Now Playing Utah is under new management — and the Utah Cultural Alliance has plans to make the website more comprehensive, more statewide, more appealing to millennials and easier to navigate.
The site, at NowPlayingUtah.com, provides listings of concerts, plays, dance performances, art exhibits, arts fundraisers, family-friendly events, festivals, films, museums, sports, classes and more from 6,000 organizations — searchable by date, location and category.
Since the site launched a decade ago, it has been managed by Visit Salt Lake and the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. And, quite naturally, it put particular emphasis on events in Salt Lake City.
But Visit Salt Lake and the Utah Cultural Alliance “agree that UCA can take NowPlayingUtah to new directions and greater statewide impact as a statewide cultural advocacy organization.”
“We’re very excited about this opportunity,” said Crystal Young-Otterstrom, executive director of the nonprofit UCA, which represents and advocates for 300 arts and humanities organizations in the state. “This is exactly what we should be doing.”
Visit Salt Lake will remain a sponsor and board member of Now Playing Utah, a nonprofit that sells advertising and contracts its listings to various media outlets, including The Salt Lake Tribune.
“We want to make it better and more usable for its audience,” she said. “What’s kind of overwhelming is all the info that’s there.”
While no major overhaul of the site is planned in the immediate future, the new managers are looking for ways to “increase curation” and make it possible for visitors’ “metadata that travels with them on the internet” to steer them toward the listings that would be of the most interest to them.
“Maybe something that’s more theater-focused or music-focused,” Young-Otterstrom said. “Maybe a little more millennial-friendly. Maybe highlight local podcasts.”
The new managers are also looking at linking to reviews on various news and arts sites.
Making the announcement of the change, UCA also promoted Now Playing Utah’s annual Free Night of Theatre, which distributes free tickets to theater performances across the state. Last year, more than 700 tickets were given away. You can register to win tickets at freenight.nowplayingutah.com.
The theater companies participating this year are:
• BYU Department of Theatre and Media Arts: “The Mousetrap.”
• Covey Center for the Arts: “Angel Street.”
• Department of Theatre, University of Utah: “Big Love” and “Julius Caesar.”
• Desert Star Playhouse: “How The Grouch Stole Christmas.”
• Draper Historic Theatre: “The Addams Family.”
• Hale Centre Theatre (Sandy): “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and “Wait Until Dark.”
• Hale Center Theater (Orem): “Anything Goes.”
• Off Broadway Theatre: “Dracula vs. Henry Botter.”
• Oquirrh Hills Performing Arts Alliance/Empress Theatre: “Twelve Angry Jurors.”
• Pioneer Theatre Company: “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”
• Pygmalion Theater Company: “Tigers Be Still.”
• Salt Lake Acting Company: “The Wolves.”
• The Grand Theatre: “The Rocky Horror Show.”
• UVU Department of Theatrical Arts for Stage & Screen: “Much Ado About Nothing.”
• Wasatch Theatre Company: “Hauntings.”
• Weber State University Lindquist College Theatre Area: “Ruthless!”
• Ziegfeld Theater Arts: “The Addams Family.”