One of the valley's few remaining independently owned movie-houses is beginning a slow transition from cinematic fare to live entertainment, though with the same concentration on "family entertainment."

Beginning Wednesday, May 13, the Murray Theatre, 4961 S. State, is adding weekly live shows by Quick Wits, the popular local improvisational comedy troupe.The 700-seat theater will stop showing movies in the next couple of weeks, according to Tom Henderson, who manages the Murray. By midsummer, the theater will have a complete calendar of live entertainment.

"It's a sad day when the Murray has to stop showing films, but it's becoming impossible for an independent theater to compete with all the (cinema) chains," he said. "But I'm promising our patrons that we're not going out of business or going to turn the theater into another one of these big office buildings."

Instead, Henderson is planning to continue "providing the same good, clean, wholesome entertainment that families have come to expect from the Murray."

In addition to the Quick Wits show each Wednesday at 9 p.m., the Murray will also be adding shows by the Garrens, a touring comedy troupe from Provo.

And Henderson is also planning to host musical concerts on Thursday and Friday nights, beginning June 25 and 26 with the Southern Rock All-Stars, a touring act that features former members of Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Rossington Band.

Of course, the Murray is not new to live entertainment. For the past five years, the theater has played host on Saturday night to Vandermeide, "Europe's fastest hypnotist."

Henderson also urges any musical or other entertainment acts interested in performing at the theater to try out.

For more information on upcoming shows, to schedule a tryout or for ticket information, phone 262-6219.