The Eccles Theater – Astonishing and Impressive

4 12 2016

Utah’s gem of a performing arts theater is open and operating at full throttle. Recent months have been full of events, grand and beautiful,  raucous and fun.  The Eccles Theater has shown itself to be a state of the art wonder and one of the best theaters in North America.161102slc018-hdr-2-2k

Starting with the first public event, Meet Your Seat for Broadway at the Eccles subscribers on September 9, audiences have been amazed by the beauty, spaciousness and comfort they discovered in this new home for the performing arts.  In September and October four free events were held to test drive the building and its operations, including a hard hat concert, where workers involved in the construction and their families danced to rock hits played by World Classic Rockers with musicians from Journey, Santana, Boston and Steppenwolf.

The gala grand opening on October 21 brought Broadway stars Megan Hilty, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Rita Moreno to Main Street to perform with Utah stars Ballet West, the Utah Opera, Kurt Bestor and many others.  Two days later, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed on the Eccles stage and made its Sunday broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” – the first time in 88 years that the broadcast didn’t come from the Tabernacle or the LDS Conference Center.

The first paid event for the general public was on November 2, when indie-pop band The Head and The Heart played to a sold-out crowd. In the following 10 days, a stellar lineup of concerts was presented ranging from the rockers Goo Goo Dolls to comedian Jay Leno.Goo Goo Dolls

Exuberant audiences discovered a space that is inviting, comfortable, beautiful and already an important part of the Utah community.  Thousands of parking spaces within a block radius, a Trax light rail stop 100 yards away and 40 restaurants within a short walk make the location ideal.  Behind the theater, the former alley Regent Street is being turned into an entertainment neighborhood with new restaurants, shops and a hotel.  The McCarthey Plaza is a pedestrian-friendly gathering place for noon-time concerts, outdoor summer movies or just a quiet place to hang out.

the Eccles TheaterThe soaring Winter Garden lobby with a four-story glass exterior wall invites Main Street into the theater. The theater lobby includes the Encore Bistro at one end and connects to the stunning lobby of the 111 Main office tower which also opened last month.  The open air, high-level Tier Three Terrace offers theater-goers a peaceful spot to have a drink at intermission or to just enjoy the lights and rooftops of downtown. Inside the 2500-seat Delta Hall is an intimate setting with unobstructed sightlines, comfortable and spacious seats, and amazing acoustics.

Backstage one finds everything a touring production or band could want.  Roomy dressing rooms and hallways,  a three-truck loading dock which is only 25 feet from the giant state-of-the-art stage , and a concert-ready sound system.

On November 15, the Carol King musical “Beautiful” opened the first of eight performances with 96% of all seats filled.  This was the start of the biggest season of touring theater ever brought to Utah, with hits from Kinky Boots and Matilda to the Lion King and Book of Mormon.  Ticket sales records will be set for every one of these shows.   Next week will bring an all-time holiday favorite, White Christmas.1112161501-beaut-1-2k

Generations of Utahns to come will enjoy the best shows from Broadway, and concerts from around the world.  Former Mayor Ralph Becker has given us a performing arts palace that is certain be an important community treasure well into the next century.

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