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Byline: Robert Ingrassia
Jan. 26--Here's how far St. Paul's Palace Theatre has fallen from its glory days: A grand downtown auditorium that once played host to Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers and George Burns now serves as little more than a chilly space for storing 12-packs of Grain Belt.
Even that ignoble role as cheap refrigerator will go away next month, when Brave New Workshop shutters a dinner theater and bar it has operated in the building's lobby for four years. But there is good news for theater-industry boosters and historic preservationists who want to see St. Paul's only surviving vaudeville house saved. A new city-commissioned study found that the Palace (formerly the Orpheum) is not the shambles that many had assumed.
In fact, the building is structurally sound, architecturally intact and ripe for renovation, a consulting firm concluded.
"We weren't 100 percent sure what we were going to find," said Jeff Oertel, …