By Jenniffer Wardell, The Davis Clipper
Eccles Theater is about to open, and organizers are throwing a party to say hello.
The George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theater is celebrating their grand opening with a free, day-long open house and arts celebration, set for Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the theater. Visitors are welcome to tour the new facility at any point during that time, or stop and enjoy one of the 15-minute long performances by local performers that will be held at various locations throughout the theater.
“They wanted a place people could feel welcome,” said Sean Morgan, director of planning for developer Garfield Traub Swisher. “(They wanted the theater) to be a public gathering space.”
Organizers are encouraging that feeling with their open house, which is open to everyone. Though no official tours will be organized, people will be on hand to answer questions about both the main performance hall (now known as the Delta Performance Hall) and the smaller, black box-style theater located in the facility. Several performances have already been announced for the Delta Performance Hall, and details for those can be found online at artsaltlake.org/venue/eccles-theater.
“There was a need for a new, larger, state-of-the-art venue in the city,” said Katherine Potter, senior advisor for the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency. “The city has identified the need for it since the 1960s, and (former mayor) Ralph Becker decided to bring it into being.”
The two official performance spaces aren’t the only places visitors might see a show, however, at least during the open house. Musicians, dancers and theater groups will be located throughout the theater space, including in the main lobby area.
Among those who will be on hand for the open house are well-known groups like the Utah Symphony, the Utah Opera, BYU’s Vocal Point, Utah Children’s Theatre, Unity Gospel Choir (formerly LDS Genesis Gospel Choir) and PlanB Theatre Company.
In addition, there will be a variety of smaller performing groups from the Salt Lake area, including Chitrakaavya Dance, the Chrome Street Quartet, Wasatch Music Coaching Funk Band, Samba Fogo, Utah Repertory Theater and more. Performances will run from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., from noon to 1:45 p.m., and from 2 to 5 p.m.
The theater will also be open for touring on Sunday, Oct. 23, but there will be no performances that day. There will also be a special grand opening performance on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m., featuring Tony Award-winning performer Brian Stokes Mitchell and Tony-nominated performer Megan Hilty. In addition, well-known musician and award-winning conductor Kurt Bestor will lead the 50-piece Ballet West Orchestra.
Those aren’t the only performers who will be on hand for the opening concert, however. Ballet West dancers will also take the stage, as well as the University of Utah Department of Theatre. Repertory Dance Company and Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company will also perform a work together.
Tickets for the opening night show range from $50-$200, and can be purchased online at ecclestheateropening.com. The event is black tie, and there will be a post-show celebration.