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South Jordan Journal

Winning theatre team to bring ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ to Bingham stage

Oct 22, 2018 01:13PM ● By Jana Klopsch

BHS theater students, fresh off of winning first place for ensemble at the 42nd Utah Shakespeare High School Competition, will present “Singin’ in the Rain” in November. (BHS Theater Department)

By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com

“We were already an hour and one half closer to Salt Lake when I got the text,” Bingham theater director Michelle Robbins said about the Bingham High Shakespeare team that competed along with more than 3,000 others from across the state and region at the annual Utah Shakespeare High School Competition in Cedar City. “When I told the team we won the best ensemble, they were excited.”

Excited meaning the team erupted into cheers and yells.

Their ensemble was a devised piece created from Shakespearean dialogues titled, “Woman, thy name is frailty,” which explores how men talk to women. The 39-member team, which also competed in tech Olympics, scenes and monologues, also brought home a second-place finish in improvisation and tied for fourth in sweepstakes.

That momentum is being put into rehearsals for their fall musical, “Singin’ in the Rain,” which the group will perform at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17, and again, Monday, Nov. 19 and Tuesday, Nov. 20 on the Bingham High School stage, 2160 West 10400 South in South Jordan. There also will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 17.

Tickets online are $10 for premium seating and $8 for general seating and can be purchased from a link on the school’s website. At the door, they will cost $2 more.

“We selected ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ because we had the right kids for it, but also because for our set designer, who plans to retire and has wanted to make it rain on stage,” she said about Lance Hansen, who already has retired from teaching. “It’s a fun show, and many people already know it from the movie.”

Robbins said that point actually makes the production challenging.

“Because so many people know it, they expect certain things, and we’re needing to re-create that on our stage and spend a lot of detail to certain scenes,” she said.

Optional rehearsals began with tap lesson workshops this summer. Bingham’s second theater director, Liz Smith, worked with students for about 20 hours over several weeks, teaching and improving their tapping skills.

Students also likely watched the movie, as the play closely follows it, Robbins said.

This fall, 61 actors were cast and are joining the stage crew of 20 students and 20 instrumentalists in the orchestra pit.

“We have a little more than 100 kids involved in this classical musical,” she said. “Every three years, we rotate from a classical musical to a huge spectacular to a contemporary piece so our students have a chance to experience all types of theater.” 

The cast features senior Jackson Holladay as Don Lockwood, senior Hannah Gould as Kathy Selden, senior Baylee Reid as Lena Lina Lamont, and junior Nathan Prestwich as Cosmo Brown.

In addition to Robbins directing the show, the music direction is under Deborah Veater, and the choreographer is Lori Metcalf. 

Following the musical, students will begin rehearsals for “The Odd Couple,” both the 1960s male version as well as the 1980s female repertoire. Director Liz Smith will oversee the productions.

“It will be a nice challenge for our stage crew to design sets for both casts, as we’ll need different set pieces,” Robbins said.

Throughout the year, the school’s drama club, which averages about 50 members, will be holding events from socials to service, including their recent trick-or-treating for food they planned to donate to those in need. 

“Our theme is ‘be fearless, just play,’ which is about overcoming anxiety and not to be afraid but to have fun and just play,” she said.

As part of that motto of playing, about 15 members will carry that forward as part of the school’s improv team. Its next show, at 7 p.m., Dec. 14, will be a “pay to play” performance, which proceeds will be donated to True Blue, the school fundraiser for a charity. Tickets for that performance are $5. Other performances throughout the school year will be $3.

Bingham will perform in a yet-to-be-announced production in the spring, along with competing in their regional competition in March. State theater is in April, and the musical theater competition is in May.

The season will end with about eight one-act showcases directed by seniors the second week of May.