PLEASANT GROVE — On a chilly but sunny morning, the city of Pleasant Grove, Utah, celebrated the groundbreaking of the new home for company currently known as Hale Center Theatre Orem (HCTO). When the building is complete, it will be called The Ruth and Nathan Hale Theatre at doTERRA, or “The Ruth” for short. The many sellout performances at HCTO productions show that there is a need for a larger space for the company, but for many years but one obstacle after another have delayed that.

Architect’s rendering of the appearance of The Ruth when it is completed.

At the long-awaited groundbreaking, there was a feeling of celebration and relief in the air at the groundbreaking on Tuesday morning. Services included words from local leaders (Pleasant Grove mayor Guy L. Fugal, Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson, and Meredith Lam of the Dine Tribe), Greg and Julie Cook of doTerra, the Hale and Swenson families, and Elder Jeffrey Singer of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lisa Clark led the festivities and several dozen men and women with golden shovels participated in the groundbreaking ceremony.

Participants were also treated to some of the best musical theatre has to offer including performances of “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables by Chris Higbee, “Wait for It” from Hamilton by Conlon Bonner, and a medley of songs from Wicked by Kelly Coombs and Amelia Rose Moore. The current cast of Sister Act also performed a number, and the Hale Youth ensembles performed from Frozen Jr. and Newsies Jr.

In the end it, was a nice event to reflect on the power of theatre and community engagement and to look forward to the good a new building will provide to Pleasant Grove and the surrounding area. UTBA eagerly awaits the completion of The Ruth and attending the first production in it in 2024.

Chris Higbee performing “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables at the Groundbreaking for The Ruth.