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Sandy Journal

Jordan High’s stage comes alive with Shakespeare and ‘Brigadoon’

Oct 12, 2023 01:51PM ● By Julie Slama

Seventy Jordan High theater, dance and choir students are dedicating their first eight weeks of school to Shakespeare.

Jordan’s Shakespeare team will take a devised piece from “The Tempest” to compete at the 47th annual Shakespeare high school competition Oct. 5-7 in Cedar City. 

“We’re really excited with our devised piece, and we had a really good group that thought it would be fun to write it together,” director Suzie DuVal said. “I like having this ensemble team that plays on everybody’s strengths rather than having one lead person.”

Prior to the competition, a Shakespeare showcase at the school will be held at 7 p.m., Oct. 2. The $5 ticket will help support the Shakespeare team, she said.

Following their Shakespearean performances, the student-actors will work simultaneously on both their fall musical, “Brigadoon,” as well as their spring play, “Pride and Prejudice.”

“We have a broader skill set so we’re going to be building a lot at the same time. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ has 29 roles, so we’re going to be casting that in a couple of weeks, and we’re going to do the choreography this fall at the same time as working on ‘Brigadoon,’” she said, noting that it gives students who want to participate in plays, but work after school, the opportunity to get involved. 

“Brigadoon” will be performed at 7 p.m., Nov. 9-11 and Nov. 13 on the school stage, 95 Beetdigger Blvd. Tickets will be available at the door.

The show, with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, follow two American tourists who stumble upon Brigadoon, a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day in every 100 years, and the love of one tourist for a maiden from the village.

DuVal said she has been waiting a couple years for the right cast to direct the show.

“‘Brigadoon’ was a good pick for the cast. I have a lot of strong men this year and there’s a lot of great male roles in that show. Plus, my costume designer, Mary Ellen Smith, has wanted to do ‘Brigadoon’ forever. Her basement is full of costumes so one day this summer, I went over to her house and we went through every box and held the costumes up and it was like, ‘bring me to life,’” she said.

As a special treat, Jordan High Principal Bruce Eschler will take the stage alongside the 60 members of the cast to perform as a clan leader.

“He’s been supportive of our program and the arts; he travels with us to Shakespeare so it’s going to be fun,” DuVal said.

Joining DuVal with the direction of the musical is Jordan Wright, pit orchestra director; Jaron Putman, music director; Taylor Meredith, choreographer; and Madi Michaels, a Jordan High alumna who is the assistant director.

At 7 p.m., Dec. 14, the Jordan thespians will take the stage for “A Night of Broadway,” which may feature up to 20 performances and will serve as a fundraiser for the 40 Theatre 3 and 4 students to attend the Utah Theatre Association conference in January.

“The students are always excited for this,” DuVal said. “I have a lot of talented freshmen, and this will give them more performance opportunities.”

“Pride and Prejudice” will be on stage at 7 p.m., Feb. 22-24 and again on Feb. 26, 2024. It is a theatrical version of Jane Austen’s classic novel that addresses relationships and courtship between the independent-minded Elizabeth and the handsome yet perplexing Mr. Darcy.

The students then will compete in March at region. State is in April.

The season concludes with student-directed one acts on May 21-22, 2024. λ