The independent non-profit group the Hennepin Theatre Trust and their managing partner the Historic Theatre Group operate three historic theaters in downtown Minneapolis’ thriving cultural district.
With the recent installation of Electro-Voice line-array loudspeaker systems in both the State and the Pantages theaters, this partnership has left no doubt of its commitment to maintaining both the highest possible production values and the character of the places it preserves.
The State and the Pantages have each been through multiple incarnations over the years, at various points hosting movies, vaudeville and other types of live performances. The Pantages, designed in an Art Moderne/Beaux Arts style, first opened in 1916, followed by the Italian Renaissance-themed State, just down Hennepin Avenue, in 1921.
As with many theaters of the time, each began as a proud, even awe-inspiring architectural gem, but after several decades they’d both become run-down shadows of their former selves, and by the mid-1980s neither was in operation. The Hennepin Theatre Trust was later able to gain control of and painstakingly restore the two theaters, with the State reopening in 1991 and the Pantages in 2002.
At just over 1,000, the capacity of the Pantages is half that of the State, but there is nonetheless a lot of overlap in the types of material presented in the two venues.
“Both rooms are used for all types of concerts, comedians, plays, musicals and dance performances, as well as receptions, graduations and corporate meetings,” says Steve Olson, Operations Coordinator with the Historic Theatre Group. “The system we installed in each room is intended to cover all those types of shows without needing to bring in additional reinforcement.”
The existing system at the Pantages was based on Electro-Voice XLC127 line arrays that had been regularly upgraded since their initial installation in 2002.
“The HF drivers were upgraded as soon as the 127+ change was available, which made a nice improvement in the smoothness of the highs,” Olson says. “As subsequent component upgrades and design changes became available – like DVX woofers and FIR optimization filters – we implemented them as well.
“Every time we upgraded it was like we were getting a completely new PA, increasing the sound quality for our patrons. EV’s approach to upgrades definitely extended the value of our original investment at very low cost and kept our system meeting today’s standards of excellence.”