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Hennepin Arts wraps up an outstanding Broadway season, featuring the premieres of popular shows, returning favorites and the launch of two national tours

The 2023-2024 season for Hennepin Arts generated over $68 million in total local economic impact, underscoring the organization's vital role in the community

MINNEAPOLIS (June 14, 2024) — Last month, Hennepin Arts’ 2023-2024 Bank of America Broadway on Hennepin season came to a close with the touring Broadway production of the musical MJ at the historic Orpheum Theatre. Over the course of 14 weeks of Broadway shows, this past season drew nearly 270,000 theatregoers to the Hennepin Theatre District. This surge of visitors not only enhances the liveliness of the Hennepin Theatre District but also generates a ripple effect that extends throughout Minneapolis and the entire state.

The 2023-2024 season included a five-week engagement of Disney’s The Lion King, two-week runs of MJ the Musical and Disney’s Aladdin, and week-long engagements of Funny Girl, Mrs. Doubtfire, Company, Mamma Mia! and the national tour launches of Girl From The North Country and Clue. It is estimated that these engagements had a collective economic impact of more than $68.1 million.

“Broadway shows continue to be a powerful driver of the downtown economy,” said Todd Duesing, president and CEO of Hennepin Arts. “In driving the downtown and regional economy, tours stand as a formidable force,” stated Duesing. “Through our commitment to showcasing Broadway's finest in the heart of the Hennepin Theatre District, we ignite an economic engine whose impact extends far beyond our stages, extending our reach across the city and throughout Minnesota.” Duesing said Hennepin Arts’ diverse programming helps cultivate a shared love for the performing arts, fostering connections and enriching lives. “As a prominent catalyst, we take pride in our role in invigorating downtown Minneapolis, catalyzing local commerce, job creation and fueling the robust economic growth of the state."

At the beginning of the season, Hennepin Arts presented the national tour launch of the Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical Girl From The North Country at the Orpheum Theatre. The musical, based on the music by Bob Dylan, marked a significant moment for both the venue and the state as Bob Dylan is from Minnesota and once owned the historic theatre. This not only highlighted the importance of Minneapolis as a cultural hub but also underscored its ability to attract and host major touring Broadway productions. In the coming season, Hennepin Arts will host the launch of the national tour of Parade and the pre-Broadway production of the new musical Purple Rain.

Hennepin Arts continued to solidify its reputation as a premier destination for national tour launches, exemplified by the uproarious murder mystery comedy Clue. Inspired by the beloved Hasbro board game and adapted from the cult favorite film, Clue made its national tour debut in Minneapolis, captivating audiences with its hilarious antics and engaging storyline. Showcasing unforgettable experiences and eliciting laughter from start to finish, Clue's successful launch in Minneapolis further cemented the city's standing as a lively artistic destination.

As Disney’s The Lion King roared into Minneapolis for a smashing five-week engagement, it commemorated its 22nd anniversary on tour, marking a momentous occasion in its celebrated history. The production continued to dazzle audiences with its unparalleled artistry and storytelling. Returning to its "home" at Minneapolis' Orpheum Theatre, where it played its pre-Broadway world premiere run in 1997, The Lion King enthralled capacity houses throughout its engagement, captivating audiences with its timeless tale and mesmerizing performances.

During its run, the production offered a sensory-friendly performance in collaboration with Disney Theatrical Group and Fraser, Minnesota's largest provider of autism services. This initiative, emphasizing inclusivity, provided a supportive environment for autistic individuals and individuals with sensory differences, cognitive or developmental disabilities, and those who benefit from a relaxed theater environment along with their families and caregivers. With modifications like low house lights, no strobe lighting and softened sounds, the performance ensured an inclusive and welcoming experience, highlighting the enduring magic of live storytelling for all.

“We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy live theater," said Duesing, emphasizing the organization's commitment to creating inclusive spaces and meaningful connections through the power of storytelling but highlighted that these achievements encompass much more. “Our achievements extend beyond the dazzling lights of Broadway performances. The recent launch of our new brand represents a pivotal moment in our organization's history, signaling our commitment to innovation and growth marking the next chapter in downtown’s revitalization,” said Duesing.

“Bank of America’s partnership with Hennepin Arts is forged in a shared commitment to build and sustain the arts in our community,” said Lucas Giambelluca, president of Bank of America Twin Cities. “Beyond just enriching shared cultural experiences; it's about recognizing how the arts can transform lives and invigorate our local economy. By supporting these productions, we not only entertain but also draw visitors who support local businesses, ensuring our vibrant theater scene thrives culturally and economically.”

The economic impact is based on analysis by The Broadway League®, the national trade association for the Broadway industry. This impact is generated by tourism dollars spent at hotels, local restaurants, parking and more. Additionally, each Broadway tour visiting Minneapolis will typically employ nearly 100 local stagehands, musicians, hair and wardrobe professionals and merchandise sellers.

Hennepin Arts drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and the Dudley Riggs Theatre light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinArts.org.

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 69 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,800 retail financial centers, approximately 15,000 ATMs (automated teller machines) and award-winning digital banking with approximately 57 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 4 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BAC).

Broadway Across America (BAA) is part of the John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com, The Broadway Channel, BroadwayBox.com and Group Sales Box Office. Led by 18-time Tony-winning theater producer John Gore (Owner & CEO), BAA is the foremost presenter of first-class touring productions in North America, operating in 48 markets with over 400,000 subscribers. Presentations include Disney’s The Lion King, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, The Phantom of the Opera and Hamilton. Current and past productions include Ain’t Too Proud, Beautiful, Cats, Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Mean Girls, Moulin Rouge! and To Kill a Mockingbird.

This activity is made possible by voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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Dale B. Stark Director of Marketing and Communications dale.stark@HennepinArts.org 612-562-5200

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