Sale of Old Log Theater in Excelsior appears imminent

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 25, 2013 - 9:16 AM

Speculation suggests Greg Frankenfield as new owner of the state’s oldest professional theater, which includes a restaurant and sits on 11 acres near Lake Minnetonka.

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Don Stolz, 95, has been with the Old Log Theater since 1941. The theater sits on an 11-acre site near Lake Minnetonka and operates year-round.

Photo: File photo by Bruce Bisping • bbisping@startribune.com ,

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Don Stolz, who has owned the theater since 1946, said Wednesday that he and his sons are considering a bid from a potential buyer. He declined to say who the buyer is.

“It wouldn’t be fair to the others,” he said, indicating that he’s received four offers.

Others close to the deal, however, indicated that Twin Cities software developer Greg Frankenfield has the inside track. Frankenfield was out of town Wednesday and could not be reached for comment, but his name has surfaced previously in speculation over who would buy the theater from Stolz, 95, and his sons. Frankenfield has indicated he would like to continue operating the Old Log as a theater.

The only other known interested party is Jon Monson, an Excelsior developer who at one time wanted to build cottages on the land and relocate the theater to its original, and smaller, building next to the current theater. Three Rivers Park District also had expressed interest in using the land for environmental education and maintaining the theater as an interpretive center.

“Three Rivers is no longer in the picture,” Stolz said Wednesday.

Frankenfield, CEO of Magenic, is a theater enthusiast who has served on the board of Mixed Blood and financially supported productions at Mu Performing Arts. In 2009, he made a bid for Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, but the deal fell through. Last September, he confirmed that he had made a second offer to the family — with no deadline attached.

Stolz has worked at the Old Log since 1941 and bought the theater five years later. Once a summer repertory company, the Old Log operates year-round. Actors Nick Nolte and Loni Anderson are among the most famous alumni. WCCO-TV personalities Dave Moore and Allan Lotsberg also have worked at the stage.

 

Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299

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