By Katie Peikes,
The Herald Journal
Published: Thursday, June 2, 2016

Nine years and $11.5 million later, the Utah Theatre at 18 W. Center St. will finally open to the public June 24.

Michael Ballam, the founding general director of the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, was on a yearlong sabbatical in Italy over a decade ago. When he returned to Logan, he drove past the theater and saw, to his disappointment, that it was closed. He called Gary Griffin, the managing director of the UFOMT and inquired about it.

When Griffin found out the theater was owned by the Hansen family, he called them to ask what they were going to do with it.

“He (Keith Hansen) said he was waiting for Mr. Ballam to come back so he could sell it to him,” Griffin said.

They closed the paperwork within seven days, in 2006.

And that’s when Ballam started to work on his vision for the theater. The former Utah Theatre had been a movie theater, but Ballam knew he wanted something that combined the former purpose with live theater, he said.

“It’s going to be a unique theater in Northern Utah,” Ballam said. “We’re going to be able to do things that we cannot do in the (Ellen) Eccles Theatre or any other theater north of Salt Lake City.”

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