Utah Theatre

148 S. Main Street,
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

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Showing 1 - 25 of 78 comments

Randy A Carlisle
Randy A Carlisle on June 14, 2023 at 3:35 pm

How saddening.. Per Googlemaps, June 2022, this theatre is totally gone! RAC Photography

ghamilton on June 16, 2022 at 11:49 pm

That this great theater could not/was not saved,is a travesty and cultural CRIME.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 19, 2022 at 4:17 pm

Demolition began on April 19, 2022.

rivest266 on April 4, 2022 at 5:21 pm

The Penthouse opened on July 12th, 1968 and renamed Utah 2 on September 14th, 1973. 1919, 1929, 1937m 1968 and 1973 grand opening ads posted.

DavidZornig on July 12, 2021 at 4:20 pm

Closed in 1988 per the below article, which says the Utah Theatre is in danger of demolition and being replaced by a residential tower project.


DavidZornig on April 19, 2018 at 4:36 am

1927 promotional photo added for “Napoleon The Great” at the Pantages Theatre. Source unknown.

bireno on February 16, 2018 at 10:11 am

For several summers (early 70s) “The Sound of Music” returned. Matinees were 35 cents.

In3rdmillennium on December 7, 2015 at 1:35 pm

There are some renovations taking place in the surrounding area. Hopefully the Utah Theatre is on the list. It’s fun to walk around downtown and see some of the remaining buildings. A lot of history. Babe Ruth was part of a Vaudeville Troup that performed at the Utah Theatre (then The Pantages). I saw Earthquake here for the first time, in Sensurround Oooo.

DavidZornig on April 22, 2014 at 4:51 am

And one from 1920 of the completed entrance.

DavidZornig on April 22, 2014 at 4:47 am

Just added a photo of the Pantages Theatre under construction 1919, photo courtesy of the Old Pictures Facebook page.

BobFurmanek on March 22, 2013 at 5:22 am

Here’s a 1952 article on the popular kiddie shows: http://www.boxoffice.com/the_vault/issue_page?issue_id=1952-11-1&page_no=38#page_start

ghamilton on August 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Article in today’s Tribune goes into continuing limbo of this wonderful venue.Best thing is a gallery of recent interior shots.

William on March 19, 2010 at 12:51 am

ken, the b&w shot in your post of Mar. 2nd. is from 1963 “Hatari!” the other one was 1953.

TLSLOEWS on March 19, 2010 at 12:23 am

Thanks again ken mc.

TLSLOEWS on March 3, 2010 at 1:50 am

Nice old photos ken mc.

HowardBHaas on December 31, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Are current plans really to restore to its original grandeur the original single auditorium space or will it be subdivided into smaller spaces for different uses?

Hyde on December 24, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Here is the article that ghamiliton was writing about. You’re right it’s GREAT NEWS!

Salt Lake City buys historic Utah Theater Downtown.
Aim is to turn mothballed classic into center of a film center.
By Derek P. Jensen And Rosemary Winters

The Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake City has gift-wrapped a dusty downtown jewel for future generations of film fans.

After years of discussion, the city’s Redevelopment Agency agreed Wednesday to buy Main Street’s Utah Theater for $5.5 million.

Now, depending on the renovation cost and mix of tenants, Salt Lake County is eyeballing the onetime downtown destination between 100 South and 200 South as a future haven for film.

“This is really the first tangible step in creating a downtown cultural district,” said RDA Chairman Eric Jergensen, who pushed the board to close the deal with developer Rick Howa before year’s end. “I’m pleased. It’s a benefit for both sides.”

Jergensen said the sale is expected to wrap up by Jan. 6.

Once listed at $10 million, the city had a tacit agreement to finance the purchase of the mothballed theater for $7 million. But by using $2 million set aside for a county facility “near” Capitol Theatre, the RDA board was able to do the deal for $5.5 million cash.

“If the deal closes, that’s fantastic,” said Salt Lake County Council Chairman Joe Hatch, who scolded the city last month for dragging its feet on the purchase.

Hatch notes the county is eager to pursue the renovation and eventual management of what would be a film center, depending on cost. The County Council already has set aside some cash to evaluate that price. An initial estimate pegs renovating just the ornate theater portion of what is a three-building complex at $25 million.

“We can’t know how much it’s going to cost until we know who the tenants are going to be,” Hatch explained.

SLC Film Center, Salt Lake Film Society and youth-media-educator Spy Hop Productions hope to occupy the building. The three groups have worked together to create a vision for the film center, which could include screening rooms, studio space, film archives and media-arts exhibits. It also could provide space to visiting movie productions.

