Student productions coming soon to a stage near you
Oct 28, 2019 10:04AM
● By Jet Burnham
Theater students rehearse for opening night. (Allie Haskins)
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Theater students have prepared a season of thought-provoking performances to entertain audiences this fall.
Kearns High School presents “The Little Mermaid,” Nov 13, 14, 15 and18 at 7 p.m. in the Kearns High School Auditorium at 5525 Cougar Lane. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children and students.
Children are invited to eat breakfast with Ariel and all the main characters, and to pose on set for pictures with them at a character breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.kearnswebstore.com.
“The Little Mermaid” is the familiar story of a young girl who does everything she can to make her dreams of being human come true.
“Ariel definitely makes huge sacrifices in order to be part of the world that she just feels really strongly that she's supposed to be there,” said director Camee Faulk. “I think the kids relate to that a lot.”
Faulk said the story has inspired her students to consider their own hopes and dreams and how far they are willing to go to achieve them. As a cast, they’ve discussed how to apply Ariel’s kind of passion to their own experience.
But as a parent, Faulk said she relates more to Ariel’s father, King Triton.
“The musical does a really good job of showing his side of things a little bit more than the movie does,” she said. “As a parent, you’re trying to figure out what's best for your child and truly wanting them to be happy.” She said Triton makes sacrifices for Ariel’s happiness and learns he has to let his daughter make mistakes so she can learn from them.
The cast of 80 students is directed by Faulk. The choreography director is Anna Mueller, the music director is Julie Jensen, and the technical director is Tom Rodgers.
“The show is probably going to be one of the biggest, most technically involved shows we've ever done,” Faulk said. “We have a few really cool surprises for the audience.”
Eisenhower Jr High presents “Way’s End,” Nov. 14–15 in the school auditorium at 4351 South Redwood Road. Tickets are $3 and $4. You can also buy four and get the fifth one free.
“Way’s End” is the story of a 14-year-old girl named Lexi, who is always in trouble with her family and teachers.
“It's directly related to what my students are going through right now,” said EJH theater teacher Kenya Thompson. “Lexi goes on a journey where she learns a lot of lessons about adolescence and what that means. At the end, her relationship with her family is better.”
Playwright Jennifer Fell Hayes wrote the play for a cast between 30 and 60 members. Thompson’s cast is 30, so most students play two or three different “fun and quirky” characters throughout the course of the show.
The flexibility with characters and plot is what makes the play unique.
“The playwright allowed for any group that works with her script to be able to add new themes or to take away or change things,” Thompson said. “We've added several characters, so it's specific to our cast.”
Thompson said the play is about the process of a journey.
“That's one of the biggest reasons why I picked it—because it wasn't quite finished,” she said. “And since I'm a new director with a new group of students, I wanted to be able to work with them in a different way, so that we can build a foundation for where the program is going to go forward.”
Bennion Jr High School, 6055 South 2700 West, presents “One Acts Festival,” Nov. 20, 21.
Taylorsville High School presents “The Secret Garden,” Nov 1, 2, 4 and 9. Tickets are $6 and $8. You can pay with cash or a card at the door, 5225 South Redwood Road.
“The Secret Garden,” which won a Tony award for Best Book of a Musical, is based on the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The play tells the story of spoiled orphan Mary Lennox sent to live with her grief-stricken uncle in his dreary manor on the moor. Mary uncovers secrets about her sickly cousin Colin and his mother’s secret garden that ultimately heals them all.
“It's written for kind of a small ensemble, but we were able to expand that to include some more kids,” said theater director Cameron Garner.
On December 19, THS will host its inaugural Alumni Concert, “Curtains Up!”
Garner has contacted several alumni to return to THS’s stage to entertain audiences with acting, singing and dancing pieces from some of their favorite musical theater scenes.
The idea is inspired by the portraits of past student casts, dating all the way back to 1982, that line the performing arts hallway at THS.
“A lot of those performers and technicians are still active in the Utah theater community,” he said. “We've got a lot of really talented people.”
“Curtains Up!” will be the main fundraiser for the theater department this year. Tickets are $10.