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With Eccles Theater, a new curtain rises in Salt Lake City’s love affair with theater

First Published      Last Updated Oct 27 2016 04:57 am

Opening of a downtown arts complex draws the curtain on a new act in Salt Lake City’s love affair with stage productions.

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Most theatergoers will never see the motorized series of 6,000 square feet of fireproof black velour drapes in the hall's attic, which provide "a full-frequency sound when deployed," Holden says.

As Gwilliam says: "It's the same technology they used in castles to control noise in corridors as well as blocking cold from coming in. It's the most cost-effective way of doing it."

The theater's sound system is top-of-the-line, so current that it wasn't yet invented when project bids went out three years ago. "This system makes me want to get out the Q-tips, clear out my ears and start driving a soundboard again," Gwilliam says.

All of the building's heating and air-conditioning systems are tucked away on the roof, "cleverly designed to break all the rules," Holden says. "At full blast, you can't hear them."

The theater's orchestra pit can be expanded to fit 95 musicians, nearly the size of the Metropolitan Opera's pit. And there's rigging installed in front of the hall's proscenium stage, which means that larger shows' set pieces won't need to be nailed into the ceiling — as they have been at Capitol Theatre.

Overall, planners say the project is a masterful example of collaboration. Many design ideas grew out of brainstorming meetings with city and county officials, artists and theatergoers. It took more than a village to build the Eccles Theater, Tursic says, acknowledging city, county, arts groups, construction and LDS Church participation. "Hopefully," he says, "everybody can be proud of it."





Eccles gala opening

Premier Performance » Rita Moreno will emcee the event, with performers including Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tony-nominated Megan Hilty (of TV’s “Smash”) and performers from Ballet West, Repertory Dance Theatre, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Utah Opera Chorus and the University of Utah theater department.

When » Friday, Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Where » Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, Salt Lake City

Tickets » $50-$200, available at the box office, at artsaltlake.org or by calling 801-355-2787; ticket holders will be invited to a post-show celebration on Regent Street. Dress is black tie (encouraged, not required).

Saturday Open House

Free performances throughout the Eccles Theater complex are set on Saturday, Oct. 22:

10-11:45 a.m. » Aspen Winds, Chitrakaavya Dance, Chrome Street Quartet, Columbia Jones, Eastern Arts, Finding Kate, Jim Fish, Myriad Dance Company, New Zealand-American Society, Ophir Creek, Rusty Shovels, Unity Gospel Choir, Utah Children’s Theatre Company, Utah Repertory Theater, Utah Symphony, Wing & Claw

Noon-1:45 p.m. » Anabil Chaudhuri, Aspen Winds, Ben Brinton, Canyons, Carlos Emjay / A Band Called Earthrise, Chrome Street Quartet, Columbia Jones, Dallyn Vail Bayles, Khemera Dance Troupe, Nino Reyos / Harry James, Plan-B Theatre, Rebecca Aneloski, Salt Lake Vocal Artists, Tablado Dance Company, The Runaway Blues, Utah’Ko Triskalariak, Utah Opera, Vocal Point, Wing & Claw

2-5 p.m. » Alyssa Pyper, Ballet Folklorico Citlali, Children’s Dance Theatre, Gabino Flores, Hectic Hobo, Jim Guss Trio, Joshy Soul, Los Spanglos, Mariachi de Mi Tierra, Rumba Libre Band, Salt Lake Electric Ensemble, Samba Fogo, Svengali Jazz Quartet, Talia Keys, The Bboy Federation, The Joe McQueen Quartet, The Riverton High School Music, Dance & Theatre Class, Tom Call Sextet, Utah’Ko Triskalariak, VCR5, Vocal Point, Wasatch Music Coaching Academy Funk Band, Who’s Louis? Theatre Company

More information » artsaltlake.org/events/eccles-theater

Eccles by the numbers

185,000 square feet

3.8 million pounds of concrete

4.4 million pounds of structural steel

10,223 square feet of stage flooring

2,500-seat Delta Performance Hall

150-250 seat Black Box theater and event space

1,350-square-foot rehearsal room

1,000 stalls in Regent Street parking garage

115 new permanent jobs expected to be created after opening

1,600 jobs created by construction

$1 million anticipated in new property tax revenue

$200-$450 for Broadway season tickets

$52 average price of a single Broadway series ticket