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Donations sought to renovate historic theater in downtown Spanish Fork

May 13, 2016 11:28AM

Curt Gordon has helped the music happen at Boothe Brothers Theatre for 16 years. Now, after purchasing the facility, he’s looking to the public to help make the music continue into the future.

Gordon became the owner of the theater, located at 165 N. Main in Spanish Fork, in February and renovation work is now underway. The foyer has been redone and the show room repainted. A new proscenium for the stage is under construction and should be installed by early June.

To raise money to complete all the work that needs to be done, Gordon started a fundraiser on www.gofundme.com. He hopes to raise $25,000, which would pay for a number of projects including:

  • Restoring the building’s façade and marquee to era-appropriate design.
  • Completing four rooms on the second floor to accommodate music lessons and rehearsal and event space.
  • Installing a modern state-of-the-art sound and recording system.
  • Repairing the roof.
  • Improving acoustics in the show room.

“It’s just a way for people to try and get involved and try and team up on this historic theater and make it into the environment we all want to hang out in,” Gordon said.

The theater was originally built in 1914 under the name Angelus Theatre. It was Spanish Fork’s only movie theater until 1948 when it was destroyed by fire. It was reopened in 1950 after being rebuilt on the same site. Renamed Main Street Movies in about 1984, it continued as a movie theater until 1999. Early in the 2000s, it was operating as the Royal Palace Theatre and presenting live music performances. It then became known as the Boothe Brothers Performing Arts Center, operating just down the street from Boothe Brothers Music, a retail music store.

Gordon, who has worked full-time for Boothe Brothers Music for many years, has been running the theater for Boothe Brothers since December of 1999 when he started a program called BLUESJAM. On the first Thursday of every month since its inception, BLUESJAM has been a place where local bands and musicians could join together and perform. A host band opens the evening with a performance and during its set, Gordon goes through the audience and signs up other individuals and bands that want to play.

In 2006, the second Thursday of the month became Classic Country night, the third Thursday became Classic Rock night, and the fourth Thursday was set aside for songwriters. All of these events continue and are free to the public.

In 2008, Gordon started a program called Real Rock Band through which young musicians are put together in bands and guided through their rehearsals until they are ready to perform in concert.

Gordon, who grew up in Lake Shore, has always had a love of music. His father was a singer and guitarist in a local band and started making Gordon sing with the band when Gordon was only 2 years old. Guitar is Gordon’s main instrument and he joined a band while in his late teens. He’s played in bands ever since.

His service at the Boothe Brothers Theatre has given him a deep love for the facility. “This is kind of like the muse that has always kept me interested in the music business, which can be pretty harsh at times,” he said.

He explored the idea of buying the theater back in 2006, but he and the Boothes eventually agreed the time wasn’t right. Ten years later, Gordon inquired again about making the purchase, and the swap in ownership was completed.

“I just decided over the course of several years that what I wanted to do was to go ahead and buy this theater if the opportunity was there so I could have something to do for the next 20 years that I was passionate about,” Gordon said.

All the programming that Boothe Brothers has had operating in the theater will continue. In fact, even if he decides to eventually change the theater’s name, the theater will “still be a Boothe Brothers environment.”

“I want to model things after what I think they would have done,” he said.

Gordon began taking guitar lessons from Steve Booth at age 8 and he considers himself lucky to have spent his career working at the store. He will continue working full-time at Boothe Brothers Music as he doesn’t view the theater a profit-making venture.

“What I’d really like to do is go nonprofit,” he said, adding that he’d like to see the building become similar to a conservatory for the arts at some point. He envisions future events at the theater might include concerts by touring bands or independent film screenings. The facility will also be available for rent for family parties or other events.

To donate to the theater or watch a short video about the project, visit www.gofundme.com/bootheatre. Residents can also donate or go on a tour of the theater to see the renovation’s progress by visiting Boothe Brothers Music and asking for Gordon.