Musical highlights former Minnesota governor Harold Stassen
He was a popular political leader with a remarkable career, and now he’s being remembered in a musical in St. Paul.
Harold Stassen became the youngest governor of Minnesota when he was elected in 1938 at the age of 31. He also ran for president nine times between 1944 and 1992.
Twenty-two years after his death, the Minnesota History Theater is examining Stassen’s life through a musical called, “The Boy Wonder.”
He’s maybe the state’s most famous governor that many Minnesotans have likely never heard of.
After taking office at 31 years old, Stassen resigned following his reelection in 1942 to join the fight in WWII.
In 1947, he ended up on the cover of Time Magazine.
“He does break the mold in every kind of possible way,” Stu Ackman, from the United Nations Association of Minnesota, said.
Ackman says the organization is named after Stassen because of his key role in founding the United Nations.
“Conservative Republican in the ’30s being elected governor of Minnesota a couple times,” Ackman said of Stassen. “Resigning to go into the Navy to be in Admiral Halsey’s force, a key person there. FDR heard Stassen’s speeches on internationalism and the need for a UN and asked him to be a delegate to the UN conference.”
In fact, Stassen is among the founders of the United Nations.
“There were seven delegates, official delegates from the United States to the convention and as such he was one of the signers of the charter,” Ackman said.
Now, “The Boy Wonder” is looking at his amazing career and helping Minnesotans learn more about a man they may not know much about.
“It definitely is,” Ackman said of the musical’s title being appropriate. “I think back to my early 30s, taking on a governorship and even knowing how to think about it is remarkable. He was seen as a leader.”
Performances of the musical run through Oct. 29 at the Minnesota History Theater. There is also a special event planned for Thursday night, honoring Stassen’s work at the UN. More information on that is available online.