Utah Stories

Babs in The City

Salt Lake’s Capitol Theatre gets an upgrade.


 DSC_0360The Angels Are Falling!

This time next year we’ll all be trying to find our seats at the new Eccles Performing Arts Center on Main Street for one of a slew of Broadway touring shows. Until then, theater-goers will still patronize the Capitol Theatre on Broadway, happy to see Wicked, The Book of Mormon, or Eddie Izzard’s stand-up comedy. The Capitol was built in 1913 and was known as the Orpheum. It was Salt Lake’s sexiest and most arty building, designed with steel and decorated with tapestry brick and polychrome terra cotta.

The theater’s history is rich and varied. First it was a stage for early vaudevillians who entertained crowds for $.10 to $.75 a ticket. Talking pictures came in 1929 with a live musician playing a Wurlitzer organ. Big  plays shared the stage as well. In 1947, the theater had a terrible fire and the usher who was killed is said to haunt the playhouse to this day. The building was restored and updated, but by the 1970s it was not in great shape.

Salt Lake County bought the building, restored and reopened it to house dance companies, opera and touring shows in 1978. It has been updated since then because production companies with big shows demanded a more state-of-the-art performance space. For example, Miss Saigon couldn’t play here because the helicopter was too big for the stage!

Why has scaffolding covered Capitol Theatre’s fancy façade for the last two months? Because the angels were falling! In all the remodels over the years there was a big boo-boo. Other than repainting them, cherubs and beehive sculptures adorning the front face were neglected. Recently, sculptural bits began falling onto the sidewalk. It was discovered that the statutory needed reattaching so that the historic angels won’t fall and create more ghosts. Not to worry, Nutcracker fans, all will be well by the time you dream of sugar plum fairies.


Babs headshotBabs De Lay is a broker with Urban Utah Homes and Estates

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