Sandy Arts celebrates 35 years, moves ahead with 2021 showsMar 24, 2021 02:53PM ● By Heather Lawrence
The Dynamos from Sandy Amphitheater’s 2019 “Mamma Mia!” production were some of the performers who reprised their roles from the past 35 years in Sandy Arts Guild’s online celebration in December. (2019 photo, Heather Lawrence/City Journals)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
One could make the argument that 2020 was not a good year for the arts. But Sandy Arts Guild spokesperson Elyse George said their team found ways to carry on and even innovate during COVID restrictions. The guild is moving forward with traditional and new events in 2021.
“We celebrated our 35th anniversary over Facebook and it went really well. Recorded performances and interviews were broken into five acts or episodes, one shown each night beginning Dec. 11. The posts on all of our social channels reached a combined 11,500 people,” George said.
The celebration turned into a best of the best of the past 35 years. Performances of actors in costume were recorded on fully-set stages. The videos remain on Facebook, and George acknowledged Rocky Mountain Power, whose sponsorship made the event possible.
Briana Beatse Chipman performed in episode two. She sang “Shy” from “Once Upon a Mattress,” which Sandy Arts Guild presented in 1988.
“Happy Anniversary, Sandy Arts! This episode specifically expressed how I feel about this theatre group. It has changed my life. Love you all so much,” Chipman wrote in comments for the finale video.
In another episode, Crystal Sutton reprised her role as a Dynamo from 2019’s “Mamma Mia” with Julie Blatter and Corinne Adair. Fan Jann LeVitre commented that the ladies “killed it” and still looked great doing the choreography a year later.
“[I] loved every minute of this,” Sutton said of the reprised performance. “Can’t wait until we can all do another show together. Let’s make it a big one!”
An anniversary of another sort will happen in March when the annual Elementary School Art Show returns to the Shops at South Town March 17-25.
“The art show was the first event in 2020 that we had to cancel due to the pandemic. We’re excited to have it back. We can’t have the in-person awards ceremony because of gathering restrictions, but the artwork will be on display,” George said.
“People love the elementary school arts show. It’s open to public, private and charter school students in the area. Each year between 800-1,100 kids participate,” George said.
Other changes to traditional events have let the guild reach more people. After canceled shows like “Frozen, Jr.” in spring and summer, Sandy Arts restarted live performances in the fall. Limited capacity, distancing, masks and digital programs were all utilized to keep actors and patrons safe.
“Our team was creative about pivoting to virtual events and safer versions of in-person events. Looking at attendance stats for 2020, we were actually able to reach significantly more people because with virtual events distance isn’t a barrier.
“With a broader scope we still fulfilled our mission. We had over 53,000 people attend our free events where usually it’s only 10,000 people,” George said.
One thing that’s still up in the air is the Sandy Amphitheater’s season. “They want to open the venue and we will if the state allows it. We’re planning a lineup of local artists and community events, but can’t announce national acts because they haven’t committed to tours yet,” George said.
Live shows continue. “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]” ran in February. And in April the young cast of “Frozen, Jr.” will finally get to perform the show they were ready to do a year ago.
“We’re so glad we get to present ‘Frozen, Jr.’ It was such a disappointment to cancel it last year because everything was ready to go. It was shut down just two weeks before opening night,” George said.
With a few exceptions, most of the cast was available and happy to perform the show this April. With some creative restaging and choreography to keep actors distanced, the show will go on.
“Our remarkable and creative team has done so much over the last year to continue bringing the arts to our community. We invite everyone to safely get involved and continue to support Sandy Arts Guild for the next 35 years and beyond,” George said.