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Refurbished Northrop Auditorium reopens, wows audiences

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Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus reopened in dazzling fashion Friday night after a three-year, $88 million renovation. The theater celebrated its grand reopening with a performance of the classical ballet "Giselle," by the American Ballet Theatre.

The 85-year old performance venue underwent a dramatic transformation. The main theater, which used to seat more than 4,800 people, was shrunk to a capacity of 2,700. The top balcony, which used to slope upward toward the ceiling, was separated into three balconies that are closer to the stage, the Pioneer Press reports, which adds that the acoustics and sight lines are greatly improved.

There's also a second, smaller theater which holds 168 people, intended to be used for films, lectures and recitals. The makeover also includes a new lobby area, more restrooms, wider seats, a rehearsal space and dressing rooms, according to the Star Tribune.

About two-thirds of the $88 million cost was paid for with university funds. Another 21 percent was paid for with "HEAPR" (higher education asset preservation and renovation) funds provided by the state, and 10 percent came from private donations, according to the university.

MPR has some photos taken during the reconstruction of the theater, and a photo gallery of the finished product.

The Star Tribune has a video "walking tour" of the refurbished theater.

Two more performances of "Giselle" are scheduled; Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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