Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Students at Centerville Junior High prepare to perform ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Students at Centerville Junior High prepare to perform ‘Hello, Dolly!’
The big time • Eighth- and ninth-graders will be center stage at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre.
Paul Fraughton | Salt Lake Tribune The cast of Centerville Jr. High School's production of "Hello Dolly!" rehearse in the school's music room.
Chaos describes the scene in the dance room at Centerville Junior High School.
Music fills the room. About 70 kids bounce around. Some are singing, others laughing and still others are reading books and doing their homework.
They’ve learned their dances, they’ve learned their music, and they know where to stand. Well, mostly.
Eighth- and ninth-graders at Centerville Junior High have been working for months to learn the play “Hello, Dolly!,” and they’re gearing up to perform it tonight and through the weekend at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre.
All the practice sessions have been held at the Junior High in the dance room or cafeteria. The actual performances will he held at CenterPoint, but due to production schedules, students won’t rehearse there until the last second. Only their final rehearsals will be held on the stage where they will perform.
“We are so lucky that we get to use a great facility. The kids have a good idea what the stage and set are like, but until the last minute, they have never been on it, so we have to over-prepare. To use beginners in this way is scary. It’s a hard thing to be able to think on your feet in the movement and react how you need to, but they always do an excellent job” said drama teacher Ami Swallow.
Students have been practicing during their seventh period class. As the performance looms, they have been practicing every day after school for two hours. “We’ve practiced too many hours, yet not enough,” Swallow said.
The students in the play had tryouts in January. Savannah Moffat, 15 and in the ninth grade, won the role of Dolly. When she found out she was going to play the lead, she was so excited she knocked over a few chairs. Savannah would love to be a professional actress someday.
“I’m definitely nervous about my performance, but it’s more excitement. Learning the lines has been tough. I’m just exhausted every day. I’m tired all the time, but it’s worth it,” Moffat said.
Parents are supportive of the students in the play and have shared responsibility for props, costumes and the sets. They are also helping with sound and lighting.
In addition to the fun of learning new skills, practicing and performing, the cast members have enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with their friends and build new relationships.
Jessie Harrison, 15, performs as a waiter and in the ensemble.
“I love being with friends and being able to dance. I’ve been dancing for 10 years,” she said. “I’m not particularly nervous, just hoping it will run smoothly. The hardest thing has been time management trying to get everything to fit together.”
Swallow has been impressed by her students.
“It’s always great to see how much junior high kids can do. It’s always amazing to me,” Swallow said. “We always put on a wonderful show.”
‘Hello, Dolly!’
Where • Centerpoint Legacy Theater, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville
When • Thursday, May 24 and Friday, May 25 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 26 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Cost • $6.50, available at Centerville Junior High School, 625 S. Main Street, Centerville

© 2012 The Salt Lake Tribune
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