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Too big for Broadway

Published April 28, 2013 5:09 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Re "Salt Lake City Main Street theater design unveiled" (Tribune, April 17):

I am tired of the planned $116 billion Utah Performing Arts Center being referred to by some as a "Broadway-style" theater. This 2,500-seat behemoth is like nothing on Broadway.

I recently attended plays in four Broadway theaters; seating capacity ranged from 783 to 1,200 seats.

Consider the Broadway theater homes for these touring shows commonly referred to as a good fit for Salt Lake's proposed theater: "The Book of Mormon" is playing at the O'Neill Theatre, which has 1,108 seats; "The Lion King" is at the Minskoff Theatre, 1,597 seats; "Wicked" is at the Gershwin Theatre, the largest on Broadway, 1,900 seats (comparable to Capitol Theatre's 1,876 and Kingsbury Hall's 1,992).

I do not question the need for a new theater for touring companies. At the Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater (1,200 seats), a theater professional who had come to Salt Lake with touring shows told me how the logistics of the Capitol Theatre's stage were very difficult.

But if the purpose of the new theater is to provide the equivalent to seeing a play on Broadway, it should be significantly downsized. Bigger is not necessarily better, and size does matter.

Marilyn Copeland

Salt Lake City