Uintah High Schools drama department to perform Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Starlight Express” with six performances beginning tonight at the newly remodeled Uintah High School Theatre.
“This is a show that is rarely done,” Chris Piner, Director, and drama teacher said. “Because of the technical aspects. All of the performers are on Roller-Skates and today roller-skating is almost dead. Only one cast member had ever roller-skated, so everyone had to learn how. Yeah, everyone is on traditional, four-wheel roller-skates.”
According to Piner, this is the third Andrew Lloyd Webber production Uintah High has undertaken, with the others being; “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and most recently “The Phantom of the Opera.
“This is a very challenging show,” Piner said. “Thanks to the assistance of so many that have contributed to the show. Four skating clinics were conducted by Clark Madsen, who travels around the country to teach skating and participates in events. Choreographer; Barbara Piner, Light Tech; Andie Szekely, Welder; Kevin Jenkins and Costumer Mistresses; Linda Cochran and Pat Havey.”
The show features the talents of 45 cast members and a crew of eight backstage that make the show run seamlessly.
In this popular musical, featuring all but one cast member on roller skates, a young child’s train set magically comes to life in a story that follows Rusty the Steam train as he tries to compete in a world full of the various locomotives that compete to become the “Fastest-engine in the World!”
The heartwarming story begins in the evening as a mother reminds her child to put his toy-trains away, as it is time for bed. In the young child’s dream, the engines come alive. With it being the night of the world championships for locomotives.
The young steam engine Rusty, is charming but technically out of date. Appearing to stand no chance against his modern rivals. The likes of macho Greaseball, a self-confident diesel locomotive who rocks like Elvis and conquers the hearts of his many female fans. When Electra, an ultra-modern e-locomotive, suddenly makes her appearance, the situation seems even more hopeless for the young Rusty. Beautiful Pearl, a 1st-class coach, leaves Rusty for Electra.
When flags come down, lights flash and helmets sparkle. As the locomotives and their coaches hurtle along the tracks at lightning speed.
The conflict between the trains comes to a climax, as the methods used to win this international race are not always fair. Then suddenly it appears, the legendary “Starlight Express”, like a fiery comet’s tail in the sky. The night fills with glittering stars as Rusty learns an all-important life lesson of how critical it is to believe in yourself. As he then musters the courage to enter the finale - and Pearl begins to understand who her true love belongs to.
“All of the costumes are original and handcrafted right here,” Piner said. “They are elaborate, with beautiful detail. Our poor costumers haven’t slept in months because they have been so busy. Every night they have tons of repairs. The seams are constantly popping because the kids are skating and actively moving in them. So, they’ve had to go back and riveted things together to keep them performance ready.”
According to Piner, the show features songs covering a wide range of genres, much like Weber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. There is a bluesy harmonica number, fifties rock and roll, campy country sad song and a hip-hop rap number. The show stretches the gamut of songs and concludes with a rousing gospel number.
The show offers performances, March 8-9, 11-12, 14-16, with curtain at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at https://www.uintah.net/