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The City Journals

Jordan, Alta High Theater Students to Present Fall Musicals

Nov 06, 2015 10:45AM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama

Sandy - Jordan High and Alta High theater students will take to the stage in November with two very different musicals. Jordan will present the satirical comedy musical from 2001, “Urinetown,” while Alta will perform the classic, “Cinderella.”

Jordan students will take the stage at 7 p.m. from Thursday, Nov. 12 through Saturday, Nov. 14, and again Monday, Nov. 16 in the school’s auditorium, 95 Beetdigger Blvd in Sandy. General admission tickets are $7 and are available at the door or in the school office. The musical is directed by Greg Larsen, with Lara Kimball as musical director and Brandon Cressal conducting the orchestra.

Alta students will perform “Cinderella” at 7 p.m. from Thursday, Nov. 19 through Saturday, Nov. 21, and again on Monday, Nov. 23 in the school’s auditorium, 11055 South 1000 East in Sandy. Tickets are $8.25 advance purchase in the office or $9 at the door. Preceding the Nov. 19 show at 5:30 p.m., a gala in the commons area will take place where patrons can feel like they’re in the ballroom of the palace and have their pictures taken with characters from the show. The $15 cost includes tickets to the show.

The plot of “Urinetown” is set in the future, where years of drought have lead to the banning of private restroom facilities and everyone is required to pay to use the facilities. The sinister villain controls the racket and has the police and politicians in his pocket. However, a lowly worker from the poorest area of town leads a rebellion and falls in love with the villain’s daughter, who works against her evil dad. 

“I understand that everyone will hate the name, but they make fun of it in the musical: it’s done intentionally,” Larsen said about the show that ran for three years on Broadway and won three Tony Awards. “Once you get past it and come, it becomes everyone’s immediate favorite. It shows how fun a musical can be with its comedy. It’s very entertaining and pokes fun at other shows.”

Throughout the show, Larsen said there are parodies of other show tunes, such as “Les Miserables,”  “Guys and Dolls,” “Hello Dolly!” and others.

“The music is surprisingly beautiful and wonderfully composed. There’s absolute hilarious dancing and the script is well-written. We wanted to pick something we’re passionate about to direct, and that enthusiasm was met and matched by the students in the show,” he said.

The leads of the musical are performed by seniors Coltin Winder as Bobby Strong and Devon Preston as Hope Cladwell. 

“This musical will attract the average student, the mainstream audience, because it applies to everyone and it’s just fun,” he said, although cautioning that parental guidance should be considered for children younger than 12. 

Alta students began rehearsing for “Cinderella” in early September, but Director Linze Struiksma says it’s not the typical Disney version.

“We looked at ‘Cinderella’ and saw a different view, a strong message that dismisses wishes and dreams and has the fairy godmother telling Cinderella that she needs to do something about what she wants. She needs to take charge of her own life and make choices she can control. A man doesn’t need to rescue her; she needs to rescue herself,” she said.

Struiksma said that message is one she wants her students to embrace as well.

“Nowadays, teens feel entitled and think they deserve everything. I want them to understand how through hard work, being genuinely thoughtful and kind, they’ll learn what they want to feel successful and realize they are empowered to take control of their own lives,” she said.

The musical was chosen as a contrast from more recent shows Alta has performed, plus it gives more opportunities to students wanting to perform in the musical, Struiksma said. There are about 100 students involved in putting on the show, 75 of whom are on stage, including the school’s ballroom team who performs a waltz in the palace.

Sophomore Addie Wray performs as Cinderella, while Prince Christopher is senior Erik Affleck. The fairy godmother is performed by sophomore McKenna Armstrong, the stepmother is senior Hannah Duncan and the step-sisters are sophomore Annie Cox and junior Michealann Acord.

The show is choreographed by Lauralyn Koffard and music is directed by Adam Griffiths. Diana Hunt is the ballroom coach.

“It’s a family-friendly musical that we know the community loves, and it’s sending inspiration to our students,” Struiksma said.

Earlier this fall, both schools competed in the 39th annual Shakespeare Competition, hosted by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University. Held Oct. 1-3, the competition allowed high school students from around the nation a chance to present material from Shakespearean literature in various artistic forms and be judged by professionals in their fields.

Alta juniors Kylan Goodwin and Bryce Jack took first with their scene from “A Comedy of Errors.” 

The ensemble presented director Emily Barker’s original script called “Entrances and Exits.” 

Barker said it took the “All the World’s a Stage” speech that goes through the seven ages of man. For each of the ages, she included an excerpt from another Shakespeare show. 

Their performance, as well as students performing in three monologues, two scenes and in the Tech Olympics, helped the school finish third overall. Alta competes with schools whose enrollment is similar — between 1,500 to 2,000 students.

Jordan High, who was in its second year performing at the Festival, tied for 10th place in sweepstakes, fifth overall in monologues and 10th overall in scenes. They were competing against schools with more than 2,000 students. 

Eighteen students presented the ghost scene from “Hamlet” in the ensemble contest.

“We used a lot of students made up as ghosts, so it was cool and kind of creepy,” Director Larsen said. “We’ve made huge improvements overall, and these students worked hard and have a lot to be proud of.”