Steve Barberio's team took over the Loring Theater last summer. / Star Tribune file

Steve Barberio's team took over the Loring Theater last summer. / Star Tribune file


Rumors of the Loring Theater's demise have been exaggerated -- not greatly, but the historic venue will continue to operate at least for the foreseeable future.

The 1920s-era theater, at Nicollet Avenue and 14th Street in Minneapolis, is struggling financially and has canceled some but not all of its upcoming shows. That prompted reports that the venue will shut its doors entirely, but artistic director Steve Barberio said the staff is looking toward next year and "trying to hang on as best we can."

"We are not going out of business," Barberio said. "We've pulled back and are evaluating where to go from here."

Most of the canceled shows, he said, were "simply not selling tickets," as has been the case with many other recent events. Given the crunching numbers at the theater, it cannot afford to take any more losses on such gigs. The concerts taken off the marquee include ones this week with Julie Johnson (Wednesday), De Dannan and House of Finn (Sunday) and the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra (Friday). Only the latter show has found a new home, moving to the Ritz Theater in northeast Minneapolis. Six other events in upcoming weeks were also stricken from the Loring calendar.

However, Zack Dyer is still hosting his album release concert at the Loring on Saturday, and the Nov. 17 show with KaiserCartel and Owls is still on. ***Update: KaiserCartel and the Owls have also moved to the Ritz. Several private events are also on the books. Barberio said the staff is still paying the rent and bills, and, "We're keeping our nose above water for now."

The Loring's struggles closely follow the collapse at the similarly eclectic and artist-friendly Southern Theater, which is still operating but remains a shadow of its former self. Barberio's management team, The Directors LLC, took over the Loring last summer. Formerly the Music Box Theater (it went back to its original name last year), the 450-capacity venue has been trying to find a foothold ever since its former anchoring tenant, the Triple Espresso stage show, started branching out more into other cities in 2008.

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