Broadway hits coming to Egyptian Theatre
On the verge of completing his first year as the executive director of the Egyptian Theatre, Lynn Suksdorf has accumulated an impressive list of shows.
In two weeks, the Egyptian Theatre will announce its 2007 season at a party to also celebrate its 25th-year anniversary.
"There’s a real strong balance of professional productions," Suksdorf said. "Everything that we are doing are award-winning production shows."
At the top of the list may be "The Who’s Tommy," a past favorite on Broadway. The musical will run Feb. 9 through March 10.
"When we saw ‘Tommy’ available, we just jumped on it," Suksdorf said.
But it wasn’t that easy for the Egyptian Theatre. Suksdorf snagged the script after heated competition.
"It was highly competitive," Suksdorf said. "We had to send information on other shows to prove that we were able to produce the quality and size of production that ‘Tommy’ is. They questioned that and we convinced them we were good enough to do ‘Tommy.’"
Obtaining the rights to produce the classic rock opera has its competitive hurdles but also isn’t easy on the pocketbook.
"It’s an expensive show to put on," Suksdorf said. "The royalties are high."
Suksdorf said it was the most expensive show they will have produced since he’s been there and the most expensive of the new season.
The show will feature an all-star team of directors, according to Suksdorf. Jerry Rapier will be producing and David Evanoff will direct the music. Unique to this show is the costume designer Jann Haworth.
"Jann designed costumes for ‘Tommy’ in London," Suksdorf said. "It was a coup, a major coup. She and Peter Townsend are friends. Having her do it is unbelievable.
"With David, Jerry and Jann, this is going to be an amazing production. I’m very excited about that trio."
Haworth, Suksdorf said, would be too expensive to hire but she is doing it as a favor.
"We couldn’t offer her the money she’s worth," Suksdorf said. "She’ll add such a dimension. If people miss it there’s something wrong."
The show will include a multi-talented cast. "The Who’s Tommy" demands actors to stretch their abilities.
"It’s a real stretch for casting," Suksdorf said. "They have to sing and dance. They have to be really good singers and really good dancers."
However, "The Who’s Tommy" isn’t the only big-name musical that will grace the Egyptian Theatre stage. In mid-August, Suksdorf and the theatre made a change to their Christmas show. They canceled the "A Broadway Christmas Carol" for a show that hasn’t been on stage for 20 years.
Suksdorf and his staff saw that "White Christmas" was available and they shut down everything to get that show here.
"We tried to get the rights for December 2007 but they said it was only available for 2006," Suksdorf said.
It was a no-brainer for Suksdorf, since it has been in the vault for two decades.
"We said ‘yes,’" he said.
"White Christmas" will be on stage from Nov. 24 through Dec. 30th.
"It’s going to be a wonderful show," Suksdorf said. "It will be a great show for locals, people on the Wasatch Front and for tourists. It has great appeal."
Jim Christian was brought in as the director and has directed shows at the Egyptian previously. Their first rehearsal was Monday night.
"It’s going to be a show that will easily sell out," Suksdorf said. "People have seen the movie and they will be really interested in seeing it live on stage."
At one point "White Christmas" was selling more tickets than October’s "Wiley and the Hairy Man," according to Suksdorf.
"The challenge for me is, I have to produce two expensive productions back-to-back for the town and guests," he said. "That’s two amazing productions."
Because of the costs related to producing "The Who’s Tommy" and "White Christmas," The Egyptian Theatre is looking for corporate sponsors.
"We need local sponsors to support them," Suksdorf said.
The new season begins just before the Sundance Film Festival begins. Brought back by "popular demand" the Egyptian Theatre will show "Robert Dubac’s Intellect: The Saga Continued" Jan. 10-13.
The theatre’s summer season will present "Little Shop of Horrors," which will play July 6 through Aug. 8.
"Some people think its dark, but I think it’s hilarious," Suksdorf said.
A year from now, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" will show from Oct. 5 through 31.
"It’s a Broadway winner and a great show," Suksdorf said. "I saw it with Angela Landsbury. It’s a great fall Halloween show. Another award-winning production."
For the holidays of 2007, the theatre will produce "Peter Pan."
"We’re going to actually fly Tinker Bell," Suksdorf said.
Suksdorf is excited about his second year with the Egyptian Theatre and the shows he will help produce.
"We have a fun balance of shows for next season. There are great things for families and adults. There’s something for everybody from children to baby-boomers. There’s great music and great acting. "People will continue to enjoy what we present."
On Nov. 11, the Egyptian Theatre will hold its 25th anniversary party. The band Take 5 will perform. The party will highlight the new season and celebrate its past seasons. It will be a Park City black tie party with food, beverages and a live band. There will also be dancing on the stage. All patrons who have purchased tickets for "A Broadway Christmas Carol" will be able to transfer their tickets. For more information or for tickets to the anniversary party or shows, call the box office at 649-9371.
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Hotel occupancy in the Park City area during Sundance is projected to drop dramatically from a typical year as organizers shift the event online.