Hundreds of people bustled through the old Capitol Theater recently with brooms and shovels in a major cleanup aimed at getting the building, recently acquired by Logan City, ready for its first production next month.

Michael Ballam, 38, a professional opera performer from Logan, convinced local officials to trade two city-owned houses for the historic building.He said while sweeping, scrubbing walls and painting, volunteers came up with a new name for the 65-year-old theater - The Phoenix.

Ballam, who recently returned to Cache Valley to join the Utah State University music faculty, said it has been his life-long dream to see the historic theater restored to its original luster.

Ballam said that in its heyday, the Capitol drew "Broadway and Hollywood stars . . . from all over the country," including the likes of George Burns and Gracie Allen.

Ballam described the support of the community for renovating the theater as "phenomenal." In addition to those who came to work, dozens of local businesses brought in free food and supplies Saturday.

Performances are planned for the building beginning in mid-June, with casts and crews made up of USU and community talent.