Fitzgerald Theater

The Fitzgerald Theater is the oldest active theatre in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and the home of American Public Media's Live from Here (formerly A Prairie Home Companion).[2] It was one of many theaters built by the Shubert Theatre Corporation, and was initially named the Sam S. Shubert Theater.[3] It was designed by the noted Chicago architectural firm of Marshall and Fox, architects of several theaters for the Shuberts.[2] In 1933, it became a movie outlet known as the World Theater.[4] The space was purchased by Minnesota Public Radio in 1980, restored with a stage in 1986 as a site for Prairie Home, and renamed in 1994 after St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald.[2]

Fitzgerald Theater
Fitzgerald Theater exterior
The Fitzgerald Theater illuminated at night
Address10 East Exchange Street
Saint Paul, Minnesota
United States
Coordinates44°56′56″N 93°05′50″W / 44.94889°N 93.09722°W / 44.94889; -93.09722
OwnerFirst Avenue
ArchitectMarshall and Fox
Sam S. Shubert Theater and Shubert Building
Fitzgerald Theater is located in Minnesota
Fitzgerald Theater
Fitzgerald Theater is located in the United States
Fitzgerald Theater
Location10 East Exchange Street and 488-494 Wabasha Street North
Coordinates44°56′56″N 93°5′50″W / 44.94889°N 93.09722°W / 44.94889; -93.09722
NRHP reference No.84004140[1]
Added to NRHPAugust 20, 1984

On November 4, 2002, the theater was the site of a memorable election-eve debate between United States Senate candidates Norm Coleman (previously mayor of St. Paul) and Walter Mondale (formerly a U.S. Vice President) and moderated by Gary Eichten of MPR and Paul Magers of local television station KARE. Tension was heightened at the time because Mondale stepped in as a candidate at the last minute after the death of Paul Wellstone, who had been running for re-election.[5][6]

In 2005, the theater was used for filming the Prairie Home Companion movie directed by Robert Altman.[2] While a certain level of realism is added by using the normal venue for the show, the regular equipment was eschewed in favor of sets designed for the movie. Because the theater is a small building, other theaters in the region were also scouted prior to filming, just in case the Fitzgerald was not big enough, but eventually it was determined to be adequate for the film's needs.[7]

In March 2019 Twin Cities venue operator, First Avenue, purchased The Fitzgerald Theater from MPR.[8]

The theater has a theatre organ, made by Wurlitzer.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d "About the Fitzgerald Theater". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
  3. ^ Nord, Mary Ann (2003). The National Register of Historic Places in Minnesota. Minnesota Historical Society. ISBN 0-87351-448-3.
  4. ^ "Sam S. Schubert Theatre - National Register of Historic Places registration form" (PDF). Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  5. ^ Wilgoren, Jodi (31 October 2002). "THE 2002 CAMPAIGN: THE SENATE; MONDALE ACCEPTS PARTY CALL TO RUN IN MINNESOTA RACE". The New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  6. ^ "MPR: Coleman, Mondale debate on eve of election". Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  7. ^ "A Prairie Home Companion (2006) - Trivia". Internet Movie Database. 9 June 2006. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "The Fitzgerald Theater".

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