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The City Journals

Alta, Jordan to compete at Shakespeare contest before hosting November musicals

Sep 05, 2019 03:44PM ● By Julie Slama

In October, Jordan will have tickets on sale for “Guys and Dolls”; this year’s poster was designed by senior Nathan Holley. (Suzie Duval/Jordan)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

As the school year started, Alta and Jordan theater students were not only getting back in the grove of attending classes and doing homework, they were also auditioning for Shakespeare ensembles and fall musicals.

Both Alta and Jordan high schools have plans to perform Oct. 3–5 at the annual high school Shakespeare competition, hosted by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University, in Cedar City. 

To prepare for the competition, Jordan plans to have “A Night of Shakespeare” for the community at 7 p.m., Oct. 1 on their stage, 95 Beetdigger Boulevard. Proceeds from the $5 tickets are earmarked to help fund the trip. Jordan actors, dancers, singers and others plan to compete; last year, about 75 students took part. 

Alta also plans to have a Shakespearean showcase at 7 p.m., Oct. 2, under the direction of film and theater teacher Nicole Triptow. It will take place in the school’s auditorium, 11055 South Hawk Highway. She will direct about 30 students in “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” tying in Alice and Wonderland characters. 

“She’s using the concept of ‘we may feel lost in the world, but it explores who we are and what we want to become,’” said Alta theater director Linze Struiksma. 

While rehearsing Shakespeare, students also will be learning their parts in the fall musicals.

Jordan will put on “Guys and Dolls” at 7 p.m., Nov. 7–9 and again on Nov. 11, with tickets available before the show in the school office as well as at the door. Prices are $5 for students and $7 for adults.

“I’ve been waiting to do this show for years; it’s a favorite, a classic and has such fantastic music,” said Jordan theater director Suzie Duval. “We have a lot of strong men this year and a great group of gals. Our choreographer (Wendy Wilde) has cool ideas to weave women on the stage more and incorporate moveable props into the choreography. We don’t have a fly system, so we will have the whole set on wheels creating a more fluid set.” 

Duval said that about 30 students will be helping with the sets, designing and painting as well as doing lighting and sound behind the scenes.

Jordan’s season follows with the Dec. 17 “Night of Broadway” fundraiser for students to attend the Utah Theatre Association’s conference in mid-January 2020. Tickets are $5.

“The whole school can audition for the show, which is about two hours long. I love doing it and it allows kids who may not have been leads a chance to develop their skills and shine,” she said.

On March 10, the Beetdiggers will perform the world premiere of “Lifeboat,” an original piece about the people who got onto a lifeboat from the sinking Titanic, written by senior Nathan Holley. He also will direct the productions class in the performance.

“He worked on it last summer, did a ton of research on the actual people in the Titanic and wove their stories into it. He created original music for the show and shared it as one of the top six finalists at the UTA workshop last year. He also has read it in a stage reading in front of an audience. He’s just amazing, an all-around artist,” Duval said. 

On March 12, Jordan will host the one-act region theater competition. State is in April. 

Jordan High’s spring show will be “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

“We alternate every other year with a Shakespeare play, which allows our students more opportunities. I love this show; it’s fun and has a different style and time period. It’s also a newer show, which balances with the classic ‘Guys and Dolls,’” Duval said.

Their season will conclude with a 7 p.m., May 11–12 theater II and musical theater showcase.

After Shakespeare, Alta student will perform “Once Upon A Mattress” at 7 p.m., Nov. 21–23 and again on Nov. 25, under the direction of Struiksma, as their final musical on the school’s 40-year-old stage. Vocal direction is under April Lund with the orchestra being directed by Caleb Shabestari.

Tickets are $9 online starting in October on the school website or $10 at the door.

“The show fits our kids and there are great comedic roles. It’s fun, it’s upbeat and there are great characters for our kids. I like the message of the show to not judge a book by its cover and to accept who we are and loving them for that. This year we’re keeping things simple, including our set, since we have limited space with construction around our school,” Struiksma said. 

Alta High is currently undergoing additions to the school, including a new performing arts center, which will open in the spring. Because of the everchanging theater conditions, Struiksma said they will wait to announce their February show and they do plan to compete at region and state.

“We know we have to adapt to our construction. As they remodel parts of the school, our classroom will be the stage and we’ll have limited space with set pieces,” she said.

Their student-directed one-acts will take place on the new stage in the performing arts center in May.

“I’m excited about the possibilities in the future for our performing arts students with the new stage and auditorium,” Struiksma said.