PLEASANT GROVE — Dinner theater is making another run at success with the acquisition of the Grove Dinner Theater by Realtor Stan Smith's family partnership.

A free open house is scheduled for Friday from 6-8 p.m. The family wants to preserve the building and make it available to the community for special events, Smith said.

Smith has partnered with Sam Schultz and Brown Brothers Catering of Provo, who in turn is bringing in the Lockwood Repertoire Theater, an arm of Emerson-Smith College, for some theater events. Based in Springville, the college offers arts and acting classes.

"It's a loose partnership," said Pam Lockwood, founder of the repertoire theater. "Both of us want to see how we work together."

Lockwood is presenting "A Dickens Christmas," including "A Christmas Carol." Now called the Grove Events Center, the community theater event features a traditional Christmas dinner with carolers and other entertainment. Matt Hogan plays Scrooge, with Josh Francis as Bob Cratchit and Eric Blood as the Ghost of Christmas Present.

The show runs Dec. 17-22 at 7:30 p.m. at the events center, 20 S. Main, Pleasant Grove. The dinner and show cost $16.50 for adults and $14 for children; cost is $8 adults/$6 children for the show only. More information is avilable at 372-1644.

Other theater groups will be considered for the center, Schultz said, but Lockwood gets "first right of refusal."

Schultz produced the reality television show "Create the Group" that aired on KJZZ last summer. During the show he and his staff created a hip hop group of four Utah girls, now called 4Real.

David Loeffler, Jenny Jordan Frogley and Rudy Wolfgramm (formerly with The Jets family singing group) served as judges during months of auditions that spanned the state from Provo to St. George.

The quartet is just finishing its first CD, Schultz said, and will perform at the Grove's free open house on Friday. Other entertainment includes guitarist Jacob Luttrell, Sound Machine, a teen vocal jazz group; comedian Michael B., bassist Eric Blood and a short musical theater review by a Lockwood Repertoire Theater group.

The closing act of the dinner theater was in 2004 after former owners Gayliene Omary and Jan Shelton drained their resources in an attempt to build an audience. They purchased the theater from Suzanne Kirby, who created the dinner theater from the former Alhambra Movie Theater. That venture, too, failed financially.

Lockwood is optimistic the venture will succeed under Schultz with his entertainment and catering background.


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