Utah Community Theater Performs for Big Bucks

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Hale Centre Theatre calls itself “Utah’s Premiere Family Theatre,” and if premiere means money, the community playhouse might just be first in the nation.

hale-centre-theatre
Hale Centre Theatre

The Salt Lake Tribune reports today that the company “now commands an annual operating budget of $7.3 million, up $900,000 from last year.” And its top three execs are bringing in worthy incomes. Notes the Tribune:

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The company’s 2011 tax records show that theater president Mark Dietlein, grandson to founder Ruth Hale, reported $150,996 in income that year, plus $15,000 in additional compensation for his retirement account. Wife Sally Dietlein, the theater’s vice president, received $120,000 in income and also $15,000 in her retirement account. Brent Lange, vice president and chief administrative officer, earned $133,000 plus $12,000 in a retirement account.

The stage is based in West Valley City, a Salt Lake City suburb of 130,000. But taking a cue from little Ollie Twist, the Hale execs have said, “Please, sir, I want some more.” They’ve agreed to move the operation to another Salt Lake suburb, 87,500-pop Sandy. Hale has purchased 11.5 acres for $7.5 million, and will build an expanded three-stage facility for $65 million.

Comparing the new site to the present one, Deseret News reports:

The Centre Stage Theatre will have a capacity of 800 seats, the Proscenium will hold 700, and the black box theater will seat 300. The facility will also include spaces for receptions and business meetings, as well as expanded set design shops and costume rooms…

…The current West Valley City facility has one stage and 613 seats. The new main theater in Sandy will be slightly larger than the current theater with an additional row and improved legroom.

The theater is currently performing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang through April 13, and the rest of this year will feature No Time for Sergeants, Ragtime, Tarzan, Brigadoon, and A Christmas Carol.

Read more about Hale’s moving to Sandy here. You can experience West Valley City’s disappointment at the move here. Concerns about Hale’s seeking more taxpayer funds can be seen here. The theatre’s website is here.