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SALT LAKE CITY — The new George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater welcomed its first audience for an opening gala in downtown Salt Lake City Friday night.
The gorgeous new venue, located at 100 South and Main, features a huge stage that can accommodate those Broadway touring companies Utahns have come to love.
It also includes a stunning hall with rich, warm colors and a magical ceiling with lights like stars. Audiences will experience comfortable seats in an auditorium that is both large and arranged for an intimate feel.
Local leaders and Broadway greats celebrated the new facility and the vibrant arts community. Stars from the Great White Way, Rita Moreno and Brian Stokes Mitchell — both Tony winners — said Salt Lake is fortunate.
"A new theater, period! When things are so really tight in our profession. It's thrilling," Moreno said.
"For a performer, it's one of the most magical things to be a part of, the opening of a new theater," Mitchell added.
City leaders and private donors shared the vision.
"This is fantastic, it's magnificent. It's the best one now in the whole United States," said Spencer F. Eccles, chairman and CEO of the Eccles Foundation.
Former Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said, "Everything we could have dreamed of, in terms of the facility, in terms of its location and what it's doing for downtown and hopefully for the region and people who want to see performances — it's fabulous."
"I am so happy for our city and the people," said Salt Lake Mayor Jackie Biskupski, "because this space is built for everyone."
Friday's gala performance included dancers from Ballet West and Ririe Woodbury.
A public open house this weekend will include free performances Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform "Music and the Spoken Word" from the Eccles Theater. It will also be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.