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South Jordan Journal

Mountain Creek to perform ‘Seussical’ as Elk Ridge wraps up its show

Mar 03, 2020 01:16PM ● By Julie Slama

The audience applauded the prince’s ball scene in “Cinderella,” which took place at Elk Ridge Middle in February. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

It’s the new school’s first musical and theater teacher Alex Waller is excited to direct 60 Mountain Creek Middle School students in “Seussical.”

“It’s a really fun show,” he said. “Students are learning to come out of their comfort zone; they’re learning they can do anything they want to do.”

Mountain Creek Middle’s family-friendly production will be held at 6 p.m., March 31 to April 3 on their school stage, 5325 Bingham Rim Rd. Tickets are $4.

Seussical, with its set “more like a pop-up book” examines “doing the right thing even if it’s not popular,” Waller said. 

“It’s a great middle school show to do,” he said. “It was going on at Hale (Centre Theatre), so we had actors come talk to the kids, do a Q&A with them.” 

The show, which was open to any student who auditioned in mid-January, has a seven-member drama council overseeing students being on task, helping with hair and planning the cast party. The 14-member stage crew will run the set, lights and sound. In addition, art students, under the direction of Jodie Milad, are helping with the sets.

Assisting with music is choir and band director Cameron Elliott. Katelynn White is the choreographer.

In February, Elk Ridge Middle wrapped up its performances in the Broadway version of “Cinderella,” under the direction of Rebecca Schmidt, who is quick to thank volunteers, parents and musical director Dave Martin and choreographer Alicia Giove for their assistance.

Schmidt picked the show as it lends to a larger ensemble and involves more students in larger parts. “Cinderella” had a cast of 96 and 30 stage tech students.

“We wanted a modern, more involved version where they’re trying to help the prince learn what’s wrong with the kingdom,” she said. “It lends to more personalities than the original.”

She also liked the kindness theme in the show, and the cast created posters to welcome audience members and students to write about their messages of kindness on posters outside the theater.

At two-hour daily rehearsals for three months, students rehearsed their lines and songs, practiced dancing and blocking in preparation for the show.

“They learned they can work hard and as a group, they can do something difficult,” she said. “That lesson translates to class. They’ll be much more confident when they share ideas or speak in front of one another.”

For some, it’s the first time they have done something this big, Schmidt said.

“They don’t’ realize how intense it is and how magical it will end up looking,” she said. 

Those who had been involved in last year’s musical realize the magic. Behind the spotlight, eighth graders Gabrielle Bird and Lucas Woichik worked together to get the sound and lights ready for the set on the last day of performances, not wanting to see this show end. 

Classmate Hannah Terry, who was in the ensemble, was getting ready for the performances as well.

“When I was in elementary, I was so excited to come and try out,” she said. “When we’re in the show, we become friends with a deeper bond because there’s an emotional connection with the show. It’s nerve-racking waiting backstage, but then you see how well the audience loves it, it’s the greatest feeling. Last year, we were crying in the last scene of closing night. Parents were wanting to take a cast photo, and here we were, with makeup running down our faces. I’m sure it will be the same way tonight.”

Schmidt said that’s her favorite part.

“I love to see the kids get accustomed to working hard and working together and see it through all the way to the joy of fruition,” she said. “The friendships they make, connects them to each other. They’re here to reach out and support each other.”

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