Olympus High students bid a fond, and watery, farewell to their old stage
‘Singin’ in the Rain’ • The classic musical will be the last performance in the current building.
Published: April 5, 2013 05:29PM
Updated: April 5, 2013 05:32PM
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Rinna Waddhany | Special to The Tribune Olympus High School students rehearse for "Singing in the Rain," the last performance that will take place on the school's stage before the new Olympus High School opens this spring.

When the curtain rises and falls for Olympus High’s “Singin’ in the Rain,” it will be the last time students take the stage in the current school building.

On April 8, the Titans will move to their newly constructed school.

“It’ll be Olympus’ way of going out with a bang,” said Sarah Keating, the senior who plays Lina Lamont in the musical. “ ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is so iconic, and to be able to portray that as our last show is amazing.”

Robin Edwards, drama teacher and musical director, had always wanted to put together “Singin’ in the Rain.”

“It’s not done a lot because of the technical difficulties with the rain, and I had heard stories about floors being ruined,” Edwards said.

So when she found out about relocating to a different building, she said it was the perfect opportunity — they could afford to possibly flood the stage, and the work speaks to theater lovers.

“It’s a musical about music, about movies, about actors,” Edwards said. “It’s a play within a play.”

Edwards started teaching drama at the school in the fall of 1990. This is the 24th production she has directed at Olympus High.

“The only thing that you can keep of that is your memories,” she said. “The magic is never in a videotape version of a musical, ever.”

Senior Maria Pietro is stage manager and has been involved with Olympus High’s musicals for three years. Although she’s graduating soon, she said she’s excited that the upcoming students will have a new auditorium and equipment.

“A lot of technical things in our school are very old,” Pietro said. “The microphones and sound boards are very old, about 15 years old, and that provides us with a lot of problems.”

According to Pietro, the lights also were unreliable.

“Two months ago, the lights completely shut down on us,” she said. “We couldn’t rehearse correctly for about two weeks.”

Edwards said the auditorium at the new school is bigger, and she got emotional when she walked in for the first time.

“They still had all the scaffolding, and I stood at the back of it and almost started to cry,” she said. “It’s a place that can bring joy, understanding, bring the community together.”

Vocal coach Vicki Belnap started teaching at Olympus High in 1996. Belnap said she’s grateful to work in a community that cherishes the performing arts.

“These kids work hard, and they have those seeds planted at an early stage,” she said. “It’s a great place to bring your talent because the community loves it, and the administration supports it.”

Belnap described this performance of “Singin’ in the Rain” as “sentimental,” a way to say goodbye to many years of memories and to open up a new chapter.

“We can’t wait, but it’s strange,” she said. “The tears come when you think of leaving.”

Moving to the new school, she said she hopes students will carry on that passion that she has seen for many years.

“There’s an extraordinarily large number of students here who are passionate about performing arts,” Belnap said. “We’re thrilled there are kids who audition and are happy to be in our chorus.”

Ben Smith, a junior, plays the lead part. He learned to tap dance for his role as Don Lockwood.

“Tap dancing is exhausting, but it’s a fun thing to be able to learn and feel accomplished about,” Smith said.

He said he loves the experience even with the demanding schedule since the musical was moved up a couple of months.

“It’s kind of like a grand finale,” Smith said. “It’ll be a memory that we’ll never forget.”

The musical originally was scheduled to run in May, but was moved up to March because the moving date into the new building changed. Besides not wanting to pour water on the new stage, the students didn’t want to perform in the new venue without rehearsing there first.

“The kids have been really putting their best foot forward,” Edwards said. “The fact that they’re here on a Saturday night [rehearsing] is very unusual.”

Senior Diana Harden’s favorite movie is “Singin’ in the Rain,” so putting in the extra rehearsal time as Kathy Selden hasn’t been an issue.

“It’s the second musical this year, and it’s been pretty difficult for the whole school trying to work around a spring musical,” Harden said. “It’s a huge group effort and goes to show the show must go on.”

The show runs March 25-29 every evening at 7. Closing day will include the night performance and a 2 p.m. matinee. Tickets are $7.50 if purchased online and $9 at the door.

Junior Tanner Ashcraft, who plays Cosmo Brown, said there’s an added pressure to think about the musical sending everyone off from the old building.

“It’s cool to think this is the last one that’s going to be on this stage, but it’s daunting because we need to send them out well,” he said. “I think it’s going to be such a mixture of joy, relief and sadness because so many years of tradition is over, but we’re turning a new leaf over.”

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“Singin’ in the Rain”

The final musical performance at the current building before the school moves to the new building on adjacent ground.

When • March 25–29, 7 nightly with a matinee March 29

Where • Olympus High, 4055 S. 2300 East, Holladay

Tickets • $7.50 at olympushigh.wikispaces.com or $9 at the door