“The dream would be that it’s a facility for film and filmmakers, film production, film exhibition and … next generation storytellers,” said Geralyn Dreyfous, executive director of SLC Film Center, which screens flicks at Salt Lake City’s Main Library and other locations.

The Utah Theater, she added, is “such a jewel. Anything we can do to preserve it would be a great honor and privilege.”

Hatch expects decisions on a renovation timeline this winter.

In the short term, Jergensen said, the city’s RDA plans to fix up 15,000 square feet of retail space attached to the theater to provide more “activity” on Main Street.

Mayor Ralph Becker and city officials still are pursuing development of a 2,400-seat Broadway-style theater, known as the Utah Performance Center, across the street. But, according to RDA documents, the redevelopment of the Utah Theater “is vital to the success of the north end of Main Street.”

ghamilton on December 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm

GREAT NEWS-I guess.In today’s SL Trib,is the news that SLC has bought the entire complex for 5.5 or 7 mil,depending on definitions,for a “film center”.All sounds good,so far.The article also includes photos of various shots of the place now.

drsevrin on December 14, 2009 at 1:38 am

Thanks for the reply. I have to confess I have no memory of the Studio, but many of the Utah and Centre. It’s also nice to know the old Rialto survives as the “Off-Broadway”, which, if I’m not mistaken makes it the 2nd oldest operating theatre in SLC, behind the Capitol. As for the Utah, I’ve learned not to count my chickens until they’ve hatched. Let’s hope this all pans out without a hitch. Cheers.

drsevrin on December 13, 2009 at 6:47 am

Sorry, Chuck1231, I didn’t notice Hyde had already commented on the photo.

drsevrin on December 13, 2009 at 6:31 am

The July news is fantastic. This is the best possible outcome. The Utah deserves to be a film house, not a live performance venue. That was always her lot. Having the SL Film Society run the show is awesome – returning the Utah to her 1980’s “glory” as an alternative film venue, void of all the stale, generic, antiseptic “qualities” of the modern megaplex: sameness, cheapness, smallness, sameness, more cheapness, and the overall sense of watching a movie in a strip mall. My prayers have been answered.

BTW, Chuck1231, your photo is awesome, but it’s of the old Studio Theater across the street, later to be named the “Utah III”: http://utahtheaters.info/TheaterMain.asp?ID=121

Hyde on September 24, 2009 at 3:38 am

Great News! This article appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune on July 15, 2009.

Utah Theater to house film center
By Rosemary Winters

Visions of a film center on Main Street now include brick and mortar.

Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency agreed Tuesday to buy the historic Utah Theater and neighboring retail spaces for $7 million.

The shuttered buildings — at 144 S. and 156 S. Main — are owned by developer Rick Howa and are across the street from the city’s planned Broadway-style theater.

“A film center is central to downtown’s cultural corridor,” Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, said in a statement. “The Utah Theater has languished for many years, and now there is movement and a clear plan going forward as part of a larger vision for Main Street. This is great news.”

The Salt Lake Film Society, SLC Film Center and Spy Hop Productions want to create a venue for independent films and art exhibitions that could be used by the Sundance Film Festival and other groups.

The venture has been pushed by, among others, Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank.

To pay for the properties, the RDA is soliciting proposals from banks willing to offer a $10 million revolving line of credit at 1 percent interest, with no principal payments due until 2015. The money also could fund other expenses related to creating a downtown cultural district.

In April, Salt Lake County adopted an expansive cultural master plan that includes the film center as one of 15 “master plan projects” recommended for county funds.

The Utah Theater was passed over last year in the capital’s casting call for a space for a 2,400-seat Broadway playhouse. Mayor Ralph Becker instead picked the Newspaper Agency Corp. building across Main.

A renovation of the Utah Theater for the center has been pegged at roughly $25 million.

The theater debuted in 1918 as a stage for vaudeville performances. Later it became a movie house, but has not functioned as one since Cineplex Odeon left in the 1980s.

“It’s had a very important place on Main Street for decades,” said City Councilman Eric Jergensen, who is chairman of the Redevelopment Agency Board. “We have the ability to take it and rejuvenate it as a very important place on Main Street for decades to come.”

Hyde on May 6, 2009 at 2:36 am

The American Classic Images Photo is actually of the former Studio Theatre which was located across the street from the Utah Theatre. The Studio Theatre was renamed The Utah 3 in the 70’s or 80’s. The Utah Theatre was twinned in the 60’s and named The Utah and Utah Penthouse Theatres. The name was later changed to Utah 1 and 2.