SANDY — Sally Dietlein's eyes teared up Wednesday as she toured the construction site of the new Hale Centre Theatre.
The theater's vice president said she and her husband, theater president Mark Dietlein, have dreamed for years of finally seeing its walls rise out of the ground. But what touches her heart the most, she said, is knowing how the theater's hundreds of actors and staffers will love their new home.
"It's the dream of an entire community," she said. "This is their new play yard. This is their new dream yard."
Now eight months have passed since the $65 million theater's groundbreaking, and thousands of yards of concrete have been poured around a steel rebar skeleton to form the beginnings of 112-foot walls, giving Utahns a first peak at the structure of the 130,000-square-foot, 1,360-seat giant.
With grand openings of the theater's two stages slated for the fall of 2017 — one in September and the other in November — Dietlein announced Hale Centre Theatre's 2017 season Wednesday.
"The past 30 years have been an amazing ride for us, and 2017 marks an exciting new age for Hale Centre Theatre," Dietlein said, noting how the theater's audience outgrew its first location in South Salt Lake, and now its current West Valley location.
"So here we are today, announcing our exciting 2017 entertainment season and building an incredible new performing arts center," she said.
The season's first five shows will remain in West Valley City while construction continues on the Sandy theater, Dietlein said, but the musical "Forever Plaid" will be the first play under the new theater's roof.
Its Sept. 1, 2017, opening night will mark the premier of the first stage, the 460-seat, crescent moon-shaped Jewel Box Theatre, and the first performance Utahns will get to experience in the new Sandy location.
As for the larger, 900-seat center stage — built by Tait Towers-Stage Technologies, the same company behind the Sochi 2014 Olympic ceremonies and Las Vegas' Cirque du Soleil — Dietlein said a favorite Disney classic was chosen to show off the stage's "breathtaking technology."
"Aida" will open Nov. 16, 2017, and run until Jan 20, 2018, celebrating the theater's full opening.
"That is going to be a magnificent premier," Dietlein said.
Jeff Beecher, vice president of Layton Construction, who has helped oversee the project, said it's going to be a "phenomenal building."
He added that crews have dug a 70-foot-deep hole to house the center stage's lift equipment, which will allow segments of the stage to rise, fall, rotate and slide.
"Hale Centre Theatre does great things with what it has now, so it's going to be unbelievable what they're going to be able to do with this building," Beecher said.
HCT 2017 season
- "The Nerd," Dec. 31, 2016-Feb. 4 in West Valley City
- "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," Feb. 17-April 8 in West Valley City
- "To Kill a Mockingbird," April 15-May 27 in West Valley City
- TBA, June 2-Aug. 12 in West Valley City
- "The Heart of Robin Hood," Aug. 25-Oct. 14 in West Valley City
- "Forever Plaid," Sept. 1-Nov. 15 in Jewel Box Theatre in Sandy
- "A Bundle of Trouble," Oct. 21-Nov. 30 in West Valley City
- "Aida," Nov. 16-Jan. 20, 2018 on Sandy Centre Stage
- "A Christmas Carol," Dec. 1-Dec. 23 in Jewel Box Theatre in Sandy
Contributing: Keith McCord