"I was really worried this morning about the weather, but the turnout has been great," said Centerville Mayor Ron Russell, stationed in the wings beside Bountiful Mayor Joe Johnson. "It's a real test of our resolve that so many people came out to support this."
Filled chairs lined every available inch of tent space, with those who came too late to find seating huddled under the outside edge of the tent or standing just beyond it under a sea of umbrellas. Musical groups too large to fit in the improvised stage area in the front of the tent curled around the sides, often inches away from the audience.
No one, however, seemed inclined to go home.
"I think it's probably worth being here," said Adam Reid, standing beside his brother Josh under an umbrella. Each would take turns supporting the handle's weight when the other got tired. "I think it would be really sweet if the regional theater opened. It would be bigger and have a museum and stuff, and I could go to it on Saturday."
Between a few brief words from speakers such as Margo Rodgers Beecher, one of the original founders of RMT, the kickoff tent rang out with a taste of Broadway.
Young performers from RMT's theater education program took the stage early on with a number from the musical "Seussical," featuring Horton as he's hatching his famous egg. Though the entire song was entertaining, the lines about Horton being wet and cold got the biggest laughs from the audience. Later, another RMT group performed "We're All In This Together," from "High School Musical."
Others from the long list of performers included local favorite Jennie Whitlock, who sang a number from the musical "Jane Eyre." Michael Bierwolf offered an impromptu performance of "Bring Him Home," from "Les Miserables," and Broadway vet Holly Jo Samuelson sang "Only Love" from "Scarlet Pimpernel."
"I'm all for the regional theater, and I'll do anything I have to to get it," said Samuelson. "I think we could have had more here if not for the weather, but this is true devotion."
In addition to the music, that devotion was rewarded with food. Volunteers walked around with silver bowls of chicken wraps, donated by McDonalds, while a table along one side served brownies, hot cider, and hot chocolate that quickly vanished.
A chocolate-and-vanilla cake in the shape of the proposed South Davis Regional Theatre, created by artist Diane Jensen, dominated the front corner of the tent.
"The cake looks great," said Scott Van Dyke, the architect who drew up the current plans for the proposed theater. "Let's hope everything comes together so we can make it into a reality."