Casino Star Theatre to Re-open in November

Casino Star Theatre, 25 October 2008
Excitement is growing in Gunnison Valley as the Casino Star Theatre moves into the final stretch before re-opening, but no one could be happier than directors Lori Nay and Diana Spencer. 

Since forced to close last year by the Top Stop gasoline leak, the theatre has undergone significant renovation and repair—"but most of it in the belly of the beast," said Spencer.  "We had intended to begin with the façade and work inward," she added, "but the fumes in the basement turned our plan inside out—literally."

Until the closure, the Casino Star had operated continuously for longer than any other theatre the state, the region, and possibly the nation.  With this extended closure, however, the theatre came under the scrutiny of the Sanpete County Building Inspector, an office that didn't even exist when the theatre was built back in 1912.

"We had to replace those exquisite rose-colored silk curtains and other drapes because they weren't fire-retardant," Nay lamented.  "But the new ones will be gorgeous."  The drapes at the entrance and exit doors are being assembled by Dennah Baxter, owner of Dennah's Custom Drapery in Salt Lake City.  Dennah, who hails from Gunnison Valley, created all the draperies for the Utah State Capitol renovation.  The Capitol, incidentally, broke ground the same year as the Casino Star Theatre.

Building Inspector Tracy Christensen also required repairs to the water-damaged ceiling, which turned out to be a replacement.   "And with a beautiful new ceiling," said Nay, "it didn't make sense to put the old broken light fixtures back up, so even though they weren't required, we had replicas made to replace the damaged ones."

The biggest and most expensive change is a massive air system, which draws fresh air from outside, heats or cools it, then circulates it through the theatre without ever contacting basement air.  That way, any fumes that might occur as the water table rises and falls will be exhausted outside without ever passing through the theatre.

The marquee says, "REOPEN NOVEMBER," but even now the specific date depends on other people's timetables.  "Every day we're asked when 'the showhouse' will open," Spencer smiles.  "We wish we could say exactly, but a few last minute details are beyond our control.  Just be ready to come back on short notice!  You'll love what's happened in the meantime!"