Friday, August 17, 2012

Theater Fever

Joining Mayor Becker announcing both Architects and Contractor
for the new Utah Performing Arts Center
After working many years with my colleagues at Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County, this was a great week.  Salt Lake County agreed to partner with Salt Lake City in helping to fund the construction of a new Broadway Touring Theater and also operate it to maximize the synergies with their existing facilities as well as draw upon their expertise in operating most of the cultural facilities downtown.  My thanks to the county council members who supported us, especially Max Burdick and Michael Jensen and I'm hopeful that the rest who didn't, will recognize the value long term as we move forward.

This week we also named the architects chosen to help design it,  HKS and Pelli Clarke Pelli and the contractor, Layton Construction.  Local talent with some national expertise will assure a great finished product for our community.  I also anticipate some good community outreach as designs come together and we truly make this a great project for downtown, the region and the State of Utah.

Yesterday, I also had a fun opportunity.  "Wicked" is the current Broadway Play being shown at Capitol Theater.  Tickets sold out early, but every evening, people have the chance to put their name in a drawing and 10 lucky people are chosen who can purchase 2 tickets for $25, which would otherwise cost them $135 a piece.  On Thursday, I got to announce the names of the winners and it was fun to see their reaction.  Below is a video of one of the 10 experiences.

The only down side to the experience, is the other 140 people who walked away not winning, and I couldn't help them.  However it demonstrated the need for a larger theater and the unmet need that exists for this product in our community.  Capitol Theater has served us well and needs some work and would continue to provide a vital role for the Ballet and Opera as well as other things that can not currently be scheduled.

Cathy and I also had the great fortune of attending Wicked ourselves (we also got to pay for the tickets!) We had an absolute fabulous time.  Done a lot of reflection on the "Wicked Witch" who clearly is reflected with a different light in the play, and a reminder that we too often want to categorize others and label them for who they aren't.  The crowd was clearly a crowd we don't see in Salt Lake City on a regular basis and they were just thrilled with the experience and contribute much to our local economy. As did we with dinner before and a CD purchased in the lobby!

I do have one mission as we build the new facility and that is LEG ROOM! I don't try to abuse my political power too much, but if I have any say over it, those of us who can't sit in Capitol look forward to liberation!  Theater Fever is on its way!

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