LOOKING BACK 1916–1965
The Pantages, which now seats 1014, opened in 1916 as a vaudeville house and part of Greek immigrant and impresario Alexander Pantages’ renowned consortia of theatres. It was designed by the Minneapolis firm of Kees and Colburn in an Art Moderne/Beaux Arts style. The Pantages’ first show was a vaudeville lineup that included singers, comedians and a banjo player. In 1922, the Pantages was remodeled by renowned theatre architect Marcus Priteca/RKO and a new stained glass dome was added, which remains among the Pantages’ most lovely features. In 1945, Edmond Ruben purchased the Pantages and renovated it by adding bird’s-eye maple. The grand reopening was on April 14, 1946 with a screening of “Gilda.” In 1961, Ruben sold the Pantages to Ted Mann, who owned five other downtown Minneapolis theatres including the Orpheum Theatre.