The end of 2011 marks the end of the Loring Theater, at least under its current management. Managing partner Steve Barberio posted this to the theater's website:
Friends of Loring Theater:
The Directors, LLP has decided not to renew its lease on Loring Theater (a.k.a. The Music Box Theatre) located at 1407 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. The company will cease operating in the building effective December 31, 2011.
In early 2010 we began to transform The Music Box Theatre into a modern day variety house under the building's original name Loring Theater. With the support of a group of investors, the owner of the building, a talented staff of professionals and many others we built an operating infrastructure that added a fantastic 440-seat venue back into the vibrant Twin Cities performing arts scene.
Since we opened, over 15,000 people walked through the doors and hundreds of artists performed on the stage. We are proud of our work, honored to have been stewards of the space, and grateful to all who contributed their time, talent and money to this amazing venture. Loring Theater is an amazing building in a phenomenal location and there are many, many artists who love performing on that stage. Our hope is that someone will pick up where we left off and continue to make Nicollet Avenue and 14th Street in the Loring Park Neighborhood a destination for affordable quality entertainment.
Best wishes to all for a happy and prosperous New Year.
The Directors, LLP
Back in November the Loring Theater canceled shows and cut staff in response to a lack of attendance.
The Music Box is a venue with location and parking problems. It is a great space, but off the beaten track, and has no lot immediately adjacent to the space. Minnesotans hate walking. I am guessing they loaded up with staffing overhead and couldn't make the nut every single week. It was used successfully by the MN Fringe for 2 years, but that was as part of a festival, with a crowd that liked walking, in the summer, with a couple hit shows. Longer term programming would need a hook of some kind that could overcome the natural geographic difficulties of the space. It was built before a freeway cut the neighborhood in half, so the problems weren't inherent to the space initially. But it's a dead zone now.