Egyptian Theatre will temporarily close to preserve financial resources | ParkRecord.com
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Egyptian Theatre will temporarily close to preserve financial resources

Park City’s historic Egyptian Theatre will close indefinitely on Sunday, Aug. 16, to conserve its financial resources. Although the theater isn’t going out of business, the staff — citing the coronavirus pandemic — decided to go on furlough until it was safe to reopen the theater to performances, according to manager Randy Barton..
Park Record file photo

To donate to the Egyptian Theatre, visit parkcityshows.com or giving-guide.parkcitycf.org/donate/Egyptian-Theatre. For information call 855-745-SHOW or email feedback@parkcityshows.com.

The Egyptian Theatre plans to shut off its footlights, albeit temporarily.

The historic venue, which has presented Tony-winning musicals such as “A Chorus Line” and “Singin’ In The Rain,” Grammy Award-winning singers, hundreds of Sundance Film Festival screenings and the Park City Follies, will close its doors indefinitely starting Sunday, Aug. 16, due to COVID-19 to conserve its financial resources, said Randy Barton, Egyptian Theatre manager.

“The important message is that we are not going to go out of business, but we really can’t figure out how to safely put anything onto our stage right now,” Barton said.

During the shutdown, the theater’s staff will go on furlough, he said.

We are not going to go out of business, but we really can’t figure out how to safely put anything onto our stage right now…” Randy Barton, Egyptian Theatre manager

“This idea came from the staff, and is not a management decision,” Barton said. “We all agreed to do this, so when we are able to get back to doing what we do, we will do it at the high level we are accustomed to and what the community expects from us.”

At the moment, Barton doesn’t know when that will be.

“We’re going to wait it out, but we can promise that we won’t present ping-pong championships,” he said. “We will get back to top-notch, world-class, hall of fame, Grammy- and Tony-winning entertainment that is live for a full house to enjoy.”

The idea to temporarily shut down the theater had been tossed around when Park City went into the coronavirus in March, but other house-keeping projects required attention.

“No one had a clear understanding of how the Egyptian Theatre would return, but we had things to do during the break,” he said. “We had major technological and database upgrades to do, and we did a lot of tidying up and organizing.”

In the meanwhile, Barton and award-winning local singer-songwriter Robyn Cage performed small, intimate concerts called Broadway Faces for the theater’s Pharaoh Club members.

The theater also ran a successful YouTheatre summer camp led by director Jamie Wilcox, Barton said.

“So, we’ve been busy up to this point, but we knew when the summer was ending that we wouldn’t have anything to do,” he said. “But we’ll be ready and willing to open up on the very first date that will be safely possible for us to put 357 people in our theater.”

Barton will use the time off to do some fundraising, because it takes roughly $22,000 a night to present a concert or play, he said.

“Expenses include artist deposits, advertising, tech and running the show, so it will be a major expense for us to rev back up when we do open,” he said.

Donations will be accepted through the Egyptian Theatre’s website, and through the Park City Community Foundation’s website, giving-guide.parkcitycf.org/donate/Egyptian-Theatre.

All donations through the Park City Community Foundation will be matched with its Community Response Fund, according to Barton.

In addition, Pharaoh Club members can renew their memberships as well.

“Our Pharaoh Club has been strong, and donations have been steady,” he said. “This is usually the busy time when club members will renew their memberships, and we hope the community will stick with us.”

The donations have continued because people who have purchased tickets for canceled shows have either donated the money or purchased gift cards for future performances, Barton said.

“Because of that, we’ve also had negative ticket sales in regards to refunds in the past six months,” he said.

For the time being, Barton invites Egyptian Theatre supporters and the general public to check out an eight-panel “mini-museum” exhibit located in the venue’s breezeway that connects Swede Alley to Main Street.

The panels, which were installed over the past six months and are on display 24 hours a day, include the Egyptian Theatre’s Bansky painting, information on the Sundance Film Festival and the many theaters that existed in the location throughout the times, he said.

“It’s a tribute to the Egyptian Theatre’s rich history as it survived through the decades and continues to survive through the hardships of today,” he said.

The panels are designed to highlight the relationship of the Egyptian Theatre to Park City.

“We have been part of this community in one form or another since the 1870s, and our ability to put on live shows is, I think, integral to life in Park City as we know it,” Barton said. “We’re so thankful for the support we get, and we are so anxious to get back to the great programming the community expects from us.”


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