The Hennepin Theatre Trust, which since 2000 has presented touring Broadway shows plus a raft of concerts at three theaters in Minneapolis, has officially lifted the curtain on a new name — Hennepin Arts.

The change comes as the nonprofit organization is finalizing its merger with the Historic Theatre Group, the Broadway Across America subsidiary that operates the State, Orpheum and Pantages theaters.

The announcement signals not just a new identity, but also a reordering of Minnesota's arts ecology. The merger effectively doubles the staff and budget of the new entity, said president and CEO Todd Duesing.

That means that Hennepin Arts is now the second largest arts organization in Minnesota by operating budget, with its $40 million figure bested only by the Minnesota Orchestra, whose 2023 operating budget was $42 million.

The new branding aligns with Hennepin Arts' expanded view of itself, Duesing said.

"The name Hennepin Theatre Trust created a tight box that just restricted us, and the trust in the name created confusion," said Duesing, who came to the organization in July 2023, succeeding Mark Nerenhausen. "We wanted to simplify everything and give ourselves room to grow as we lift up things like Brave New Workshop and pop-up immersive arts. The world of art is broad, and the engagement options are more than just sitting in a theater."

Hennepin Arts, which now has 85 full-time employees plus scores of part-timers, marks the name change with a street and lobby party Friday that also marks the on-sale event for "Back to the Future: The Musical."

The company presented 125 shows that drew 562,600 patrons in fiscal year 2023, according to a spokesperson, with 264,744 of those attended its Broadway offerings. Hennepin Arts has 15,500 season ticket subscribers, the number necessary to sustain its 14 weeks or so of annual Broadway programming.

There are another 7,000 on a list waiting to become season ticket holders, Duesing said. Were that number to double, for example, that would support a second consistent week of touring Broadway shows. The sizable waiting list shows a "Hamilton"-esque demand spurred by its current lineup, which includes next spring's pre-Broadway world premiere stage adaptation of Prince's "Purple Rain."

Hennepin Arts also is launching the Tony-winning national tour of the Jason Robert Brown-Alfred Uhry historical musical "Parade" in January, directed by Tony winner Michael Arden.

On the concert side, it hosts a three-night Netflix taping of Ellen DeGeneres' bow-out show "Ellen's Last Stand…Up" in August.

"Our key focus to stakeholders is a message of energy, vibrancy and economic vitality," Duesing said.

An acolyte of Nerenhausen, Duesing came to Minnesota from Cincinnati, which has a full-fledged arts district centered around the Cesar Pelli-designed Aronoff Center. Duesing hopes to build out the arts district dreams of the previous leaders of the Minnesota organization he now helms. He sees the Cowles Center, which ceased operations this spring and reverted to the city of Minneapolis, as potentially a natural fit.

"We definitely have an interest in the Cowles Center, but we have to make sure we have the financial stability for that specific property before we take it on," Duesing said. "Our tagline is braver, brighter, bolder, and it speaks to the fact that we're taking great moves and doing exciting things."