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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Cottonwood High theatre students make literature come alive this season

Oct 02, 2017 11:28AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Sophia Morrill as Belle, Carter Wagstaff as Gaston. (Adam Wilkins/CHS)

Eerie sounds come from under the stage; a crank turns and chains rattle near the stairway; dark passageways hide the moans of creatures. The unexpected may appear when patrons explore the Haunted Hallway at Cottonwood High School.

Cottonwood theatre students kick off their busy season with a Haunted Hallway that takes patrons behind the scenes of the stage.  

The Haunted Hallway, which can dial back the level of scariness for young children, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, Oct. 30 near the school’s auditorium, 5715 S. 1300 East. 

Patrons are asked to bring non-perishable food as their entrance fee, said Theatre Director Adam Wilkins.

“Every year, we give the food to the Utah Food Bank, but this year, the food will go to Cottonwood’s food bank so it will directly help students and people in our community,” he said.

In years past, more than 1 ton of food has been donated to the food bank through a fun, entertaining way to bring “as much needed food into the hands who can use it,” Wilkins said.

After giving patrons a delightful thrill, the fall season will begin with “Beauty and the Beast,” which will run Thursday, Nov. 30 through Saturday, Dec. 2 and again on Monday, Dec. 4. Tickets are $9 in advance online or $10 general admission at the door.

Wilkins said that he has the right students with “a certain temperament and mix of vocal, acting and dance talent and technical expertise” to produce this show.

“We have the talent where we could have five Belles and five Beasts. To cast a show is the best and worst thing I do. It always makes a kid’s day and disappoints another,” he said.

In this show—which will feature the talents of about 170 students on stage, in the orchestra pit and in stage crew—Sophia Morrill will appear as Belle and Carter Wagstaff as Gaston.

“I love this Disney animated film and it tells of how brave Belle is and how we all need a role model like her. She is smart, spunky, brave, loving, caring, empathic, intelligent — it’s an important role models for girls as well as for our boys to appreciate,” he said.

Other highlights during the year will include the production of “Animal Farm,” which can be seen at the school Tuesday, March 6 through Saturday, March 10. General admission tickets will be $8.

“We’re going to tear down the walls, bring in a trough and some dirt and make great literature come to light. It’s going to be a hard show to do, but there’s intrigue, pleasure and joy out of performing hard material,” he said.

Wilkins also said that the concepts will be challenging as the students learn about the Communist revolution and need to be able to act like animals yet still relate to other students and the audience.

The final show, “Peter and the Starcatchers,” will be performed Wednesday, May 2 through Saturday, May 5 and again on Monday, May 7. General admission tickets will be $8.

“We are performing a year of great literature and making it feel connected for our audience. With ‘Peter and the Starcatchers,’ we are interpreting it to create for the audience a different take of ‘Peter Pan.’ With ‘Animal Farm,’ we hope the audience will find a deeper meaning. We can ask, ‘Who is the villain?’ in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ask our students and patrons to find a deeper meaning and not judge a book by the cover. It is a great to be able to make these stories come to life,” Wilkins said.

Sandwiched between these shows will be a Broadway Review and melodrama and at the end of the year, the one-act festival on Monday, May 14 and Tuesday, May 15.