Old Log Theater, 5185 Meadville St, Excelsior, MN 55331

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Old Log Theater

Exterior View of the Old Log Theater
Address: 5185 Meadville Street
City/locality-
State/province
Excelsior, Minnesota
County-
State/province:
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1965
Primary Style: Rustic
Additions: Larger theater added on, converting older one to scene shop.
Major Alterations: Altered
Current Function: Theater/concert hall
Current Function: Restaurant
Other Current Function: Restaurant
Architect or source of design: Herb Bloomberg
Builder: Herb Bloomberg
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Wood
Material of Roof: Wood Shingle
Material of Foundation: Concrete
Notes: Former Owner Don Stolz was a large player in the radio and television industry in the Twin Cities.

Famous Alumni: Nick Nolte, Loni Anderson, Steve Zahn

Excelsior Hennepin County


The Old Log Theater is the oldest continually-running, professional theater in Minnesota and established itself as a significant contributor to the Twin Cities’ theatre community.

Contents

History

The Old Log Theater was first set up as a summer stock company in 1940 in Greenwood, Minnesota. The original run was thirteen weeks in length, showing thirteen different shows. The company based their shows in a wooden stable with dirt floors, giving the theater its name. Don Stolz bought the company in 1946 and assumed artistic directorship while simultaneously working in radio and television in the Twin Cities. The Theater moved to its current location next to Lake Minnetonka after it had gained some popularity in the 1950s. This was in part due to critically successful Minnesota premieres of shows such as Arsenic and Old Lace, The Glass Menagerie, Look Homeward Angel, Time of Your Life, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Herb Bloomberg designed the 10 acre campus, which was completed in 1965. He would later be commissioned with building the Chanhassen Dinner Theaters which also grew in popularity parallel to the Old Log. The new building was a wooden construction that resembled a barn in homage to the original structure. It included an official lobby with wooden fireplace and had over 500 seats, compared with the 250 in the original structure. Over the course of its history, the Old Log has had many famous alumni including Loni Anderson, Steve Zahn, and Nick Nolte.

Rebranding

The Old Log gradually decreased in popularity in the past 20 years, but has entered a new era of rebranding and redevelopment. Greg and Marissa Frankenfield, founders of Magenic Technologies in Minneapolis, recently purchased the theater and invested nearly $2 Million in a renovation of the theater and lobby spaces, as well as the construction of a new, high-end restaurant on the campus. The exterior of the theater has remained intact, keeping its signature log siding. The interior, however, has experienced a major update with new upholstery, materials, and seating. The restaurant, Cast & Cru, was developed to bring in more customers for the theater by offering quality cuisine as an introduction to the theater. The menu features modern American food with a commitment to organic production. The vegetables used in restaurant are sourced locally from the Old Log Theater’s garden. Don Stolz relinquished artistic directorship after the sale with the Frankenfields hiring R. Kent Knutson to take on the primary role. Knutson spent his piror career directing high school theater in Anoka, and, most recently, Minnetonka High School where he directed many award-winning musicals and competition one-act plays during his tenure. While Knutson is the primary artistic director, like in many other theaters, other directors will be brought in to oversee certain shows. The Old Log Theater has quite a bit of history behind it, but its current incarnation pays homage to this illustrious past while making it an attractive and viable venue for the future.

Memories and stories

Photo Gallery

Image:Http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/ows 140864614069730.jpg

Image:Http://sailor.mnsun.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/A104coCastandCru3.jpg

Related Links

http://www.oldlog.com/

http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/04/old-log-theater-endures-its-neck-woods

http://www.exploreminnesota.com/things-to-do/1808/old-log-theater

Notes

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