Live theatrical performances have long been a centerpiece of Park City's culture.
In the late 1800's, the ornate Park City Opera House was located near our current site. On a warm June night in 1898, fire roared downhill from the American Hotel and quickly consumed most of the town, including the Opera House. In a determined effort to restore live theatre to the town, the Dewey Theatre soon opened its doors in 1899 on the site of what is now the Egyptian Theatre. The Dewey remained a popular cultural center until its roof collapsed under a record-breaking snow load in 1916.
1887 opera house june crop left
1887 - Opera House
Opera House Interior
1891 park city opera house crop
1891 - Park City Opera House
1898 opera house fire ruins
1898 - Opera House ruins after a fire
1899 dewey theatre nov
1899 - Dewey Theatre
1900 dewey theatre jan large
1900 - Dewey Theater Interior
1926 high snow
1926 - Snow storm in Park City
1949 egyptian jan
1948 - Egyptian Theatre
int. egyptian from stage.226.4 edit
1949 - Interior
1964 silver wheel sept
1964 - Silver Wheel
1977 silver wheel oct
1977 - The Silver Wheel
1985 - The Egyptian Theatre
1999 egyptian aug crop
1999 - The Egyptian Theatre
summer facade photo
In 1922 new construction began on the site of the old Dewey Theatre. Influenced by the recent discovery of King Tut's tomb, The Egyptian Theatre opened on Christmas Day, 1926. Supervised by an Egyptologist, The Egyptian Theatre was adorned with lotus leaf motifs, scarabs, hieroglyphics, and symbols of life and happiness. Park City was once again flush with a first-class showplace, this time for films and live performances.
The Theatre operated as a community gathering place from that day forward. The Theatre changed names multiple times and had minor modifications made each time. The Theatre continued to anchor live performances and film screenings on the historic main street.
With the rebirth of Park City as a ski and resort town in the 1960s, an increasing population of locals and tourists came to town. The Egyptian - then known as The Silver Wheel Theatre - continued to present live theatre and film, old fashioned "meller dramas" were the most consistent fare.
By 1978 the building's architectural integrity was again threatened. Preservation of its distinctive Egyptian features was necessary. Through much local effort, fundraising, and the presence and support of Mrs. Fields Cookies Headquarters, the building was refurbished and became home to Park City Performances in 1981. Live theatre and performances of all genres were again presented on the boards of the theatre. That same year, The US Film and Video Festival - later renamed The Sundance Film Festival moved to Park City with The Egyptian Theatre as the original home.
In the early 1990s, the building had been foreclosed on by the US Government as part of “The Resolution Trust”. The building was also in need of major repair and renovation. Save Our Stage Foundation (SOS) was formed by a few community-minded individuals led by Joanne Krajeski and Rick Rogers. This group raised the needed funds to purchase the real property and undertake a major face-lift to restore the building to its former glory. To this date, the building and real estate are owned by SOS and leased to Park City Performances at a greatly reduced rate. This arrangement has guaranteed the theatre’s future as a performing arts location.
Recently, SOS and Park City Performances were successful in raising the needed funds to purchase and build out The Egyptian Studios in the basement of The Parkite across the street. This area is connected by a tunnel under Main Street. In 2020 the opening of our Studios established a true performing arts complex in the historic district.
Today, the Mary G. Steiner Egyptian Theatre hosts a variety of concerts, theatre, comedy, special events, community functions as well as our YouTheatre programming. The Egyptian Theatre and Studios continues to function as a landmark venue on Park City's Main Street while retaining the distinctive flavor of years gone by, much like Park City itself.