Hamilton draws 100,000 people downtown, millions in economic impact

Twin Cities theaters rebounding after pandemic

Twin Cities theaters rebounding after pandemic

The theater lights along Hennepin Avenue illuminate a full summer’s season ahead. 

“I feel grateful and excited,” said Abraham Widjaja, who lives in Minneapolis. “I love going to the theater because, for me, it’s just a safe space to sit and enjoy a show.”

Widjaja was one of an estimated 100,000 people who packed into the Orpheum for Hamilton during the show’s five-week run from April 4 to May 6. 

Hamilton’s success follows near sell-outs of Hairspray and To Kill a Mockingbird earlier this season.

“We’ve been really pleased with our attendance numbers post-pandemic, but certainly a show like Hamilton is definitely going to jumpstart that,” said Emmalynn Bauer with Hennepin Theatre Trust. 

She explained larger Broadway shows stay in town longer. The tours draw people to the theater, as well as restaurants and hotels. Hamilton’s economic impact is estimated at nearly $42 million.

“These giant Broadway shows also employ about 100 local people here, so musicians are local, stage hands, hair and wardrobe professionals, merchandise sellers, etc.” said Bauer. “Also, the cast and crew that tour with the show. They’re also staying here for five weeks, so they’re staying in hotels, they’re spending their dollars here, they’re out in the community.”

Broadway shows returned to Minneapolis in fall 2021 following the pandemic shutdown. Widjaja has already purchased tickets for a performance in August. “During the pandemic, downtown you would drive by, and it seemed bare, so coming for shows, it’s fun seeing downtown come back to life,” said Widjaja.