2018 In Review

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Another year has come and gone, and as we look back at 2018, we see all the challenges we faced, the progress we made, and the successes we had.

The year started off on a disappointing note when newly-elected Mayor Jim Riding announced after a months-long delay in beginning construction on West Jordan’s performing arts center that construction was being put on hold until the spring. The reasoning was that the city could save money by getting all the work done at once and by avoiding winter weather delays.

Winter 2018 ended up being quite mild, however, and prices of materials and labor increased during the months of delay. By the time spring rolled around, the city found itself facing a drastically increased price tag for the facility, and the delay dragged on until August when a letter from City Manager David Brickey informed the West Jordan Arts Council that the proposed site of the arts center (1855 W. 7800 S.) was being dropped as a viable location for the facility due to land usage issues related to the property.

Throughout the year, the public was given small updates on the city council’s progress from time to time via a Facebook group set up by a resident to encourage conversation and the open exchange of information related to the arts center. As of this writing, the city council is tentatively planning to build on the city-owned land where the West Jordan sugar factory building once stood, and a pre-fabricated edifice is currently the most likely building option. We are anxiously awaiting any further developments. In the meantime, we will continue performing shows at Pioneer Hall in the spring and fall and at the Midvale Performing Arts Center in the summer and winter.

We started out 2018 with a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” written by Oscar Wilde and directed by Kristen Hickman. Performances were held April 12-21 at Pioneer Hall in West Jordan. The set and costumes were the stand-outs for this show; the backdrop of the set was something of a giant coloring book whose pages turned to reveal a new setting with each scene change. The costumes were colorful and detailed extravagantly. The comedy was quick and nimble, and audiences ate it up. Read Front Row Reviewers Utah’s review of the show here and Utah Theatre Bloggers Association’s review here.

Following the close of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” we jumped right into production on “All Shook Up,” a youthful tale of romance, rebellion, and rock-n-roll written by Joe Dipietro and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley. Michelle Groves directed. This musical comedy, inspired – believe it or not – by Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” was bright and energetic, and the music was rockin’! Performances were held at the Midvale Performing Arts Center from July 12-23. Read Front Row Reviewers Utah’s review here.

For our second annual Halloween Special, we changed gears completely and staged a production of “Frankenstein,” adapted for the stage by Mark Scharf and directed by the Brothers Green (Travis Green and Brandon Green). Back-lit scrims were used to create haunting shadows throughout this dark retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic horror story. Atmospheric lighting, carefully crafted sound design, and gripping acting had the audience jumping in their seats. Performances were held October 5-15 at Pioneer Hall, appropriately located next door to a cemetery. Read Front Row Reviewers Utah’s review here and Utah Theatre Bloggers Association’s review here.

Our Christmas show, “The Gift of the Magi,” was a hope-filled palate cleanser to wrap up our season. Karen Chatterton directed from a script by Jon Jory. A welcome change of pace from more-often-told Christmas stories, “The Gift of the Magi” transported audiences back to turn-of-the-century New York City and gave a glimpse into the struggles and joys of the time. Musical interludes added a hefty dose of Christmas spirit to this bittersweet tale of love and sacrifice. Read Front Row Reviewers Utah’s review here and Utah Theatre Bloggers Association’s review here.

As 2018 wrapped up, the West Jordan Arts Council was officially dissolved and the newly-created Cultural Arts Society of West Jordan (CASWJ) continued negotiations with the City of West Jordan to provide arts events and opportunities to the city beginning in 2019 (CASWJ is the parent organization for Sugar Factory Playhouse, the West Jordan Youth Theatre, the West Jordan Symphony, and several other organizations).

As we look forward to 2019, we are optimistic that we will see progress made on West Jordan’s performing arts center, and we look forward to putting on more quality productions throughout the year!

This is an exciting time for us, and you won’t want to miss out on news and announcements as they come! Click here to find and follow us on Facebook, and click here to find and follow us on Instagram. To subscribe to our email patron list, simply send an email request to info@sugarfactoryplayhouse.com.