Taylorsville Theater is in the Show Business

Kiss Me Kate comes to the high school stage


Julie Jensen

The actors in Taylorsville High’s “Kiss Me, Kate” are taking their final bows as they end the show on closing night.

Ari Jones, Reporter

The cast waits silently behind the cascading curtains as the audience quiets down. The lights dim and the pit orchestra is at attention. From the silence, the song, Another Op’nin Another Show, begins slowly. The stage lights rise to kick off Taylorsville High’s musical, Kiss Me, Kate.

Karl Gardner plays Fredrick C. Graham, which is a lead character. Gardner explains the story is based off of William Shakespeare’s, the Taming of the Shrew, in a musical version. “It’s a show within a show,” he says, “The characters are performing a show. Then all of a sudden, there’s conflict between the characters playing the actors. It’s complicated but it’s a really fun story.”

The preparation process takes about 2 and a half months depending on the role. For Alida Nesbitt, principal cellist, the pit orchestra practices everyday. “We play the songs until they are up to speed and fix mistakes as we go along,” Nesbitt informs. She also practices personally until she feels she knows how to play everything herself.

Matthew Sanderson, Vice President of Productions, explains how stage crew sets up for a performance. “We start off by measuring and cutting all the wood. I always hope there will be enough time to properly finish and paint every set we make.” Walking down B hall, students can see the theater department working with the saw in advance.

Gardner tells how this show’s preparation process is different from others for him personally. “This is my first actual, big lead and it’s a lot more stressful than the other shows I’ve been in. I’ve had other roles that require a lot of work but, this is a huge role seeing as a good portion of the show is me.”

With multiple roles, interaction within the sections doesn’t start right off the bat. Nesbitt, from the orchestra, says, “We don’t meet with the cast until 2 weeks before the show opens. We are off on our own until the last weeks when everyone comes together.” The whole show links and fits together, like a puzzle, in condensed time!

Gardner says because it is a show within a show, he speaks to Doc Jensen, orchestra conductor, directly in the show! “It’s a really interesting concept because usually the pit orchestra is not in the actual show,” he explains. He adds on to the topic of interaction, “Stage Crew is amazing and helps with everything you need. A show could not run without them. Seriously.”

Each member of the cast is important to run the program. To have this production stand out, students and directors of this cast reached out to Kenny N. who is a modern dance major at the University of Utah to do the choreography.

Gardner is pleased with Kenny’s work so far. “There is a song that opens the second act and it’s the best dancers of the whole cast. It’s so fast and they do it with such precision; it’s crazy. It tells the story so well.” He explains the uniqueness of this particular production. “Every cast and director do things differently.”

On the night of the performances, the cast is getting their full costumes together and warming their voices up. The orchestra is warming up as well and tuning. Stage crew, Sanderson says, is “… Usually last minute prep work the night of the show. It’s checking paint and to see if the fly system is properly weighted.” That means making sure the sets and curtains are safe for the performers.

Nesbitt shares her hopes for turnout and support. “It is a fun show! It’s different from basketball and football games.” She likes the different environment from sporting events. There is a contrast between the two.

She continues to express, “I’ve been playing all my life and so it’s fun to be able to show people what you can do. You can make a change in lives.” She wants to present her talents and efforts. She would love to change lives on show night!

Sanderson explains why he loves being apart of the program and department. “During a show, I am a nervous wreck because I love acting and making that magic come to life! I just love the art.”

After performing, actors have different emotions spurting out. Gardner tries to relay his feelings, “The feeling you get even after you close a show, is a tremendous feeling. You feel good telling a story. I like being able to visually see the production. Acting just makes me feel completely different than any other thing I’ve ever done.” He loves to sing, act, and full out perform.

Nesbitt loves the art as well. She says, “It’s like an exercise high but it’s a show high! I feel like the show went so well and I want to do it again.” Nesbitt was all smiles.

This year, the production ran November 12th, 13th, 18th, and 19th, all at 7p.m. in the auditorium. Mr. Garner and Mrs. Tarrant are the directors of the Department shows and were pleased with how it turned out.