Hennepin Theatre Trust closes the curtain on an exceptional Broadway season, with impact radiating across the state

September 26, 2023

The 2022-2023 season, punctuated by milestone accomplishments for the Trust, generated nearly $115 million in total local economic impact

MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 26, 2023) — As Beetlejuice concludes its run at the historic Orpheum Theatre, Hennepin Theatre Trust’s 2022-2023 Bank of America Broadway on Hennepin season comes to a close. Over the course of 20 weeks of Broadway shows, this season drew nearly 375,000 theatregoers to the Hennepin Theatre District. This influx of visitors not only strengthens the vibrancy of the Hennepin Theatre District, but it creates an impact that radiates across Minneapolis and the state.

The 2022-2023 season included a five-week engagement of Wicked, two-week runs of Les Misérables and Tina—The Tina Turner Musical, and week-long engagements of Cats, Hairspray, Tootsie, Jagged Little Pill and Beetlejuice, generating an economic impact of over $73.1 million As previously announced, the five-week, sold-out run of Hamilton, rescheduled from the 2021-2022 season, created $41.7 million in economic impact, bringing Broadway’s total impact to an estimated $114.8 million this year.

“Broadway shows continue to be a powerful driver of the downtown economy,” said Todd Duesing, president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust. “By bringing the best of Broadway to the Hennepin Theatre District, we create an economic impact that starts with our stages and is felt across the city and in every corner of the state. Our programming brings people from across Minnesota to share and experience the performing arts together. We are proud to be one of the leading organizations in driving the vitality of downtown Minneapolis and the economic growth and prosperity of the state.”

At the beginning of the season, Hennepin Theatre Trust teamed up with PNC Bank and the YMCA in the spirit of Wicked to do good for students in need across Minnesota. The initiative, titled the “For Good Project,” brought together hundreds of YMCA youth campers from across the Twin Cities metro area to stuff over 1,000 backpacks with school supplies for students in need of support, teaching lessons of goodness and friendship along the way. Of the YMCA campers, over 500 were able to later attend a matinee performance of Wicked.

On National Cat Day, in the spirit of Cats, Hennepin Theatre Trust partnered with the Animal Humane Society to highlight the virtues of giving everyone a second chance and celebrating our differences. The organizations presented the Jellicle Ball, a community-focused event that highlighted the importance of animal welfare and gave matinee visitors a chance to meet and play with a few of the Animal Humane Society’s feline friends. All of the cats from this event were adopted.

The return of Les Misérables gave Hennepin Theatre Trust the opportunity to welcome Christine Heesun Hwang to the Hennepin Theatre District playing the role of Eponine in the North American touring cast. Hwang is a Minnetonka native, former Spotlight Education student and winner of Spotlight Showcase’s Triple Threat on Hennepin award. During this time, the Trust was able to interview her on the road from Spotlight to Broadway and host a special event with WCCO-TV and the actress, putting on a fireside-chat style discussion and Q&A with donors.

The much-anticipated arrival of Hamilton welcomed Senator Amy Klobuchar to the Orpheum stage for an opening night speech that marked the significance of the show’s return to Minnesota. A member of the Hamilton cast performed a powerful rendition of the National Anthem at the Twins’ home opener, merging America’s favorite pastime with the story of America then told by America now. In support of the importance of voter registration and education, Hamilton cast members joined Spotlight Education students in the room where it happens—the Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon’s office—for a roundtable discussion to highlight the importance of voting and democracy, showcasing the arts’ position as a voice of the people and a strong driver of democracy.

Offstage, the season was punctuated by milestone developments for the Trust. It saw Hennepin Theatre Trust redeem the remaining $14 million in City-backed bonds to grant the organization the ability to purchase the Orpheum, State and Pantages theatres. Continuing the history of comedy on Hennepin Avenue, the Trust welcomed Brave New Workshop into the organization, renaming the performance space the Dudley Riggs Theatre to uphold the legacy of the troupe’s founder and inventor of improv comedy. To finish the season, Mark Nerenhausen announced his retirement from his position as President and CEO of the Trust. After a national search, Todd Duesing of Cincinnati’s Arnoff Center for the Arts and Cincinnati Music Hall was chosen to take up the torch, bringing with him a bold vision for the future of the Hennepin Theatre District.

“I am thrilled by the extraordinary Broadway season we have had,” continued Duesing. “But not only has the magic of Broadway dazzled us onstage, we have achieved landmark developments as an organization throughout. We secured ownership of our historic theatres, and in doing so we have cemented the enduring impact our venues have on the cultural landscape of our community. Broadway and the arts are alive in the Hennepin Theatre District; this is just the beginning of our renaissance.”

“The arts are the heartbeat of our city,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Broadway season isn’t just a series of shows, it’s a critical industry to help revitalize downtown. Broadway’s presence downtown makes Minneapolis a destination for theatregoers from across the region – and helps create a vibrant and welcoming place for all. Arts aren’t just an amenity, they’re a necessity to the identity of our city.”

“The arts and entertainment industry is undeniably intertwined with the success of our city,” said Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis. “Hennepin Theatre Trust brings the best of Broadway to the Hennepin Theatre District, drawing theatregoers from across the region and across the state to eat in restaurants, stay in hotels, and enjoy all that Minneapolis has to offer. When an astounding season like this comes to Minneapolis, it brings with it an impact that invigorates the entirety of downtown.”

“Bank of America is once again proud to play a role in bringing the best of Broadway to Hennepin Avenue,” said Lucas Giambelluca, president of Bank of America Twin Cities. “We believe in the transformative power of the arts and the lasting positive impact investing in the arts has on our lives. The arts invigorate our communities, and I am thrilled that we are able to support Hennepin Theatre Trust’s programming that lights up the Hennepin Theatre District and radiates across the state.”

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 Theatre Trust 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 event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance  At Bank of America, our focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors is critical to fulfilling our purpose of helping make people’s financial lives better. Our commitment to growing our business responsibly is embedded in every aspect of our company. It is demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our customers, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocate groups, such as community and environmental organizations, in order to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about, and connect with us on Twitter at @BofA_News.

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.