The curtain will rise at the Egyptian Theatre in August after more than a year of an empty stage
'Follies’ will open a new season in August
The Egyptian Theatre is ready for its next act.
After temporarily closing and furloughing its staff during the coronavirus pandemic, the historic performing arts nonprofit will raise the curtains on its new season Aug. 27 with a nine-night run of Park City Follies, said general manager Randy Barton.
The performances will be the first big production to hit the Egyptian Theatre stage since Sam Bush performed on March 6, 2020. After five months of postponing subsequent shows, the theater shut its doors on Aug. 16 to preserve financial resources.
The idea came from the staff, and is not a management decision,” Barton said at the time.
“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.”
Barton’s decision to reopen the theater this coming August came after several Broadway productions announced they would open their shows in September.
“Over the past year, we’ve heard ‘When are you going to open?’ and my answer was ‘When you see Broadway announce its opening, that’s when we will be able to open,’” Barton said in an interview on Monday. “Broadway is the center of the world in terms of live, on-stage entertainment, and they have the same issues we have. Their theaters aren’t outdoor amphitheaters. They’re like ours, which are beautiful, historic intimate mall-lobby places where you see the wonders of the world.”
Barton also monitored the progress of COVID-19 vaccinations in Summit County, before calling Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough about the idea of reopening the Egyptian Theatre with a “Park City Follies” run.
“I called and told him that we have this great show that appeals to the locals, so not a lot of people will be flying in to see it,” Bartson said. “I said I feel comfortable selling tickets for a full house in late August. He agreed with me, and said it was prudent to do so, because we’re still four months out, and since people are getting vaccinated, Summit County should be ready for it.”
Egyptian Theatre Director of Operations Jenn Silva said tickets purchased for last year’s “Park City Follies” will be honored.
“There are also a few tickets available for the general public, but the best way to get tickets is to join our Pharaoh Club,” she said. “We always try to keep seats on hold for our members. A lot of people want to see ‘the Follies,’ because it’s such a local production.”
The plan is to sell all 357 seats in the house, according to Silva.
“That’s why we’ve waited this long,” she said. “We wanted everyone to be safe.”
Barton said the performances will become a celebration of Summit County and Park City getting through the pandemic.
“I think it will be very emotional for many people,” he said. “It will be very impactful to know our little small-town theater is open. And that, in my opinion, will put an exclamation point that COVID is over. We still have lingering issues, but we will get together and celebrate.”
“Park City Follies” isn’t the only performance that has tickets on sale, as Egyptian Theatre Program Director Amber Hansen is currently rescheduling shows that were postponed last year.
Odyssey Dance Theatre’s “Thriller” will return Sept. 24 through Oct. 10, The Ventures will perform Nov. 4-6, The Lettermen will perform a Christmas show Dec. 9-12, and the the Park City Holiday Spectacular Sing-a-Long is scheduled for Dec. 17-19.
Next year’s concerts will include K.T. Tunstall, Devotchka, Tinsley Ellis and Peter Yarrow, according to Silva.
“As we go along we will start filling more dates in October and November,” she said. “The plan is to get back to presenting shows every weekend.”
Barton said the performances aren’t the only things returning to the Egyptian Theatre.
“We got our whole staff back, including YouTheatre,” he said. “We’re hosting private socials every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night for our Pharaoh Club to get them used to going out in public until the night before we open ‘Follies.’”
The staff also includes a new face, Marketing Director Dan Radford, who spent the past five years in professional theater in New York.
“I left right before COVID, to become a creative director for a theater in Montana,” said Radford, who grew up in Idaho. “I’ve been co-producing theater in that space, and I’m excited about the Egyptian, because it has a great reputation and it’s unique in that it books a variety of entertainment. It feels like home already.”
Barton is looking forward to the Egyptian Theatre’s new era.
“Until COVID, we have not missed a weekend of putting on great shows on our stage for nine straight years,” he said. “We’ve been a big gaping hole in Main Street, and it will be one year and five months of the lack of big performances. So once we start, we want to go another 50 years of putting something on stage every week for the people of Park City.”
For information, tickets and to donate or join the Pharaoh Club, call 855-745-SHOW or visit parkcityshows.com.
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