McDonald/Swenson benefit buys new seats for Orem's Hale theater
Published: February 21, 2012 10:42AM
Updated: February 21, 2012 10:42AM
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Audra McDonald, left, as Lizzie Curry with Marvin Payne as her father, H.C. Curry, while Jared Young as Jimmy Curry looks on, from a rehearsal of Orem Hale Center Theatre's production of "110 in the Shade." McDonald will sing Friday, May 24, 2013, in PBS' "Live From Lincoln Center." Courtesy photo.

What did two weeks' work by two Broadway stars buy a Utah theater? More than 300 plush theater seats.

Hale Center Theater Orem has installed 305 plush new seats, which were bought from the proceeds of a 2010 producton of "110 in the Shade" featuring Broadway stars Audra McDonald and Will Swenson, according to the theater website Broadway World.

Swenson has close ties to Hale: He's a grandson of matriarch Ruth Hale, brother of the theater's current managing director Cody Swenson (who shares the job with his wife, Anne), and got his acting start in Hale productions.

Swenson met McDonald on a Broadway revival of "110 in the Shade" (she played the female lead, he understudied the male lead), and the two got engaged on New Year's Eve.

Swenson received a Tony nomination for his performance in "Hair," and starred in the musical "Priscilla Queen of the Desert." McDonald is a four-time Tony winner, currently starring in a revival of "Porgy & Bess."