One can only express admiration for the director Laura Barnham and her youth program Acting UP! at the SCERA. Teenagers from all over the valley audition for her program, and once admitted become part of an ensemble that focuses on family-friendly fun and uplifting entertainment. Grease, playing at the SCERA this week, follows the same story as the original without profanity, teen pregnancy, smoking or drinking.
Ben Jacobs, who plays the nerd Eugene, said, “It works and is every bit as fun as the original show. We love our director Laurel Barnham to death, and the dances choreographed by Ben Tishy are so much fun.” With the help of music director Heidi Vogeler, the crew learned the songs, but the musical will also use recordings for more filling sound effects during each performance.
When Acting UP! went to California to participate in a national competition, they won various prices for their 12 minute show Star Mite. The musical ensemble took first prize in a solo performance and second prize in the duet competition.
Jacobs continued to praise the value of this program and what an honor it is to be part of this family-friendly performance group. “I feel privileged to be a part of this ensemble. We also give performances at shelters, in elementary schools, libraries and try to give back to our community through an outreach program.”
The question is, how does an ensemble member have time to do all of this while attending high school and keeping up with the homework load? “We are just so happy to be able to do what we love, together with great people, and somehow you just pull it all together,” said Jacobs.
He also noted that Acting UP!’s performances are not limited to the stage. Once a month, the troupe sings at a fireside, an evening of Christian music and spoken messages which is usually held at an LDS chapel.
Acting UP! was formed 10 years ago and still going strong, getting better with every new production. This week, take the opportunity to see Barnham’s latest and enjoy an evening of lighthearted entertainment and exceptional young talent in this 50s-era musical. The catchy music, coupled with the skill of the young actors performing it, will make for an irresistible production.
March 20-28, 7:30 pm except Sunday
$6 adults, $4 children 3-11, seniors and students with ID
Reservations Mon.-Fri. 10a.m.-6p.ml Sat.12 noon-6p.m. at the Scera
801-225-ARTS or www.scera.org, or at the door if seats are available