Behind the Scenes of the Park City High School Theater

Ever since seeing Little Women in 2016, I’ve been a huge fan of the Park City High School Theater, so of course I was going to be there, opening night, for this year’s musical.  A few weeks ago, I left my humble abode to see The Addams’ family, a Broadway comedy put on by our school’s theater program.  I arrived nearly twenty minutes early, gaining a safety net to avoid missing anything.  Despite knowing it will be the new source of ridicule for the months ahead, I ignored my friends’ choice of seating and found a spot in the middle of the audience, giving a full, head on view of the stage.  I love my friends, but I’m not here to see them tonight.  I’m here for the play.  The show was energetic and passionate, with sets and lighting even more impressive than last year and quite a few catchy tunes. Addams Family was an impressive production that everyone should’ve seen.


The Park City High School Theater has been doing excellent work in recent years.  In addition to the Addams Family Musical production that was performed last month, the theater has produced a wide array of other performances; These include various scenes from Shakespeare’s works, a horror production called Wait Until Dark, and most notably a production of the Broadway musical Little Women, for which the cast went to the High School Musical Theatre rewards in Salt Lake City. Actors, stage crews, musicians, and set and costume designers all work together to put on these performances and make them the best they can be.


The most visible part of making these production is, of course, the actors. Tori Kenton, who had previously played the role of Amy March in Little Women, played the son of the Addams family, Pugsley Addams. According to her, the actors have been at work for a long time, becoming familiar with the soundtrack and memorizing their lines over the Summer and beginning rehearsals on the first day of school. Kenton has been in our theater program since Freshman year, and was excited for her role as Pugsley Addams, since it was the first time she had a solo. She sings a song in the show about about her character’s fear that he won’t get to see his sister anymore once she runs off with the boy she loves.  Of course, it’s done with the classic Addams Family style, as Pugsley remembers childhood memories such as the time his sister Wednesday Addams, played by Alexa Wilcox, stapled his tongue to the floor.


In addition to the leads, the Addams Family also featured a large ensemble cast, playing the ancestors of the Addams family.  One of these ancestors was the sailor who initially came to the Americas, played by Aubrey Walker, after finally getting their ship out of Madrid, which is landlocked.  She’s been doing theater for years, having gotten her start at the Egyptian Theater.  As with the leads, Aubrey Walker and the rest of the ensemble cast began rehearsing as soon as school began, practicing routine after routine to make sure they were prepared for opening night three months later.


A vital part of any musical is obviously the band, and Park City has some of the best band musicians in the state.  The theater’s pit was awarded best orchestra by Utah’s High School Musical Theater Awards.  Ian Wagman is the pits’ keyboard player, a very key role in the play due to the fact that the keyboard can be run through a computer program allowing it to emulate several different instruments.  He said that being part of a larger production was “fun, but it’s definitely a lot more stressful, it’s more difficult, and a lot more exposed.”  Wagman concluded that part of the reason the production was more difficult was because he plays a much larger role in the play’s orchestra than he does as part of the School’s band.  “A lot of the time I’m responsible for keeping the groove and beat,” he said.  “It’s a lot of pressure.”


In addition to the many actors and musicians who contribute, every production is also accompanied by a sizable stage crew.  Lily Crane, as part of her stage tech class, was up in the catwalks during the play, controlling one of the spotlights that highlights the action.  In addition to her, the tech crew has a team of around twenty to thirty people, who do the work necessary to make the show happen.


Our school’s theater program has consistently been one of our most successful extracurricular programs.  Their plays are applauded by both critics and audiences, and the Addams Family was no exception.  The window to see these productions are short, but a lot of effort is put into them, and it certainly shows on opening night.