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Murray Journal

Shows aimed to make world better place planned for Cottonwood High stage

Oct 04, 2021 11:11AM ● By Julie Slama

Ivy Dunbar as Annie and Lily as Sandy, her dog, rehearse for their upcoming production of “Annie,” directed by Adam Wilkins, seen directing in the background. (Photo courtesy of Anna Boone)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

In a world of choices, Cottonwood High theater director Adam Wilkins wants his students to consider the ones that will make the world a better place.

“I like shows with a message, something to give students and the audience a chance to think, reflect and take it to heart,” he said. “This year, our theme is that we have choices, and we want to make the world better. We want to know that we can get through this with faith, hope and responsibility.”

For that reason, he picked the traditional musical, “Annie,” to be performed on the school stage at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 18-20 and Nov. 22, and at noon on Nov. 20. Tickets are $9 and are available at

“I love Annie, and I think it’s a beautiful show,” he said. “There is a sense of optimism and hope when we hear ‘The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.’ It was set in the Great Depression; everything was in upheaval, and they didn’t know their place in the world. It was scary. Then, this plucky red-headed kid full of optimism and love wants to make the world a better place. What’s not to love? It’s a message we need right now.”

The 150-member production also includes area junior high students on stage as well as stage crew and orchestra members.

The show was cast last spring and rehearsals started Aug. 23. This allowed the cast to learn the songs and get to know the show, Wilkins said.

Before the students take to the stage, they will host the return of their annual—with the exception of during COVID-19 — Haunted Hallway. Patrons can get spooked as they walk the “grand tour” of the theatre, black box theatre, underneath the theatre area and hallways. Donations of canned foods are being accepted to stock the school’s food pantry and proceeds will be earmarked for their winter charity fundraiser. It will be held for two hours beginning at 6 p.m., Oct. 19.

In late January, students will travel to Cedar City to take part in the Utah Theatre Association’s conferences, where they will take workshops from professors across the country. They also will see some Utah Shakespeare Company’s, Southern Utah University’s and other high schools’ performances and there is an opportunity for seniors to be screened for college scholarships.

The Colts return to their home stage Jan. 27-31 with a Broadway Revue; and in March, they’re performing “The Book of Will,” written by Lauren Gunderson.

“The Book of Will” is a play about two men, John Heminges and Henry Condell, and their decision to publish the works of William Shakespeare so the world could remember the scripts, Wilkins said.

“Because of the thoughtfulness of these selfless friends, they gathered some of Shakespeare’s—the world’s greatest playwright—work for us and for the future,” Wilkins said. “They’ve given us this hope and optimism for a brighter tomorrow. It’s my first time directing it and I’m finding joy in it.”

The students also will compete in their regional competition in mid-March, which they will host. State competition is planned for April. 

“I’ve learned a lot in the past year and few months. COVID has forced me to be a better teacher, embracing a digital teaching format, becoming more organized and finding ways to connect with all my students,” Wilkins said. “But I think we’ve come to realize that while science solves world problems, it’s art that gets us through them and through life’s challenges. So, it’s these shows with choices of hope and optimism that will carry us this year.”