Odyssey Dance Theatre: “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Artistic Director Derryl Yeager comes to Studio 5 to talk about this family favorite

Excerpts from the Scott Iwasaki’s Deseret News article, November 22, 2009:

Odyssey Dance Theatre artistic director Derryl Yeager remembered when he first thought about converting the Frank Capra film “It’s a Wonderful Life” into dance.

“The run-on-the-bank scene was the inspiration for the entire show,” Yeager said during an interview with the Deseret News. “That was the first idea I had. That was the first thing I wrote down.” From there, Yeager said, everything else came into play.

“I kept asking, ‘How can you translate this moment?’ and ‘How can you present it in a dance format and still tell the story without dialogue?’ So that’s where it all started.” This year, Yeager decided to put a plot synopsis in the program.

“That way people who haven’t seen the movie can still understand the story better.” Also, Yeager is adding a video element to the opening scene. In the past, the scene features voice overs and a massive starlight scrim, called the star drop.

“That way we won’t spend so long on the star drop,” he said. “The video will run before the star drop. And I’ll tighten things up, but nothing major.”
The role of George Bailey throughout the run will be danced by Thayne Jasperson and Matt Dorame.

“We’re happy to have Thayne and Matt back from the ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ whirlwind,” Yeager said. “They all did a great job and it’s good having them back.”
Not only did Jasperson tour with “SYTYCD,” but he also performed in “Footloose” at Tuacahn this year.

“He did really well,” Yeager said.
After “It’s a Wonderful Life” closes at Kingsbury Hall the company will travel to St. George for a run at Dixie College.

Yeager had to make some adjustments for another major element in the show — the 24,000-gallon water tank in the orchestra pit.

“We use the water tank in three key-points of the show …we have kids sliding into it, and dancers jumping into it and we need it…so we had to make it safe and make it fit.”

Other than that, Yeager said, the show didn’t need anything else.

For tickets to Odyssey Dance Theatre’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”, go to www.kingsburyhall.org. For tickets to Dixie College, go to www.tickets.dixie.edu

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