The Ordway Story

For over 30 years, the Ordway has been telling stories that exemplify the human experience. Our stage has been a dramatic canvas for artists to create worlds of love and loss, hope and despair, war and peace, victory and defeat. Audiences have been transported to exotic locations, met iconic characters, and embarked on exhilarating adventures.

For over 30 years, we’ve told every story except our own.

The Ordway Story

The Ordway believes that the arts belong to us all. Art is not precious or exclusive. It is not defined by objective views or by the status quo. It has the power to bring communities together and challenges us to view the world in new ways.

From self-produced musical productions that give talented local artists their time in the spotlight, to a World Music & Dance series that celebrates diverse cultural traditions from around the world, the Ordway is committed to uniting the Twin Cities through artistic expression.

Inside the Ordway

The Ordway houses a 1,900 seat Music Theater; two large rehearsal halls, and magnificent lobbies, including the second floor Marzitelli Foyer; a spacious, two story lobby encircled by a glass facade. In the spring of 2013, construction began on the 1,100 seat Concert Hall that would replace the McKnight Theatre. Construction was completed in the spring of 2015.

The Ordway, recognized as one of the U.S.’s leading not-for-profit performing arts centers, presents and produces a wide variety of performances throughout the year that encompass the finest in American Musical Theater, concerts, dance, and vocal artists. In addition, each year the Ordway presents its Flint Hills International Children’s Festival and serves over 50,000 children and adults through its Ordway Education programs.

The Ordway is a proud member of the Arts Partnership, which includes The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Minnesota Opera, and The Schubert Club, and brings their diverse programming under one roof.

Origins of the Ordway “Eyebrow”

Have you seen that little, pointed arch perched atop our logo? It’s affectionately referred to as “the Eyebrow” here at the Ordway. At first glance, it might not look like anything in particular, but if you look a little closer, you'll notice that it was pulled directly from the iconic outline of the Ordway’s exterior.

The Eyebrow is a modern representation of an arts institution that has striven to bring people and the arts closer together.

Sally Ordway Irvine

In 1980, Sally Ordway Irvine challenged her community to help create a performing arts venue in which her dream of offering “everything from opera to the Russian circus” could be realized.  She set an example by making the first donation to a fund that eventually built Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.

By the time the $46 million center opened to the public on January 1, 1985, Sally had contributed $7.5 million—and her family had matched that amount. Certainly, Sally’s vision is alive today as the Ordway, Minnesota’s Premier Performing Arts Center®, presents a dizzying schedule of theater, dance, music, family events, and educational programs.