Luke Robarchik
Cushions on all of the seats at the Covey Center have been replaced and no longer bleed red dye.

PROVO — Patrons won't be sticking to the plastic-covered seats anymore at the Covey Center for the Arts.

Paul Duerden, the director of the center in downtown Provo, has given the word: "It's safe to sit at the Covey Center."

The new center opened at the end of July, winning rave reviews. However, soon after the new seats were installed and unwrapped, cast members of the Utah Regional Ballet's "Cinderella" — the first event in the Covey Center— found that their white leotards turned red after they sat in the seats.

The cause: a faulty dye lot.

"This was a bizarre incident — no other facility that they (the manufacturers) know of has had the experience of dye coming off the seats," Duerden said.

After thorough testing, the Hussey Co., manufacturers of the seats, agreed to replace the seat cushions. New fabric was made and tested before the cushions were put together and shipped.

Now, more than four months and several performances later, the new center has its new apple-red seats. "Literally, they came on a slow boat from China," Duerden said. "It's been a long process."

To keep patrons from sporting red dye on their backsides and blushing red cheeks on their faces, the Covey Center decided to wrap the seats in plastic wrap as a form of clothing protection.

The response was mixed. Some patrons kept trying to take the plastic off during the shows, keeping center employees rushing to their aid.

"We had surprisingly few complaints," said Kathryn Allen, community outreach coordinator for the Covey Center, "although there were always a few patrons who thought that we hadn't had time yet to finish unwrapping the seats and helpfully removed the plastic before sitting down."

When country singer Neal McCoy appeared in concert at the Covey Center for the Arts last Aug. 7, he said that he felt as if he were visiting his grandma's house — referring to the plastic-covered seats.

During the wait, the Covey Center has continued with a full slate of events with the seat cushions covered and re-covered in plastic as needed.

Dismantling and replacing the cushions was a process that took a crew of a dozen Hussey installers days of work, beginning just before Thanksgiving, and scheduled around performances. Duerden added that they took the opportunity to install an additional two seats, bringing the performance hall seating capacity to 672.

Now, the Utah Regional Ballet will again perform. This time its the holiday favorite "The Nutcracker," which runs through Saturday.

Happily, the dancers will only be seeing red — not wearing it.


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