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Draper Journal

Juan Diego Catholic High School theater season offers classics

Oct 01, 2018 01:35PM ● By Jana Klopsch

“Guys and Dolls” will open this month at Juan Diego, featuring juniors Noah Omelchuk, Nya Elder and Gabe Veltri, and senior Rosie Ortega. (Joe Crnich/Juan Diego Catholic High School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Within weeks of each other, Juan Diego students were set to take the stage performing “Richard III” and “Guys and Dolls.”

“We moved up our fall musical to October so we wouldn’t have to set up and take down our sets with so many other shows and groups using our stage,” director Joe Crnich said. “So we casted ‘Guys and Dolls’ in late May and started with going over scripts at the end of July.”

Crnich said that this way, students were able to first get familiar with the “Guys and Dolls” script in early summer, then watch the 1955 movie together as a fun mid-July activity before getting into the rehearsal schedule.

“Most of the kids have seen a version of it and I’ve sent them clips from different productions, but it was a fun way to look at the full show together,” he said.

The family-friendly production will be performed at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11 through Saturday, Oct. 13 and again at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 14 in the Juan Diego Catholic High auditorium, 300 East 11800 South. 

The show, set in the early 1950s in Manhattan, features junior Noah Omelchuk as Nathan Detroit, junior Nya Elder as Miss Adelaide, junior Gabe Veltri as Sky Masterson and senior Rosie Ortega as Sarah Brown. 

“The music is great and it’s a fun show to do. We did ‘Godspell’ last year and after doing that show, this is easier to approach with the students. It’s a contemporary show that works well with our cast,” Crnich said.

Students were slated to perform “Richard III” at the annual Shakespeare competition, hosted by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University, Sept. 27 through Sept. 29 in Cedar City. About 25 Juan Diego students will compete not only in their ensemble piece, but also in scenes, monologues, choir performances and the Tech Olympics, he said.

After these shows, students will shift gears and focus on their part in the performing arts show, Lux Dei, at St. John the Baptist Parrish. In addition to performances by the choir and dance students, theater students will share their piece around the theme, “Nativity,” at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8.

In the spring, Juan Diego theater will present Moliere’s “Tartuff,” a French classic written and first performed in 1664.

“Moliere is considered the French’s Shakespeare. The piece is a comedy, a satire on French society. I want to expose students to different playwrights and styles. We have our classic American musical comedy, a Shakespeare piece and this farce that reveals how the aristocrat society is. We’ll teach the style, the way of life with bustles, corsets, white wigs and have them understand it. Few schools introduce Moliere and so when a number of our kids go into college programs nationwide, they are impressed with them,” Crnich said.

The season ends with the students performing “Triangle,” a play about New York City’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, where within 30 minutes, nearly 150 workers, mostly young immigrant women, perished when some of the shirtwaist factory doors were locked. Some of those who did find an unlocked door died when the fire escape collapsed. The dates for the performance are yet to be determined.

Students also will take that piece to their regional competition in March 2019. State follows one month later, in April.