Minneapolis Musical Theatre is moving in with Hennepin Theatre Trust. The company, which produces new or rarely seen musicals, will perform its 2012-13 season in the New Century Theatre in City Center.
MMT has been downtown since 2002, performing at the Hennepin Stages from 2002 to 2008. The company then moved up the street to the Illusion Theater. The Hennepin Stages has since been sold to the Brave New Workshop. The Hennepin Trust has carved out The New Century, which is next to Trust offices in the City Center. MMT should not give up any capacity in the new space. New Century is flexible and can match or exceed the Illusion’s 200-plus seats.
"We're going to lose a little performance space but this forces us to put on our thinking caps and re-evaluate how we present things," said MMT artistic director Steven Meerdink. "The biggest challenge will be the stage size."
Meerdink said that since the departure of co-founder, Kevin Hansen, the company has searched for ways to replace the work he did. The Trust fills that void, with marketing and publicity services. Too, MMT will get access to a broader base of contacts and mailing lists.
Tom Hoch, the Trust’s president and ceo, said the move enables his company to build audience and revenue. The New Century has not had a resident tenant since it opened so MMT provides that stability. The space has, however, attracted several producers. Wendy Knox has used the space for Frank Theatre. The shows “Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women” and “Standing on Ceremony” both played there. Upcoming, Shanan Custer and Carolyn Pool will put up their show “2 Sugars, Room for Cream,” and producer/writer Phil Olson is a perennial producer with his “Don’t Hug” franchise.
MMT does excellent work with offbeat musicals. Meerdink and Hansen (above) performed “The Story of My Life” last winter and the troupe just completed “Gilligan’s Island: The Musical.” MMT sold roughly 5,500 to 6,000 tickets per season in the Illusion. The 2012-13 season has not been announced yet.