Forty years ago in 1983, a young theater student named Greg Taylor had a dream to put on a musical at the University of Texas at El Paso. When the university said no, Taylor did not let that stop him. He raised the money and created a dinner theater in the university’s ballroom in the union.
With a thousand dollars and the help of his friend Jimmy Legarreta, Taylor staged their first production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” on March 10, 1983. This year, the UTEP Dinner Theatre was shocked to learn that this season will be their last after Taylor announced his retirement.
It all began on Aug. 31 of this year when Taylor retired after 40 years of running the dinner theatre. That day he posted on Facebook about the legacy he built and how it will live on. But just one month later, another Facebook post begins “This is so sad and disappointing.”
“In the many meetings I had with the dean, it was never intimated to me that their plan was to close the dinner theatre,” Taylor said. “If they had told me… I would have stayed one more year and done the last show. I would have stayed another year and closed it myself. I would have been there for the end. I started it, I’ll be there at the end of it.”
That was in response to news that UTEP now planned to close the theater and lay off the entire staff after the end of this season. Taylor says the UTEP administration never mentioned this as a possible outcome.