Cold feet from a groom-to-be made for warm laughs from audiences in the Roxy Theater earlier this week, as students from Alta High School put on their spring theater production, "The Groom Said No!," on Tuesday and Wednesday evening in the historic auditorium.
Eleven pupils made up the cast of the play, and the young actors and actresses were co-directed by Dave Curbow and Alyssa Ridout.
The production is a comedy centered in the 1940s after World War II, and Curbow, who has directed the annual spring production for the past 18 years, said the play was appealing to him because of the entertaining aspect of the script.
"I direct a farce every year because I think people want to come and laugh," Curbow, an English and history teacher at AHS, said. "I think they want to come and see their kids have a good time on stage and have a good time themselves in the seats. It's something that's fun for everyone to be a part of."
Written by Ruth and Nathan Hale, the plot line centers around Steve Cameron, a young man who has just returned home from fighting in World War II. Members of his family, including his mother, Inez, played by Diana Paup, think Steve, played by Dana Hallengren, is going to marry Clara Curtis, the daughter of one of Inez's lifelong friends, in less than one week.
However, Steve wants to marry a nurse, played by Siera Schwartz, instead of Samantha Quirk's character, Clara, and the rest of the play follows Steve's efforts to avoid becoming hitched to the woman whom he feels would attempt to control his life.
This year was the first time Curbow had directed "The Groom Said No!" and he said the participation and dedication of the students throughout the rehearsal process made it an enjoyable and rewarding experience for him and the entire cast.
"The kids have have a good time with it and have really worked hard learning their lines quickly and professionally," Curbow said. "They've been really dedicated to this and have worked hard, so that's been really encouraging to see."
Auditions for the play were held in January, and the cast members have been reading and memorizing lines and practicing the production since that time.
Curbow said one of his main goals as a director was to allow each of the students to have fun with their parts and be able to have a chance to prominently showcase their efforts during the two performances.
"I like to do plays for kids who are serious and want to get out there, and with all the time they put in, they shouldn't have just a few lines," Curbow said. "They should have a moment in the sun and shine for a bit, and I think this play helps them do that.
While Paup was the only senior involved in the show, Curbow said the enthusiasm displayed by the students new to the stage more than made up for their lack of experience performing in front of public audiences.
"With a rookie cast it's a little more challenging, yet there's a huge wave of enthusiasm there from everyone because they're all excited to be a part of it," Curbow said. "I almost hesitate to use the word 'rookie' because I've been impressed with their abilities and their attitude on the stage. It's been a fun group to work with because of that enthusiasm and dedication."
The first performance for the cast came in front of elementary school students last Friday, and Curbow said that experience was very valuable for the pupils as they appeared on stage Tuesday and Wednesday.
"It really helped them to be on stage and get a feel for things," Curbow said. "It helped give them a sense of what to do in terms of laughs and how to play the crowd a little bit. That one experience on stage helped them out quite a bit.
"They've really been a fun group to work with," Curbow continued. "I've already told them I'll work with them again, because they're enthusiastic and dedicated and really a good group of people to be around."
Cast members for the play included Paup, Hallengren, Schwartz, Quirk, Caitlin Dean, Tara Mattson, Marc Anderson, Leah Marshall, Brent Lytle, Elizabeth Kennedy and Isaiah Squibb. Jared Neff and Seth Hesse operated the lights.