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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton theater students prep for final performance in 50-year old auditorium

Oct 02, 2019 02:00PM ● By Julie Slama

Brighton High’s “Catch Me If You Can” leads Avery Madsen (playing Frank Abagnale Jr.) and Jordan Luke (playing Carl Hanratty) are all smiles after a rehearsal. (Photo courtesy of Avery Wright/Brighton High)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

With its parking lot torn up and construction on the new high school — including a new auditorium — in progress, Brighton High theater students are learning a little about perseverance.

In the spirit of “the show must go on,” Brighton will perform “Catch Me If You Can” as its last musical in the 50-year-old auditorium at 2220 East Bengal Boulevard. The show will be at 7 p.m., Nov. 8, 9, 11 and 12, under the direction of new theater director Austin Kimbell. 

“It’s a super fun show all about the journey taken while on the run from the FBI and what he learns about himself through his journey,” he said. “It fits well with the construction. This is the last time we will be working in this space and in that moment, like the show itself, we will be deciding where we are going.”

Kimbell, who graduated from Utah Valley University before teaching at Kearns High School last year, said he has had several conversations with his students about the show.

“We talked about why we chose the show and set goals to accomplish on this journey by closing night,” he said. “We’ve talked about where we are going, much in line with the construction. The auditorium will still be operational through fall. After that, our spring play and showcase will be held at Butler Middle School, and our classroom will be on the opposite side of the school after December. We already have half of our stuff boxed up, so I’m not sure what all we have, but we’re making it work together.”

Tickets for the musical, which will feature about 60 students, will be available by mid-October in the school office as well as at the door. The show features Avery Madsen, who plays Frank Abagnale Jr., and Jordan Luke as Carl Hanratty. The stage manager is Avery Wright.

Students in the Theater 3 class will take to the road beforehand, competing Oct. 3–5 at the annual high school Shakespeare competition, hosted by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University, in Cedar City. 

The ensemble piece will be chosen by the class so they can learn how to pick a piece, Kimbell said.

“Oftentimes, students graduate and they don’t know how to pick a piece because it’s always been the teacher who picks it. This way, they can learn how to pick a piece they will perform,” he said.

In addition to the ensemble, students will compete in scenes, monologues, dance and Tech Olympics as well as see “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “The Price” while they’re there.

Kimbell said the students will compete in the region contest in March at Olympus High. State is in April in Farmington. The spring play has yet to be announced.

Mixed in amongst the shows, the improvisation team will be revived, starting in the winter. Kimbell said there will likely be three shows this year.

Students also can be involved with the drama club, where they will not only attend local shows, including those at Pioneer Memorial Theatre, but also hold socials and volunteer service work for the community.

“There’s a lot of changes going on, with a new building, a new auditorium, a new teacher, but I’ve looked at the blueprints and it looks like Mindy Curtis (Brighton’s former theater director) hit what we need right on. We’ll have 1,400 seats and a fly system and we are very pumped.”