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Desert Star theater remains closed from water damage after apartment fire

Posted at 9:27 PM, Apr 01, 2023

MURRAY, Utah — Michael Todd, the president and owner of Desert Star Playhouse in Murray, was in his office in the Desert Star building Friday night when the sound of a fire alarm pierced his ears. In the moments following, he and about 250 guests and additional employees were evacuated as the fire department arrived.

"It's a mixed-use building. There are apartments above Desert Star, and one apartment caught fire last night and the fire sprinklers in the building went off," Todd recalled. "All that water came out and went right through the floor and right into Desert Star."

Todd says the water damage is extensive, damaging the historic wooden floors where audience chairs sit and the ceiling above. Saturday morning, Todd and the clean-up crews were on scene evaluating the extent of the damage.

"There's quite a bit of water damage that needs to be repaired or replaced before we can reopen," Todd said.

It's rare for the Desert Star, a place usually filled with music, acting, and laughter, to be closed. Todd says the closure reminds him of what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It feels like it's happening all over again — we're closed again, we've been in business for 35 years, almost never been closed, but we were closed during COVID, and now we're closed again," Todd said.

Despite the fire and damage, Todd is hopeful the theater will be filled with performers and guests soon.

"We had about 800 guests scheduled here today, and of course none of those performances will happen," he said. "We have sold-out performances next week that won't happen, but we'll reschedule all of them to a later performance date and we'll just keep going forward."