Renovated Capitol Theatre to open Dec. 1 for ‘Nutcracker’
“The Nutcracker” will mark the reopening of Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre.
Published: September 17, 2013 10:02PM
Updated: February 14, 2014 11:34PM
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Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Ballet West Executive Director Scott Altman, left, and Artistic Director Adam Sklute speak at the groundbreaking and christening of the Jessie Eccles Quinney Center for Dance and renovation of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre at 50 West 200 South in Salt Lake City Monday September 16.

Happy birthday, Capitol Theatre and Ballet West.

On its 100th birthday, the Capitol Theatre is getting a makeover, while next door, Ballet West, which turns 50 this year, will be the recipient of a new home for its dance academy.

About 100 arts supporters, along with Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City officials, hailed the combined $33.4 million project Monday at the site on 200 South between Main and West Temple where the Jessie E. Quinney Ballet Centre will begin construction. It’s slated to open Oct. 1, 2014.

The newly renamed Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, will be renovated to emphasize its 1913 legacy and modified to enhance theatergoers’ experience. The 1,900-seat facility is set for a Dec. 1 completion date, just in time for the opening of Ballet West’s annual production of “The Nutcracker.” Renovations include improved seating and sight lines, a new heating and air conditioning system and an expanded lobby.

“Salt Lake is a thriving metropolitan area, with a rich tapestry of cultural and artistic offerings,” said County Mayor Ben McAdams. “Thanks to our Utah tradition of partnership and collaboration, Ballet West and Salt Lake County are revitalizing our much-loved Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and bringing a new level of artistic excellence to the region with the Jessie E. Quinney Ballet Centre.”

The Janet Quinney Lawson Foundation donated $4.1 million to finalize funding for the project.

The Very Rev. Frederick Lawson, whose foundation was among the contributors, said the project is “a wonderful tribute to my mother (Janet Quinney Lawson) and grandmother (Jessie E. Quinney)” who loved and supported the performing arts.

Recalling a time when neither the Utah Symphony nor Ballet West had permanent homes, Lawson said the new project “sends a strong message to the public that Utah supports all the arts.”

With the new facilities, Ballet West will reach to “even greater heights,” said Shari Quinney, Ballet West Capital Campaign co-chair.

“Its academy and its tremendous education and outreach programs are vital efforts that impact children and adults throughout our community,” she said.

Monday’s ceremony was a “conspicuous and magical event” that makes Salt Lake City a destination for dance, symphony and theater, said Adam Sklute, Ballet West’s artistic director. “To have a ballet center here and to share it with the Utah Opera near Abravanel Hall is a thrilling, thrilling thing.”

Other contributors include the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation; the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation; the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation; and the John and Marcia Price Family Foundation.

csmart@sltrib.com