Built in 1910, the Fitzgerald Theater is Saint Paul’s oldest standing theater space. Originally the “Sam S. Shubert Theater,” its design was inspired by the famous Maxine Elliot Theater in New York. The Shubert Theater sought to be “the handsomest, the most safe, the most hygienic and most comfortable in the Northwest.” The robust acoustics afforded by the theater’s ornate architecture were ideal for vaudeville productions, and the biggest stars of the day graced its stage.
In 1933, as the major motion picture studios captivated the nation and revolutionized the entertainment industry with the addition of sound to the increasingly popular medium, The Shubert Theater became a movie house, and was renamed The World Theater.
The World Theater was purchased by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) in 1980. The stage was restored, and live acts and radio broadcasts returned to the historic landmark after more than 50 years.
In 1994, the beloved entertainment destination was renamed after great American author, and Saint Paul native, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and in March 2019 the iconic Minnesota music institution, First Avenue, purchased The Fitzgerald Theater from MPR with the goal of continuing the tradition of entertainment excellence developed in the space for over a century.
First Avenue owns and operates the 250-capacity 7th St Entry, the 350-capacity Turf Club, the 650- capacity Fine Line, 1550-capacity First Avenue Mainroom, and co-operates the 2400-capacity Palace Theatre just a few blocks from The Fitzgerald Theater. Additionally, First Avenue promotes concerts and events at numerous venues in Minnesota, including but not limited to, Amsterdam Bar & Hall, The Cedar Cultural Center, The Historic State, Orpheum, and Pantages Theatres in Minneapolis, as well as Surly Brewing Festival Field.
First Avenue is celebrated as one of the longest-running, independently owned and operated clubs in the United States. Its commitment to independence is led by the belief that unique, locally-owned live music rooms are imperative to the health of the community and economy. First Avenue is dedicated to promoting artistic expression in voices old and new, to provide a community by offering artists a stage and a mic, and fans a place to gather.
As the musical epicenter of the Twin Cities, First Avenue—and by extension, the venues it owns and operates—opens its doors to all of the thousands of music lovers who are First Avenue’s past, present, and future.