Saddle Up! for the Egyptian
The Egyptian Theatre’s impressive list of shows this year may not have been possible if not for outside help.
"The only way we can get money to put on these shows is through fundraising and through sponsorship by businesses and grants," said Kay Ellis, board member of the Egyptian Theatre Company.
That’s why, she said, this weekend’s fundraiser, "Saddle Up!," is "very important."
"Saddle Up!" will take place Saturday, May 5, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the National Ability Center Arena.
Recently, the Egyptian has focused on producing full-scale musicals and "Off-Broadway" shows.
"Musicals are very costly to produce," said Dana Durbano, artistic director for the Egyptian Theatre. "A typical budget is right around $120,000."
The theatre seats only 266 people and Durbano said the ticket prices cover less than half of the production costs. Other theaters in the area seat around 500 people, according to Ellis.
Over the last three years, Durbano said they have been producing bigger musicals with 14 to 20 cast members, compared to four to six before.
"Then you add a live band to that and they are big shows," Durbano said. "Royalty costs for musicals are a lot more than straight shows."
At the same time, the bigger shows are what the public wants.
"It’s what’s filling the house, it’s what they want to see," Durbano said.
And if Parkites are to continue seeing similar shows, they have to be part of the process.
"I know that people enjoy the Egyptian Theatre Company," Durbano said. "As part of enjoying the entertainment we offer, they have to be willing to support their efforts if they want to see these particular products. They are costly."
"Saddle Up!" is the Egyptians biggest fundraiser of the year.
"We rely on it," Durbano said. "It’s what will propel us into our summer season. This is the biggy."
This year’s event will once again have a Western theme combined with a Mexican flair because it’s taking place on Cinco de Mayo.
"This year we were able to do something different by combining it with Cinco de Mayo."
The evening will include a Tex-Mex barbecue dinner by Good Thymes. There will be quesadillas for appetizers, and other typical Western food including pulled pork, black beans and rice, barbequed salmon, vinaigrette salad and sopopillas for desert.
There will be dancing to deejay Bill Buckley of KSOP radio, live entertainment by The Cowboys of Cowboy Night and the Cowgirl Chorus, the Egyptian Youththeatre and other entertainment.
There will be live and silent auctions featuring items that are expensive to affordable. The list includes a champagne hot air balloon ride, Deer Valley ski pass, fly-fishing on the Green River, Jazz tickets, and a Jazz team autographed ball and a Sundance Film Festival package. There will be an auction for a Harley motorcycle, dinner with Jim Shea, and cameo roles with "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Halloween with Sweeney Todd."
"This is the most fun for a fundraiser around for only $100 per person," Ellis said.
Lannie Scopes will provide a lot of the cowboy entertainment.
"He’s done it for three years, he knows what it takes," Ellis said.
He’s organized Western music and gunfights.
The event will start off with the Cowgirl Chorus featuring Sage Brush Shannon and Calamity Cait.
"They are going to sing with their sweet brand of harmonies that will bring a tear to your eye," Scopes said. "Then all of a sudden we will have a shootout with Pat Garrett, Baby Face Slade and Pedro Gonzales."
After the gunfight, there will be some cowboy humor, songs from Scopes’ band "In-cahoots," doing old western tunes, and poems from cowboy poet Fred Engel.
"He’s one of the best cowboy poets in the West," Scopes said.
Scopes said for people who haven’t been to this event in the past, as soon as you walk into the dirt floor of the equestrian center at the National Ability Center, it’s like stepping back in time.
"You’ll be greeted by cowboys and cowgirls with a hearty, ‘howdy,’" Scopes said.
Scopes continues to be part of this fundraiser because of what the Egyptian Theatre brings to the community.
"I think it just provides culture, high quality theatre performances for the locals and it gives tourists a little glimpse or insight into the Park City Community.
Saddle Up! will take place May 5 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the National Ability Center Arena. Individual tickets are $100, table sponsorships are $1,000. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Egyptian Theatre box office at 435-649-9371.
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