By Nicole Kimzey
In 2008, Hurricane City Manager Clark Fawcett was trying to figure out what to do with the theater space in the Fine Arts building. He met Kyle Myrick, one thing led to another, and the Hurricane Valley Theatrical Company was born.
Their first show opened in 2009, and since then, Hurricane Valley Theatrical Company has been producing one successful show after another. This fall will be no exception, but this time they will be doing it better than ever thanks to the upgrades and renovations made possible by funds from the RAP Tax granted to them by the Hurricane City Council. The funds are being used to upgrade the theater’s sound board, create a new sound booth, install new lights and powerbars, and create a new, bigger box office.
Kyle Myrick, company founder and artistic director, has been working around the clock to make sure these renovations are completed before their next show, AIDA, opens Oct. 7.
“Compared to what we have been working with, this is the equivalent of stepping off a horse-drawn carriage and into a Lamborghini!” Myrick said of the upgrades.
While many of the upgrades will not be noticeable to the naked eye, patrons will notice one of them as soon as they walk into the lobby. The newer, bigger box office will provide those attending performances a better and more efficient ticketing experience. It also provides much needed office space for the day-to-day operations for the Fine Arts Center and for the Hurricane Valley Theatrical Company.
Another upgrade that will be obvious to patrons will wait for them just inside the theater; there is a new sound booth where the back five rows used to be. In the past, the sound booth has been above the audience in a room near the ceiling.
“With the new booth we are now able to be in the correct spot to create the most magical experience for our audiences,” said Myrick.
The booth itself is not the only major upgrade that affects the sound. Inside the sound booth is a new state-of-the-art digital sound board.
“Our old sound board was an analogue sound mixer with very limited capabilities,” said Myrick. “Our new [sound board] gives us immense capabilities that we have never had before. People will be able to hear no matter where they are sitting. No more spots that are too loud or … too soft.” To go along with the board are new microphones for actors with top-of-the-line microphone elements, giving them the ability to be heard more clearly than ever before.
Lighting has always been something the Hurricane Valley Theatrical Company has struggled with in the past. When the company raised the curtain on their first production, it was using the same lighting system that was installed in the building in 1968. Two years ago, Dixie State University graciously loaned the company some much needed dimmers, but this summer, DSU needed the dimmers back, and the company was left with nothing.
“Before the RAP Tax we didn’t have any capability of lights at all,” Myrick said. “Now, thanks to the RAP Tax, we have the best versions of dimming on the market. We will have more lights, colors, and special effects as well as mood lighting, the ability to isolate an individual actor, and so many more lighting options. In most cases, it’s one of those upgrades the audience won’t even be conscious of, but they will know they are seeing something incredible.”
Myrick’s excitement about all of these renovations is apparent whenever he talks about it.
“We always have the best quality shows from the actors, but now we have [the] technology on our side that we have not had before,” Myrick said. “Our goal is that people will be taken into the world of the show and not necessarily notice these amazing upgrades. Our production value is going to be better than ever, so the audiences are hopefully going to be so wrapped up with the performances on stage that they will no longer be distracted by the technical shortcomings.”
Hurricane City Manager Clark Fawcett says he hopes the company can expand to do more than two shows a year.
“I also hope it brings in other groups when HVTC is not using the theater,” said Fawcett. “The space is ideal for BYU musical groups, dance groups, concerts, and other groups. It’s a great space, and with the renovations it will be even better. It’s a great jewel for the city, and I hope we can make further renovations in the future.”
When asked about the future of Hurricane Valley Theatrical Company, Kyle smiled as he replied.
“The upgrades that we are doing now will enable us to have a long future,” said Myrick.
That future includes a 2017 season that will bring the southern Utah premier of two great musicals: “Catch Me If You Can,” based on the hit movie starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, and “Ghost” based on the hit movie starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg. Kyle is anxious for these shows to be available to southern Utah audiences for the first time.
For now, Myrick is firmly focused on finishing up the renovations and opening the company’s next show, Elton John and Tim Rice’s “AIDA,” a winner of four Tony Awards. It is an epic tale of love, loyalty, and betrayal chronicling the love triangle between Aida, a Nubian princess stolen from her country (double cast with Liliana Corona and McKenzie Morgan); Amneris, an Egyptian princess (Sammy Myrick); and Radames, the soldier they both love (Chance Steglich). With unforgettable soaring ballads, rousing choral numbers, memorable costumes, and exuberant choreography, AIDA is a family-friendly modern musical that will have you on your feet. AIDA is directed by Myrick with music direction by Kimber Dutton, choreography by Brayden Morgan and lighting design by Tanner Olsen.
AIDA runs Oct. 7–29 every Monday, Friday, and Saturday at 7 p.m. with Saturday Matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at hurricanetheatrical.com.