The Fitzgerald Theater is Saint Paul's oldest surviving theater space. Originally named the Sam S. Shubert Theater, it was one of four memorial theaters erected by entertainment-industry leaders Lee and J. J. Shubert after the death of their brother Sam. In 1933, it became a movie house screening foreign films and was thus christened the World Theater. Minnesota Public Radio purchased the theater in 1980 and restored it in 1986 for the live radio program A Prairie Home Companion® with Garrison Keillor. The theater was again renamed in 1994, this time for author F. Scott Fitzgerald, a native of Saint Paul. The theater has, over the years, played host to Broadway musicals, vaudeville shows, film festivals, and concerts of all sorts.
The Fitzgerald Theater is the stage for Robert Altman's latest ensemble piece, A Prairie Home Companion, not surprisingly co-written with Garrison Keillor. The film stars Keillor along with Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Lindsay Lohan, John C. Reilly, Kevin Kline, Woody Harrelson, Maya Rudolph and Tommy Lee Jones. It has played to rave reviews at the Berlin and South by Southwest Film Festivals and the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. The Fitzgerald Theater will host the by-invitation gala premiere May 3, 2006.