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Fitzgerald Theater - HauntedHouses.com

fitzgerald

LOCATION:

The Fitzgerald Theater is located in the historic downtown section of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Address:

10 E Exchange Street
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101

Web-Site: http://fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org

DESCRIPTION:

This grand old elegant lady, The Fitzgerald Theater is the 1910 restored treasure known as a "two balcony dramatic house" with an auditorium with "near perfect acoustics and sight-lines." All of its 996 seats are no farther than 87 feet from the stage. There are 8 opera boxes which curve toward the stage for private parties. There are very few of this kind of theater left standing. It has been beautifully restored. The theatre has a beautiful Beaux Arts decor and design, complete with red plush seats. The proscenium stage area is 30 ft high and 36 feet from edge to edge. Both the opera boxes and the arch of the stage area are decorated with ornate plastic work and glittering gold leaf. From the stage one can see the 1926 Wurlitzer organ which was added to the theater in the 1986 renovation.

The theater is versatile in that it can handle a wide range of events, even accommodating traveling Broadway sets, and modern set ups for television, radio broadcasting and recording. Their lighting and sound equipment is described as extensive.

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Left: View from stage of auditorium & balconies
Right: View of stage area from balcony, showing proscenium stage

HISTORY:

The original 1910 theater was one of four memorial theaters built in the United States, in memory of Sam Shubert, by his surviving brothers Lee and J.J. Shubert, entertainment industry leaders.. It was named The Sam S. Shubert Theater, and was designed using the famous Maxine Elliot theater in New York as inspiration. In 1933, the theater was transformed into a foreign film movie house, called the World Theater.

As it happens with most old buildings, this grand theater eventually became a little dowdy, long in the tooth, in need of renovation. Luckily, Minnesota Public Radio bought the theatre in 1980, and restored the inside and outside, with the purpose of providing a home for not only live events once again, but also for a live radio program in 1986, called A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. Garrison Keillor began hosting talented musicians and comedy performers, as well as his own comedic skits about a fictional town, Lake Wobegon, which still comes on Saturday at 5 p.m.

In 1994, the name of the theater was changed once again to The Fitzgerald Theater, after the hometown author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

MANIFESTATIONS:

There are two entities who have been named by the living; BEN and VERONICA

Ben - Thought to be a stagehand from the past, but no one knows for sure.

HISTORY:

During the 1985 building restoration, the workers were surprised to find a second balcony after removing the false ceiling, where they found a note written to a man known as Ben, a former employee of the theatre. After this, a male entity began to make his presence known.

* The living began experiencing unexplainable cold spots in the theatre which weren't there before.

* A dark apparition of a man was seen walking about the cat walks 60 feet above the auditorium and stage area, which disappears.

* Workmen found their tools were moved around, sometime vanishing for a time and found in odd places.

* An apport in the form of an empty antique bottle of Muscatel began to appear in off the wall, out of the way places in the theatre.

* A chunk of plaster, which didn't come from the theatre fell down, nearly hitting two workers in the stage area. The affected workers immediately shined their flashlights up from where it fell and they saw the shadowy male form walking around the cat walks which abruptly disappeared.

Veronica - A female entity; an actress who had died here or nearby a long time ago.

* She loves to sing, and likes to practice. Staff members have heard her voice echoing in the auditorium.

Still Haunted?

Oh yes.

Though no paranormal investigations have proven it yet, there are many witnesses among the theater staff and the patrons who have experienced the paranormal events listed above. Ben can be annoying, and the staff would be willing to share this entity with any theater which needs a resident entity, if it was possible. Veronica is a performer at heart, and it doesn't matter if she happens to be dead! She is just one of many performers who enjoy the acoustics of the auditorium. Both are accepted as the unseen residents of the theater.

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Sources:

theater.about.com * fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org
minnesotaparanormalinvestigators.com * rochestermn.com