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LGBTQIA+ History on Hennepin

Fred Krohn

Fred Krohn in a black jacket and tartan red and green tie standing in the balcony of the Pantages Theatre with the stage and blue curtain in the background.

Fred Krohn. Photo courtesy of Fred Krohn.

For more than fifty years, Fred Krohn has been a leader in the performing arts industry. Fred started in concert promotion and theater management in the 1970s while still a student at Carleton College. Fred earned a law degree from the University of Minnesota. Fred’s passion for music and theater led him to a career that transformed Minneapolis’ Hennepin Avenue into a vibrant theatre district.

Fred played a pivotal role in preserving the Hennepin Avenue theaters and continued spearheading the effort to save and restore the State Theatre. The multi-week sellout run of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, starring Donny Osmond in 1992, and other promotions at the State Theatre led the City of Minneapolis to finance a complete restoration of the Orpheum Theatre and award the management of both theaters to Fred’s company, Historic Theatre Group. Fred reopened the Orpheum in 1993 with one of the first engagements of the Cameron Macintosh blockbuster, MISS SAIGON.

Fred led the negotiations with Disney to host the world premiere of THE LION KING, which was the most successful Broadway show in history. Fred attracted other U.S. and world premieres to the Orpheum Theatre, including Julie Andrews in VICTOR, VICTORIA and Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

In 2002, Fred worked with Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Tom Hoch to convince the City of Minneapolis to save and refurbish Hennepin Avenue’s 1,000-seat Pantages Theatre, completing the Hennepin Theatre District.

As president, general manager, and co-owner of Historic Theatre Group, Fred managed three historic theaters, State Theatre, Orpheum Theatre and Pantages Theatre. Fred presented hundreds of Broadway shows and concerts by entertainers from a virtual Who’s Who of multi-generations and genres, ushering in a lively new era of theatrical entertainment in downtown Minneapolis.

Fred retired in 2018 and has traveled to all seven continents. Fred has supported organizations working to save the world’s wild creatures, including Kenya’s Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for elephants and rhinos and China’s Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda.

See all featured leaders for LGBTQIA+ History on Hennepin.