Late to 2017, Ute doors to open Friday |

Late to 2017, Ute doors to open Friday

Amidst a beautiful Rifle sunset on Tuesday evening, the Ute Theater shinned brightest just days before its grand re-opening.
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For the first time in 2017, the Ute Theater will be opening its doors on Friday as anyone will be welcome to stop by and check out the auditorium’s interior redesign. A $5 donation to the New Ute Theater Society (NUTS) is recommended and doors will open at 6 p.m.

Built in 1947, the new and improved Ute will include new lighting equipment, retractable seating, a concession stand and a fresh look inside and out.

“We hope to make it a mix use facility,” said Helen Rogers, president of NUTS. “We think the retractable seating will greatly improve seating visibility.”

Of all the improvements of the redesign, nothing has Rogers and the other members of NUTS more excited than the retractable seating.

“We hope to make it a mix use facility. We think the retractable seating will greatly improve seating visibility.”Helen Rogers,president of NUTS

The Ute holds venues for dance, theater, piano, small jazz bands, lectures, and more and the retractable seating will provide options to form different seating types for different kinds of venues.

“It will really add flexibility,” Rogers said. “The facility is designed to be flexible and that is something the group really wanted to be able to take advantage of.”

The retractable seating cost $122,040 to install, well short of the $148,000 estimate, with donations from Community Newspaper, Clough Family Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, individual members of the community and more.

All in all, the cost of the reconstruction project came in at around two million dollars with a majority of the money coming from grants, funds, and donations from individuals and organizations.

NUTS hopes that the interior renovation will greatly expand the types of performances that can be booked at the Ute and already performers have been scheduled for 2017. Sam Bush will be coming to Rifle on Feb. 23, the Young Dubliners will be returning on March 9, and the Ute will hold the second annual Hoot at the Ute with benefits going to the Rifle Animal Shelter.

For more information visit and check out the grand re-opening Friday that will include piano by Annie Flynn, a screening of the seven-minute 1947 animated film “The Horse Fly Fleas,” dancing and more.

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