Highland Rambler

The student news site of Highland High School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Highland Rambler

Highland Rambler

Highland Theater Presents Jazz Explosion

Last night, Highland theater had its last performance of Jazz Explosion, which was a student-directed and choreographed show, meant to showcase the talents of the many members of the drama program.

Sebastien Green, Sarah Kurth, Aviana Cova, and Leah Schwemmer headed up this project by writing the script and directing on set, making this production completely student-run. They delegated jobs to everyone in the cast to make it work, and in the end, it came together in a way that only could have happened through the students.

“I think for a lot of the seniors it became a good way to get some of the bucket-list numbers done,” Sarah Kurth said. “I think every theater kid has a couple numbers that are like the dream for them, and a lot of that is the classic shows like Chicago and Cabaret, so it kind of became a little bit of a bucket list for us getting to design a bar set, and do concept costumes, and create this whole thing from, the ground up to kind of tell a story we always wanted to tell.”

Their efforts were clearly a success, because not only did the theater department perform well, but they made it a fun experience. Before the show started, they encouraged the audience to cheer and clap whenever they felt like it, if that meant the actors were being funny, or even if they just hit that one high note. The crowd was involved throughout the whole experience, which helped submerse them in the excitement the performers clearly had.

The show moved through a series of songs from different Broadway musicals, monologues, scenes from popular Disney movies, and even one Studio C sketch. And even though each piece was meant to fit the jazz theme of the show, each and every performance was unique, chosen by the actor who gave it, which added to the overall atmosphere of the show.

“When you watch these reviews since your freshman year, you come up with a list of ideas, like, ‘I want to do this, I want to do that,’ for this one song, and we all had those that managed to fit into the theme, and that was pretty lucky.” Kurth said.

Perhaps the most impressive feat was the way each act segued seamlessly into the next, despite the contrasts in each one. The student-directors achieved this by mixing in sad and happy performances together, ordering them so the story of the cast flowed, and practicing over and over.

The best part of Jazz Explosion was the clear passion every member of the cast had for the show. On stage, they looked like they were having fun, and they were being themselves, something that was powerful for the audience to see, after years of watching them be characters in plays.

“I think part of doing shows is you have to find a way to connect it to yourself, but to be able to choose something that you already have a connection to is really special as a performer,” Kurth said. “I think that’s what makes these reviews so important to all the seniors is to get to find a moment that really speaks to you.”

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