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Egyptian Theatre enlivens Main Street

The Park Record Editorial, July 17-19, 2013

Lots of things have changed on Main Street over the years, but one beloved mainstay is still captivating new and old fans.

Despite growing competition from younger, flashier special events, the 87-year-old Egyptian Theater continues to deliver star-quality live performances, from intimate folk concerts to elaborate musicals. In doing so, it contributes immeasurably to the economic vitality of Park City’s commercial core.

This month, the Egyptian is presenting "Evita," the Tony-award-winning musical by the team that created "Phantom of the Opera," and the production quality, we would argue, rivals that of theaters in many larger metro areas. The show is augmented by a new video system that displays historical video images of the real Eva Perón, the charismatic first lady of Argentina, on whom the story is based.

Over the years, the Egyptian Theatre has presented equally challenging productions including "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Hair," "Tommy," and "Chicago," to name just a few. For each, the directors have been forced to squeeze all of the action onto the Egyptian’s relatively tight stage. As a result, audiences are engulfed by the drama and the talent.

Between major productions, the theater hosts concerts, comedy acts and Sundance Film Festival premieres. That year-round calendar of events serves as an important draw to Park City’s restaurants and nightclubs, and gives Main Street an enviable edge.

But sustaining live theater isn’t easy. It takes commitment — both emotional and economic. According to the Egyptian’s programming and operations manager (and "Evita’s director) Amber Hansen, royalties and production costs are increasing. The cost to produce shows like "Evita" hover around $100,000. Ticket sales and sponsorships, she says, are critical to their ability to continue producing full-scale productions.

To help ensure the Egyptian’s continued run of success, we suggest taking in a show, then making a night of it on Main Street. "Evita" runs Thursdays to Sundays through July 28. Better yet, sign up to become a member of the Egyptian’s Pharaoh Club, and enjoy special benefits throughout the year along with the knowledge that you are upholding an important pillar of Main Street’s cultural heritage. For more information, log on to http://www.egyptiantheatrecompany.org


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