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Draper Journal

Corner Canyon High unveils theatrical lineup: Shakespearean classics to ABBA hits

Oct 12, 2023 09:21AM ● By Julie Slama

At the 47th annual Shakespeare high school competition, Corner Canyon will kick off its theatrical season with a 10-minute excerpt of William Shakespeare’s earliest tragedies, “Titus Andronicus.”

Eighty students will take part in the ensemble and individual and small group performances, choir and dance contests and Tech Olympics Oct. 5-7. The ensemble is being directed by theatre teacher Case Hamilton.

“He wanted to do something that would challenge the kids and ‘Titus Andronicus’ is one of Shakespeare’s hardest plays,” said Corner Canyon High director Phaidra Atkinson, who works alongside Hamilton.

The night before they take the Cedar City stage, the Chargers will perform the pieces on their own stage, inviting Draper Park Middle School theater students to join them with their own piece. The free “Shakespeare Showcase” will be at 6 p.m., Oct. 4 at the school, 12943 S. 700 East.

“It’s going to be a big celebration of Shakespeare with five different groups performing,” Atkinson said.

For some student-actors, it has meant juggling rehearsals not only for Shakespeare, but also for “The Addams Family,” their fall musical that will be performed at 7 p.m., Nov. 9-11 and Nov. 13 as well as at 1 p.m., Nov. 11. Tickets are $10 in advance at and $12 at the door while seats are available.

The musical comedy with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice is based on ghoulish characters in “The Addams Family” created by Charles Addams.

“We have 86 kids in the cast, 30 student-musicians in the pit, 30 technicians and about 25 dance company members. We do this big show every year, which is always a lot of fun. We chose ‘The Addams Family’ because we wanted a funky show that the kids really like after doing a classical musical theatre performance of ‘Crazy for You’ last year. This is something they can have fun with, and they can be goofy, spooky and creative playing those Addams Family characters,” she said. 

Atkinson said there are several opportunities for students in the show.

“We have the main family, which will be our leads; the ancestors, which will be featured; and the spirits, or ensembles that will be in a lot of scenes and in a lot of numbers,” she said.

Atkinson and Hamilton will direct the show with Melissa Thorne as vocal director and Mitchell Atencio directing the orchestra pit. Brittany Hester is the dance company director and Brooke Barns is overseeing costuming. Atkinson also is helping with choreography and Hamilton is over the technical side of sets, lights and sound.

Following the musical will be the student-directed showcase, where seniors will direct four yet-to-be-announced plays that run between 20 to 30 minutes. The show will be at 7 p.m., Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in the Little Theatre.

Shortly afterward, the thespians will help with the school’s annual charity fundraiser. They’ll put on their annual “Broadway Backwards” at 7 p.m. Dec. 12, performing “in something that they wouldn’t normally get cast as,” Atkinson said. “If it’s a gender thing, or if it’s a race thing or if it’s an age thing that normally would prevent them from playing that role, then this is their chance.” 

Tickets cost $5 for the show in the Little Theatre, but she’s hoping patrons will donate as they pass the bucket to raise more money for their cause.

The student-actors will then have the opportunity to attend the Utah Theatre Association conference Jan. 18-20, 2024 at Weber State University where they’ll be able to attend workshops, see performances and network with other students in the field.

In March 2024, Corner Canyon will travel to Jordan School District to compete in their one-act, “Wiley and the Hairy Man,” by Suzan Zeder. They also will compete in individual and small group performances. Atkinson is directing the students.

The state competition is in April 2024.

The thespians’ last show of the season is the musical, “Mamma Mia!,” a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson based on songs recorded by Swedish group ABBA and composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, members of the band. 

It will be at 7 p.m., May 9-11 in the auditorium. Tickets are $10 in advance at and $12 at the door while seats are available. Both Atkinson and Hamilton are directing the show.

“We have a lot of very talented girls so we wanted to pick a show that would showcase all these amazing girls and ABBA has such fun music. When we announced we’d be doing ‘Mamma Mia!,’ all the girls jumped up and down screaming, hugging, crying. This is their dream show. They’d say, ‘it’s the best thing to ever happen at Corner Canyon High School.’ I loved it on Broadway 20 years ago and couldn’t get enough. It definitely is a fun show,” Atkinson said.

Many of the students are part of the 80-member drama club that attends plays and musicals together, holds socials and hang out together.

“We want them to feel they have a home and a place to go and make friends,” she said. “I love that about drama club; they want everyone to be included.” λ