Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' founders, Herb and Carol Bloomberg, designed and constructed their 90,000 square foot entertainment complex where once stood a cornfield, some distance out of the metropolitan area. At the time, some people questioned Herb Bloomberg's sanity -- after all, who in his right mind would do such a thing? Who else but Herb Bloomberg, a true entrepreneurial visionary.
The Bloombergs' interest in owning a theatre blossomed in 1965, when the couple was building a new home for the Old Log Theater in Excelsior. Herb and Carol combined their talents along with their love for live theatre and decided to move forward with a building plan of their own. This was risky. Not only was the theatre located 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, but Bloomberg was opening a restaurant in combination, a venture subject to a high mortality rate even by today's standards.
Bloomberg's theatre opened on October 11, 1968, with How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, but it was rough going until the theatre scored a home run with A Flea in Her Ear in February 1970, followed by Fiddler on the Roof when audiences began attending in earnest. Then Bloomberg started tinkering. The 125 seat Dinner Playhouse was built. Less than a year later, the romantic musical comedy I Do! I Do! opened, a production that has gone down in the annals of theater history as being the longest-running musical with its original cast (it ran for 22 1/2 years). In 1973, a courtyard was enclosed to become another dinner theatre appropriately named The Courtyard, to accommodate 180. The Bronco Bar, part of the entertainment complex and a popular local hangout, fell subject to Bloomberg's restless hammer in 1978 to become yet another theatre space, The Bronco Opera House, now known as The Fireside, seating 230. In addition to the four existing dinner theatre spaces, Chanhassen features three banquet rooms and a ballroom used for weddings, banquets and business meetings.