Duluth gains sharp new arts venue, promise of another

NorShor Theater marquee lit up for first time last week. (PHOTO: Jesse Storck, NorShor Facebook post)

After several years and $18 million in renovation, downtown Duluth’s NorShor Theater reopened this week with a local production of “Mamma Mia,” the ABBA musical. That show is sold out for two weeks.

And while ABBA is great, most folks in the Zenith City are just excited for the addition of a dazzling new downtown music and theater venue. Reopening the NorShor, which was a strip club not that long ago, reclaims a portion of Superior Street that had fallen on rough times. In a way, its a sign of the continuing Duluth renaissance.

Dan Kraker of Minnesota Public Radio filed a story that includes pictures. The Duluth News Tribune ran an entire special section.

But the NorShor isn’t the only venue clamoring for attention. The group that seeks to renovate the old Duluth Armory is also scheduling events. And yes, I am legally required to tell you that the Armory was where a teenage Bob Dylan saw Buddy Holly play three days before Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash. In fact, Dylan fans largely drive this effort.

The Armory has a long way to go, but they announced last week that they would partner with the Duluth CW affiliate for a televised concert series.

Dubbed “Night at the Armory,” the series features dean of the Duluth music scene Charlie Parr, Rick McLean, Laura Sellner of Superior Siren, Alan Sparhawk of Low, and Ingeborg von Agassiz. Starting March 4, “Night at the Armory” will air five consecutive Sunday nights on Duluth CW (KDLH), broadcast channel 3.1 in the Duluth market (check your listings for cable or satellite).

Duluth’s growing music and arts scene continues to provide inspiration to the whole region. It gives people a place to go not so far from home. Having venues provides a proving ground for young musicians working on their craft. It could be interesting to see if there is enough support to finish the Armory after the splash of the NorShor. But either way, it won’t be too hard to find a spotlight and a mic in the city of Duluth.


  1. I’ve heard the costs were quite a bit more than $18M. I heard $30M on the TV news. It looks like they did a very nice job though.

  2. Gerry Mantel says

    See Buddy Holly in concert? I doubt it …

    But I can tell you that Dingleberry did a excellent job of mooning people and lighting his farts, ca. 1974. (I was there …)

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