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The City Journals

King of Scotland and king of New York: Olympus ends year with Shakespeare and ‘Newsies’

May 20, 2019 10:48AM ● By Heather Lawrence

Olympus students held a Shakespeare Festival in May and performed their scenes outdoors. (Photo courtesy Collin Campbell)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Olympus High seniors Cami DuMond and Collin Campbell have strong feelings about the years they’ve spent on the Olympus stage. They performed in both of Olympus theater’s year-end productions: the Shakespeare Festival on May 8, 9 and 10, and the musical “Newsies” on May 16, 17, 18 and 20.

“We auditioned for these parts a year ago and I was so excited when I found out that the last show of my senior year would be ‘Newsies,’” DuMond said.  

Campbell and DuMond are both seasoned actors in Olympus productions and have been working with Robin Edwards, the theater director at Olympus, for years. 

“Mrs. Edwards is amazing. We spend hours rehearsing, and the shows we chose for this year are very family-oriented, so we start to become like a family. And Mrs. Edwards is like our mom,” said Campbell.

 DuMond said of Edwards, “She is able to draw talent out of us that we didn’t know we had.”

Edwards sets the tone at Olympus with a combination of passion and planning. With productions planned a year in advance, she can give breaks to students who are involved in dance company or AP testing in the spring.  

“Newsies” has been on her short list “for 22 years. They just released the rights to the musical, so that’s why we’re doing it this year,” said Edwards. 

Edwards said she likes the passion in the story. “It’s about really believing in something and going for it. And there’s a true story behind it. We did research on real newsies and on the strike,” said Edwards. 

Edwards double-casts all her shows and puts leads in the ensemble on their off-nights. Her reasoning is to teach her students the importance of the ensemble. 

At dress rehearsal on May 13, DuMond said she was committed to both roles and the extra rehearsal time. “The whole cast will run this show twice today. Once in our ensemble parts, and once as our other characters,” DuMond said. DuMond’s other role was Medda and Campbell’s was Sykes.  

When it comes to costumes, Dawna Rasmussen has Olympus students covered, literally. “The costumes are important. For ‘Newsies’ we want historical accuracy. These are poor kids. The clothes won’t look new or nice. There won’t be costume changes because they wouldn’t have had many clothes. And of course they have to have hats. That’s what people wore,” said Rasmussen.

Olympus High students put the finishing touches on their production of “Newsies” at a dress rehearsal on May 13. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

 

To include as many students as possible, both males and females were cast as newsies, even though historically most were male. “We’re using the costumes to disguise the females,” Rasmussen said.  

Olympus has a vast costume closet and partners with the University of Utah to borrow or rent additional costumes. That’s what they did for their Shakespeare Festival earlier in May. 

“We do a Shakespeare Festival because I love it. It’s just for our school — we just do it for ourselves,” said Edwards. 

When students were given the choice between doing an entire play or doing scenes from several plays, they chose the latter. 

“Mrs. Edwards asked us to write down three of our dream roles from plays, and that’s how she cast them. I played Macbeth, and that was my favorite. Baptista from ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ was a close second,” said Campbell.  

DuMond was Katherine (the Shrew), daughter to Campbell’s Baptista.  “She’s so brash and feisty. I loved that she’s so funny and I loved their fight scenes,” DuMond said.  

Campbell, DuMond and the rest of the seniors are excited for what lies ahead — graduation, college and maybe a future in local theater. They said their time at Olympus has given them an education and passion for theater. 

“I have an emotional connection to being on stage at Olympus. It’s a little tough doing my last show here. I’ve been very involved in the theater program. It’s sad to leave, but ‘Newsies’ is a great show to finish with,” said Campbell.