ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

The one in SLC: The Friends Experience to open at The Gateway

Oct 18, 2023, 12:58 PM

Costume replicas from the TV sitcom "Friends"...

Costume replicas that are featured in The Friends Experience in Salt Lake City. (Mariah Maynes/KSL NewsRadio)

(Mariah Maynes/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY – Have you ever wanted to hang out on the orange sofa at Central Perk? Beginning October 20, fans can step into the world of the popular sitcom “Friends.” 

With “The Friends Experience” you can step into Monica’s kitchen, Chandler and Joey’s apartment, and Central Perk Coffee. You even re-create the popular “Pivot” scene

The exhibit was designed by Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment, Original X Productions, and Warner Bros. Television Group. 

David Derrick, a general manager for Original X Productions, said the exhibit designers paid strong attention to details. Guests can find replicas of things that were actually on the set, such as Monica’s table. 

“We work directly with the studios to make the replicas when we need them,” Derrick said. 

Warner Bros., the production studio behind “Friends” also provided schematics of the scenes the builders wanted to use.

Matthew Bryant, a PR director for Original X, said that employees who are trained to take photos will be stationed throughout the exhibit. They’ll help visitors capture their entire group, so nobody is left out. The designers encourage guests to take pictures.

“It’s not a museum piece, it actually is an interactive and fun place to spend an afternoon,” said Derrick. 

Behind the scenes of “Friends”

Part of the exhibit offers a behind-the-scenes look. Video from the show’s costume designer explains her process for dressing the characters. Some costume replicas will be on display. 

Burton Morris’ artwork work is also a highlight of The Friends Experience. You might remember his artwork from Central Perk. 

“There’s some scripts here, there’s some additional props,” said Derrick. The props that are behind glass cases were actually used on the set when the show was filming. 

Derrick said the show has connected generations. It resonates with those who watched the show in the ’90s. But it also resonates with people who are in life stages similar to those of the Friends characters, or those who are looking forward to being that age. 

Derrick said Salt Lake City was a great choice to host the exhibit. “The show has universal appeal. It is a family show,” he said. 

Visiting 

Derrick said the exhibit was designed for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can spend as little as 45 minutes, or as long as they would like in the exhibit. 

“We really try hard to balance the casual fan coming, as well as giving enough information and deep cuts, Easter eggs, for people that have watched all the episodes more than once,” said Derrick. B

Buying tickets ahead of time for The Friends Experience is encouraged. There are a limited number of tickets per time slot. 

“It’s kind of like a movie, where there’s timed tickets … you can pick when you want to show up,” said Derrick. 

The exhibit will be open in Salt Lake City from October 20, 2023, until January 28, 2024. More information about exhibit hours and tickets is on The Friends Experience website

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The one in SLC: The Friends Experience to open at The Gateway