here. To apply for a job at the Guthrie, click here.

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Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield