Luckily, the cast of Layton High School’s current production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” know what they’re doing. The musical, which runs March 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15 and 16, is a tale of two battling con men that demands the most out of the students’ comic chops.
“Honestly, I think comedy is harder to play than seriousness,” said Dennis Ferrin, the show’s director. “It’s the funniest musical I’ve ever seen, and it’s all about the timing and the sly looks out to the audience.”
The show is based on the 1988 movie starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine, about two con men who battle it out for a heiress’s affections. The musical version hit Broadway in 2005 and was nominated for several Tony Awards.
“They’ve really taken that movie, picked the best of it, and added songs,” said Ferrin. “The surprise ending is good for people who haven’t seen the original movie, and there’s also some really nice, tender moments.”
Ferrin said that he fell in love with the musical when he saw it in New York, and immediately jumped on the chance to do the show the moment it became available. Because of this, Layton High will be the first high school in Utah to perform the musical, a habit he’s picked up with the productions he’s chosen over the last few years.
“It’s just kind of a trend I’ve started,” said Ferrin. “I’m not sure if we’ll be able to do it next year, because there’s just not a lot of new stuff being released.”
Right now, though, “Scoundrels” is more than enough to get everyone’s attention.
“We’ve taken lines and really dissected them, figuring out where the pause needs to be and how you wait for a laugh,” he said.
Still, he feels that on some level comic timing is instinctive.
“Some people who are great and dramatic acting just can’t do the comedy,” said Ferrin. “My leads are really strong this time, though, so I think we’re in pretty good shape.”
Tickets for the show, along with more information about the educational symposium, are available by calling 801-402-4888 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All performances are at 7 p.m.
“I love this show,” said Ferrin. “I think it’s just a hoot.”