BOUNTIFUL — It’s a brand-new stage for local director Jim Christian.
Christian, a playwright and Weber State professor who has directed several productions at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre and Rodgers Memorial Theatre, has taken on his first high school production. He’ll be in charge of Viewmont High’s upcoming production of “Curtains,” running March 1-2, 4-5 and 7-9 at 7 p.m. in the school’s auditorium.
“It’s a big commitment, but the timing worked out,” said Christian. “Through my other shows, I’ve also worked with a lot of Viewmont High students over the years. It seemed like a great recruitment opportunity.”
“Curtains,” which bills itself as a musical comedy whodunit, follows a police detective pretending to be a musical comedy fan in order to solve a murder and find love. The show is set in the 1950s, and making the musical accurate to the era has been a new experience for some of the students.
“It’s been very educational for them,” said Christian. “They’re really getting used to the postures and mannerisms of the time. Some of the boys are even getting haircuts. Still, I think they’re having a blast doing it.”
For Christian, the learning experience comes from working with a cast consisting exclusively of teenagers. Though he said the students have been great, working with shortened attention spans has caused some difficulties.
“It’s been a challenge getting everyone focused and working in the same direction,” he said. “High school students have so much on their plate. For some of them, it’s their first musical. Others have done several. At times, it’s like herding cats.”
Still, he’s noticed that experience has helped the students focus.
“As everyone picks up the discipline of what it takes to put on a show, those moments become less and less,” he said.
Once the discipline settles in, it gives students a chance to really connect with the work they’re performing. For Christian, seeing the transformation in young actors is one of his favorite things about working on the show.
“I love those moments when the students really catch the spirit of the show,” he said. “ You’ll see something click in their heads, and they just get it. One by one, they all start to come onboard.”
Tickets for the show are available at the Viewmont High box office or online at davis.k12.ut.us/site/default.aspx?domainid=7745.
As for Christian, this might not be his last visit to the high school stage.
“Working with everyone has been a joy,” he said. “If the timing worked out, I’d definitely do it again.”