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South Valley Journal

You’d be ‘Crazy’ not to ‘Earnest’ly brave the ‘Frozen’ weather to see these ‘Act’s

Oct 28, 2019 10:13AM ● By Jet Burnham

Herriman High poster

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Local middle and high school talent hits the stage this fall with song, dance and comedy.

Herriman High School presents “The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People” by Oscar Wilde, Nov. 13–16. Performances are at 7 p.m., as well as a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee at 11917 South Mustang Trail Way. Tickets available at the door or in advance at http://our.show/herrimanhighschool/earnest.

The story revolves around the ridiculous behaviors of young people when are smitten with one another.

“The students have been having a lot of fun seeing how theater reflects their own lives with their little high school romances and things like that, so it's just been fun,” said director KayCee DeYoung. “Even when we're very serious about things ourselves, when you're on the outside of a situation, you sometimes can look in on it and see the silliness.”

DeYoung is excited to be presenting a comedic show this year. In the last few years, HHS’s shows have been more sentimental and serious.

“They punched people in the heart, and I decided we needed to tickle their hearts this year instead,” she said.

Copper Mountain Middle School is the first in the school district to perform “Frozen Jr,” based on the Broadway version of the popular Disney movie. The show runs Nov. 14–16 at 12106 Anthem Park Blvd. Shows are at 7 p.m., with a Saturday afternoon matinee. Tickets are $4.

While “Frozen Jr” is slightly different than the movie, it will have everything audiences expect—favorite characters, beloved songs and, of course, magical snowfall.

Eighth grader Elizabeth Birkner, who plays Elsa, said new songs unveil a different perspective of the characters and make them even more relatable.

“I love this musical,” she said. “It's so much better than the movie. I think you get more depth to the characters.”

Ninth grader Allie Hoskins, who plays the role of Anna, said live theater will provide audiences with a different experience than watching a movie.

“You can feel how they're feeling because it's live—it's right in front of you,” she said. “You can see everything that they're doing and everything that they're going through. It really brings a whole different feeling to it.

Playing the role of Hans is a challenge ninth grader Landon Dee was thrilled to accept. He said the contrast between “Love is an Open Door,” when he plays the charming prince, and “Colder by the Minute,” when he is revealed as the despicable villain, is what he likes best about the role.

Ultimately, the cast hopes audiences will come away with the show’s message of the warmth of family love.

“I'm hoping that they get a real sense of family—that's what the show is really about,” said CMMS theater teacher Alex Waller. “It's about family love. It's about being there for your sisters—or brothers—when they need you.”

Waller has created that feeling among the 39 cast members.

“He made everyone feel safe at rehearsals and made sure that people know that people are there for them and that they're loved,” she said. “It has made it feel more like a family.”

Riverton High School will perform George Gershwin’s musical “Crazy for You,” winner of a Tony Award for Best Musical. Nov. 21, 22, 23 and 25 at 7 p.m. at 12476 South Silverwolf Way. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for students and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance in the main office, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Credit cards (except American Express) are accepted. All seating is general admission, with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. All Riverton High students will get buy-one-get-one-free tickets for the Nov. 21 performance. 

“Crazy for You” is a zany, rich-boy-meets-hometown-girl romantic comedy, said director Clin Eaton. It features memorable Gershwin tunes such as “I Got Rhythm,” “Naughty Baby,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “Embraceable You,” “But Not for Me,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.” 

“This show is a fun, old-fashioned musical comedy with show girls, tap dancing and lots of laughter,” Eaton said. “We have 20 featured tap dancers that range from super experienced to putting on tap shoes for the first time. Our choreographer, Alexis Ziga, is a fantastic tap dance choreographer and is pushing them to do really hard things.”

Mountain Ridge High School makes its theatrical debut with a performance of “Sister Act,” featuring original music by Tony and eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken, Nov 21–25 at 7 p.m., 14100 Sentinel Ridge Blvd. Tickets are $8. 

Disco diva Deloris Van Cartier hides from her gangster ex-boyfriend in a convent. Her worldy ways and disco moves cause a stir when she joins the convent’s choir. In the end, Mother Superior learns to see past her first impression of Deloris to see the goodness in her. Deloris’ interactions with those on the other extreme end of the lifestyle spectrum open her eyes to what has been missing from her life.

Mountain Ridge theater teacher Bradley Moss said the musical is a fun show with a good message.

“It's really the story of Deloris and Mother Superior, two people who are very rigid in their views and don't see that they could learn or connect with the other,” said Moss. “They recognize the love that they have for each other and that they are more similar than they are different.”

It’s a lesson we all can relate to, he said.

“Sometimes we place people in categories,” he said. “But there's a goodness in the humanity in us all that, if we can recognize that, we can connect more often than disconnect.”

Creating connection has been an essential element in bringing together a cast of 55 students who come from six different schools and various training, background and experience.

“We are a hodgepodge,” Moss said. “But there's nothing like a project like this to bring students together.”

“Sister Act” was chosen before the school year began, before Moss knew the students he would have to work with. However, choir director Kelly DeHaan had noted several strong female singers during last spring’s choir auditions and knew “Sister Act” would be a great play to showcase them.

Senior Rylan Benson was cast to play the lead role of Deloris.

“She's the most mature actress I've had a chance to work with in high school,” said DeHaan. “Her audition was so lovely. When she opened her mouth to sing, it was just powerful, full and earthy—and ’70’s. It was just right.”

Benson said Deloris is a fun character to play.

“I love the way she interacts with everyone around her,” she said. “She's fun to play because everything just kind of comes out—she doesn't have any thought processes. But then there are moments when you get to see a deeper side of her, where she does have that sincerity. So, I love to play both sides of the personality.”

Benson, who started acting at age 8, said the role has helped her grow.

“I think doing the show has made me realize more of what I am capable of,” she said.