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The City Journals

From fun-loving musicals to serious plays, Juan Diego theatre students set to take stage

Oct 28, 2016 09:19AM ● By Julie Slama

Juan Diego Catholic High School’s 25-member Shakespeare team competed along with more than 3,000 other high school students at the annual Utah Shakespeare High School Competition in Cedar City. (Joe Crnich/Juan Diego Catholic High School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Draper, Utah - Slick your hair back, sport your leather coat or poodle skirt and saddle shoes because “Grease is the time, is the place, is the motion … Grease is the way we are feeling” this November at Juan Diego Catholic High School.

The musical “Grease” will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 through Saturday, Nov. 12 at the school’s auditorium, 300 East 11800 South. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students. For reserved center seating, call 801-984-7650.

“This will be a great, entertaining show, with lots of dancing and singing,” Juan Diego Theater Director Joe Crnich said. “It’s different than the movie, but we’ll add in popular movie songs, such as ‘You’re the One I Want.’ This is the right show to do as we have a strong cast and it will be a fun show with so many seniors.”

Fifty students from eighth-graders at St. John the Baptist Middle School through Juan Diego High seniors have been rehearsing since late August. Leading the cast are the T-Birds and Pink Ladies, who include senior Lewis Rasmussen as Danny, senior Alison Stroud as Sandy, senior Lauren Cid as Rizzo, senior Samantha Mora as Frenchy, senior Brianna Bauer as Marty, senior Brynn Duncan as Jan, senior MacKenzie Hobbs as Kenickie, freshman Noah Omelchuk as Doody, junior Thomas Moore as Roger and eighth-grader Paul Ortega as Sonny.

In addition to the show being directed by Crnich, the choreographer is Shelti Thompson and the music is directed by Zachary Groebilnghoff.

Juan Diego’s theater season kicked off in early October when about 25 students competed alongside more than 3,000 others from across the state and region at the annual Utah Shakespeare High School Competition in Cedar City.

The team was led by Brynn and Thomas, who took second place in duo and trio scene, and Reilly Eder and Lauren Cid, whose performance of “My Jolly Sailor Bold” got third place. All Juan Diego’s monologue students placed in the top third with fourth, sixth and ninth places. The students also performed a compilation of scenes from “Julius Caesar” in the ensemble contest.

“This is a great bonding experience where students can watch and critique about 10 to 12 other students’ pieces, attend workshops about character, stage combat, acting, masking and others,” he said, adding that they had the opportunity to see three shows while in Cedar City.

The students also gave an encore performance of their pieces at the school Oct. 11–12.

In early spring, March 2–6, 2017, Juan Diego will perform “The Crucible.”

“I chose that as many of the students have studied it their junior year in English, so it will attract many of our own students as well as the community,” Crnich said.

Later in the spring, Juan Diego students will take the stage with “Dead Man Walking Project” and “The Musical of Musicals.”

Dead Man Walking, a book by Sister Helen Prejean, is about her experiences as a chaplain on death row. Her book also was made into a film starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. Crnich said students have read and discussed the book in their theology classes.

“The Musical of Musicals” is a short musical structured into five acts parodying well-known musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and John Kander and Fred Ebb.

“It’s super funny and well loved. The kids will have fun with it,” he said.

The theater year also will include regional and state competitions in March and April.

“We try to give our students all sorts of theater shows so they’ll learn from many different experiences,” Crnich said.