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JUST SO: THE MUSICAL to Play SCERA Center for the Arts

JUST SO: THE MUSICAL to Play SCERA Center for the Arts

Only those familiar with the fanciful and imaginary land of the musical "Just So" will know that the elephant got its enormous trunk after a crocodile bit the lumbering creature and stretched its nose to enormous proportions.

Inspired by Rudyard Kipling's inventive Just So Stories of how the animals came to be created, director Kathryn Laycock Little says "Just So" is a great family show because it is "magical for children and yet sophisticated enough for adults."

Audiences will also learn the magical way the zebra got its stripes, the leopard and giraffe got their spots, the kangaroo got bounce, the rhino got baggy skin, the bird learned to fly -and more-when "Just So" takes young and old on a fun-filled safari through the jungle March 13-28. The show is presented by SCERA's national award-winning high school company, Acting Up, who recently competed and placed in the top tier at the Musical Theatre Competitions of America in Fullerton, California.

The eclectic, upbeat story begins when the Eldest Magician open an enchanted book and begins to read from the beginning when everything was "just so." As several indistinguishable animals appear on stage, the magician is unhappy to realize they all look the same. She tells the animals to go forth and find out what they are. All were obedient except for Pau Amma, the Crab.

Without a sense of who he is meant to be, the crab simply grows and grows into an enormous, selfish creature whose size causes the lands to flood, creating chaos and putting everyone in danger. A journey to stop the disobedient crab also becomes a charming trek to encounter other animals and learn how they came to be, and discovering courage, individuality, friendship and the ability to make a difference.

Tickets are available at $10 for adults and $8 for children age 3-11 and senior citizens 65 and older. To secure tickets, go to scera.org, call 801-225-ARTS of stop by the main office at SCERA Center for the Arts at 745 S. State Street, Orem, open 10am-6pm weekdays, or at the box office 30 minutes prior to each performance. Tickets for non-profit organizations and official church groups of 20 or more can be purchased in advance for $6 each (no refunds).

The musical score for "Just So" sprang to life under the hands of Anthony Drewe and George Stiles, also known for their books and lyrics for such Broadway and West End musicals such as "Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure," new music for "Mary Poppins," "The Wind in the Willows" and "Honk!"

Jacob Sevy designed the set, and Little says she is delighted with the results. "He created a jungle playground with a great big tree. It's a huge set with a circular stairway and even a trampoline."

"The music is spot on. It's fun and I just love it," Little explains, as she starts singing a Jamaican-style number she particularly likes. The creative team includes choreographer Brodee Ripple; costume designer Kelsey Seaver; lighting designer Elizabeth Griffiths; and props designer Christy Norton.

While every member of Acting Up plays a part, and many of them have soloes and duets, the key leads are Cordelia Diether as Kolokolo Bird, Jacob Benson as Elephant's Child and Jill Campbell as the Eldest Magician. Diether recently won first place for her solo at the national Musical Theatre Competitions of America, competing against hundreds of other high school students from across the country.

"Acting Up has 40 talented students in Grades 10-12 who are well-seasoned and trained - their performance level is amazing," says Adam J. Robertson, SCERA's President and CEO.


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