Ordway's McKnight Theatre set to be demolished this summer


St. Paul's Ordway Center for the Performing Arts announced Thursday that its McKnight Theatre will be demolished this summer to make way for a much larger facility, the Star Tribune reports.

The new facility, which will be a 1,100-seat concert hall (artist's rendering, above) and primary home of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, more than triples the size of the 306-seat McKnight Theatre.

The $79 million project includes $40 million for construction, $7 million in transition costs and a $32 million endowment to cover operating costs.

The concert hall, designed by HGA Architects, has a circular design including seats behind the musicians.

The last play being staged at McKnight Theatre is "The Light in the Piazza," which ends its run Sunday.

Before the facility is torn down, however, there will be one final celebratory concert on April 28.

The Pioneer Press reports that the "Night of a Million Stars" concert will feature several performers who previously played the McKnight, including Christina Baldwin ("Grey Gardens"), Dieter Bierbrauer ("Company") and Erin Schwab ("Broadway Songbook Series")

The new concert hall is due to open in spring 2015.

The announcement of the demolition of the McKnight Theatre comes a few days after the SPCO's musicians rejected the latest offer from management.

The offer from management came after a recent intervention in the lockout by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. The musicians submitted a counteroffer a few days later.

The SPCO musicians have been locked out since Oct. 21. Meanwhile, the lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra's musicians hit the six-month mark on Monday.

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