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Sandy Journal

Jordan High theatre students excited for upcoming performances

Oct 01, 2022 08:19PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Jordan High’s theater program is gaining momentum after the dark COVID-19 days, with about 70 students heading to compete in the 46th annual high school Shakespearean competition and at least that many taking part in their fall musical, “Once Upon a Mattress.”

Before the Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 competition in Cedar City, students were to take the stage in late September to perform for their community all their Shakespeare pieces, including vignettes from “Richard III,” dance and choir pieces and various scenes and monologues. Jordan’s stage tech crew also was scheduled to compete in Tech Olympics.

Director Suzie DuVal said that she was looking for an ensemble piece to showcase students and found it in “Richard III.”

“I have a lot of really talented senior girls this year and I was looking for something that really showed them off and that they could be really powerful in and ‘Richard III’ fit; and Richard is a great role for a guy so I really like it and think it's really cool,” she said, adding that the Shakespeare team members are from her auditioned Advanced Theatre class as it is with the auditioned choir classes under JP Kentros and dance classes, under Sloane Love.

However, the school musical, which will be at 7 p.m., Nov. 3-5 and again on Nov. 7, is open to any student who auditions. It will be performed in Jordan’s auditorium, 95 E. Beetdigger Lane.

“We did ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ eight years ago, but it just seems the right fit for this group this year. There are lots of role opportunities and I’m pretty excited about it. For example, the jester could be someone tall, someone short, could be a girl or a guy. It gave us a lot of flexibility,” DuVal said.

With a cast of about 40, and another 10 to 15 students in the pit choir, plus a pit orchestra and tech crew, DuVal is working with students’ schedules to involve as many as possible.

“We’re doing a pit choir because we had some kids that really wanted to do the show, but they couldn't commit to the full rehearsal schedule. They're going to sing backstage with mics and help fill out our sound. We're excited about giving them more experience and opportunity and it’s a way we can pull in more students,” she said, adding that Eastmont Middle School students also will be included in this year’s production.

While DuVal and Nicole Lopez are directing the show, the musical director is Kentros and the conductor is Jordan Wright. Choreography is by Taylor Sibley Meredith.

Tickets are $6 at the door or through the HomeTown Fan App.

Following the musical will be the theater department’s “Night of Broadway” 7 p.m., Dec. 15. Tickets will be $5.

“It’s an evening of Broadway music that serves as a fundraiser for our trip to UTA’s (Utah Theater Association) conference in January,” she said.

Jordan then will perform in their yet-to-be-announced school play Feb. 23-27, 2023, before hosting region one-act plays March 9. Then, the Beetdiggers will travel across town to Alta High on March 23 for region individual acts. State competition is in April.

Those competition pieces will be showcased at 7 p.m., March 6 for the community.

The Beetdiggers’ final performances will be a Theatre II showcase at 7 p.m., May 9 and student-directed one-act plays at 7 p.m., May 17-18; both performances will be in the school’s choir room, to “provide a more intimate” experience, DuVal said.

“I hope to have a bunch of student-written pieces that we'll produce,” she said.

Jordan High also will have their improv team perform several times during the year; the first show is scheduled for November.

“Our team is a drop in and is open to anybody in drama club so they can just come if they want to perform in the show,” she said, adding that students come to rehearsals beforehand and are part of the school drama club. “Sometimes we'll have 20 students, sometimes we'll have 30. We really like having the opportunity; it's been a great place for students who want to perform and maybe can't make a full commitment to a show. I really think it helps build skills of my younger performers as they're getting more opportunities to perform.”

In addition to supporting the improv team, the school drama club provides students with social occasions, service through middle school workshops, and opportunities to attend professional theater shows.