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The City Journals

Seven Brothers Find Their Seven Brides in Arts Council Performance

Aug 22, 2016 01:19PM ● By Kelly Cannon

It was a battle of the sexes in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. —Man in Hat Photography/Cottonwood Heights

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]
In a lively production full of amazing singing and dancing, the Cottonwood Heights Art Council presented “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” for their annual theater production. Performed July 29, 30 and Aug. 1, 4, 5 and 6 at Butler Middle School, the musical brought together cast members from around the valley to tell the tale of stubbornness and love.
Based on the 1954 musical movie, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is set in 1850 in the Oregon Territory. A pretty young cook named Milly marries a backwoodsman named Adam after a brief courtship. When the two return to Adam’s family, she’s shocked to find his six ill-mannered brothers. She begins teaching them how to behave property, including how to court women. But after the brothers kidnap six local girls after a dance, the villagers try to track them down. The musical ends on a happy note with the six brothers marrying the six women.
The musical was directed by Rebecca Kitchen while Janalee Hunsaker served as musical director and Drew Angelovic and Lindsey Whipple choreographed the production. Kitchen, who has previously assistant directed “The Music Man” and “Cinderella” and directed “Fiddler on the Roof” for the city, said her favorite part of putting the show together was the cast.
“The boys just meshed. It’s so fun to do a play with all those young boys cause they’re just goofing off and have a great sense of humor,” Kitchen said. “They’re very directable. That was the most fun thing. It’s a young cast so that was fun.”
Kitchen said she hoped audiences were entertained by the production.
“We hope they have the music going through their heads afterwards and we hope they see a slice of Oregon life as it really was in 1850,” Kitchen said. “It’s just a little slice of history that we’re presenting on the stage.”
Natalie Killpack of South Jordan played the role of Milly. She became interested in auditioning after seeing advertisements on Facebook. She described Milly as kind of progressive for her time.
“She’s kind of a women’s rights lady,” Killpack said. “She’s not afraid to stand up for herself and she shows it.”
While Killpack agreed the musical is outdated with its portrayals of misogyny and sexism, she explained that’s just what the time was like.
“It was very realistic to the 1850s. That’s what the culture was like,” Killpack said. “But even in that time, there were people like Milly who were willing to stand up for a change, which I love that about her.
Killpack has also had an interesting time working in the production because her three kids are also in the show.
“I’ve had to focus on my role and also keep track of them,” Killpack said. “They’re wonderful and they have a lot of experience but that is definitely a challenge.”
Josiah Rupp, from Sandy, played the role of Adam. Rupp found out about the production from a friend who was also auditioning.
“In short, Adam is one of those guys who had the responsibility of having to be a dad when he was only a brother. It was thrust upon him at a young age. He had to figure out how to keep the family going, how to keep the family surviving. So he made a lot of sacrifices and he gained confidence in the fact he could do anything he set his mind to, no matter how young he was,” Rupp said. “So he walks around with that kind of confidence and that kind of bravado. When he comes into town, he’s confident he can find a bride and he’s confident he can bring one back.”
Rupp described being in the play as very time consuming but very rewarding.
“It’s been fun for me to see us as a cast going from not even knowing each other to becoming a tight-knit group of people to work together,” Rupp said. “In my opinion, there’s the real talent of the cast. I’m just another guy without them.”
For more information about the Cottonwood Heights Arts Council, visit