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The City Journals

Harmonyx presents an original production: “Down the Rabbit Hole, Return to Wonderland”

Feb 28, 2019 02:26PM ● By Clinton Haws

Herriman Harmonyx in their 2017 original musical based off of “Gilligan’s Island” (Tonia McPeak/Herriman Arts Council)

By Clinton Haws | c.haws@mycityjournals.com

Herriman Harmonyx, typically a 10 person acapella group, is an 11-person acapella group partnering with the Herriman Arts Council for its annual Valentines Cabaret. The ensemble partners with the city’s arts council to offer an acapella style musical annually around Valentines Day. It is a date-themed musical comedy that takes places at the city’s building Feb 28 to March 2.

Based on Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland,” the script and songs are originals created by members of the performance group. Without a lead role, the acapella group Harmonyx performs solo, duets, and as a group. They try to include balanced performances throughout the group. There will naturally be some that have more presence than others due to characters and script. 

Don Allphin said, “We self-edit the script. As we read through it, everyone contributes and offers insight. If it makes sense we will make changes.” The scenes, characters might resemble and be based on Alice in Wonderland but all the lines and songs are originally created by the acapella group. Allphin is a performer and the president of Harmonyx. He is the writer of the original script for “Down the Rabbit Hole, Return to Wonderland.”

“It is an Alice in Wonderland scene, but with our own story. Although it is called a cabaret, it is a mini-musical theme that does various songs throughout the different genres. Some of the songs are acapella and some are accompanied (by piano),” said Allphin.

Make it a date night

During the show, the cast interacts with the audience throughout the musical comedy. “The entire group contributes to the final script and any changes to lines or songs. The audience tends to be able to relate to a character that is well-known and it allows us to take well-known characters and add our own spin to them, and the audience seems to really like that,” said Allphin.

In the spirit of Valentines, there is dessert offered during intermission of the performance. Tickets are sold in pairs for the musical comedy as it is intended for a date night type of activity. Though dates are not required to attend. Anybody that is interested in attending from individuals to families is encouraged to attend. Young adults and older are the recommendations of the council. 

Previous city Cabaret event showings typically sell-out. Tickets are available to purchase online or via telephone through the council. Attendees sit at tables of four because of the dessert and space is limited for the five shows in total.

The musical group is made up of all volunteers that perform and rehearse during their free time. This includes all aspects of the production including the stage, costumes, lighting, and all other aspects of the musical. “We do bring in counsel from the (Herriman) arts council to come pitch in. We do self-direct, but there is not a designated director and do not make any money from anything we do,” said Allphin.

The acapella group will bid farewell to its founder and longtime member, Debra Taylor. Taylor has devoted much of her time for the past eight years to much of the city’s arts programs and performances. Throughout that time, Taylor has been volunteering not only her time but her artistic talents for much of the decade to the city’s arts endeavors. They have their next member already participating with the group which is why it consists of 11-members instead of the usual 10, often used in the previous shows. 

Past attendees of city Herriman Days (in July) might recall performances from the musical group. “We typically open for the main act on the last night of Herriman Days,” said Allphin. The group regularly performs for Herriman’s Christmas program as well.

Notes: Harmonyx sounds like “harmonics.” Herriman City Arts Council and Harmonyx have partnered up for the city’s Valentine’s Cabaret show for the last six years (since 2013). There are five shows in total offered from Feb 28 to March 2. February 28 offers one showing at 7:30 p.m. and two showings each, March 1 - 2 at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The show runs for approximately 90 minutes. It takes place at Herriman City Hall (Building) at 5355 West Main Street in Herriman. The group consists of five males and five females most performances.