by Emily Buckley, editor-in-chief
Brothers Kody and Jon Rash’s entrepreneurial love for theatre began when they were just boys walking around their Smithfield neighborhood recruiting friends to play parts in their backyard skits. Their love for the art grew with them and as adolescents they both, along with their younger brother Danny, were heavily involved in drama at Sky View High School and community theatre productions.
Each of the three brothers went on to pursue careers outside of theatre, but never lost interest, and stayed individually involved in community theatre. Then, about six years ago, Kody, who was a newlywed, approached his wife, Kim, and his brothers with the idea to start their own theatre company and the goal to bring high-quality, affordable family entertainment to the north end of Cache Valley.
“It took us about a year, countless hours of work and tremendous support from friends and family,” Kody said. “But we went for it.” The Rash brothers created the not-for-profit Four Seasons Theatre Company and successfully produced their first show five years ago.
A Christmas Carol, based on the Charles Dickens classic tale with music by Disney composer Alan Menken, was their first production and has become a holiday tradition for Four Seasons Theatre Company ever since.
Their 2011 production of A Christmas Carol involved about 30 cast members and the opening night drew a crowd of only 56. “We were still painting sets and finishing costumes when it was time for the show to begin,” Jon said.
“But we opened the curtains and, even with that small audience, felt a huge sense of pride for what we had accomplished,” Kody added. “Every time we open a show we feel that. Not just for ourselves, but also for the amazing people we work with.”
Everyone involved with Four Seasons Theatre Company productions, from seamstresses and choreographers to actors and technical and ticketing crew, work on a volunteer basis. “It has been amazing to see how many people want to be part of this — they want to be a part of something positive,” Jon said.
Since their first production, it has been nothing but up for the Rash brothers and their theatre troop. Their casts have grown to more than 100, with auditions of triple that number and audiences topped 1,000 when they performed Mary Poppins this summer. They’ve also reached other fantastic milestones like being the first community theatre company in Cache Valley to bring “flight” to stage, first with flying witches in the Wizard of Oz and then with practically perfect Mary in Mary Poppins.
Each of the brothers plays a unique and important role in keeping the theatre company a go. Kody serves as the artistic director, which involves “all things creative” from selecting productions to designing costumes and sets. Jon is the company’s chief operating officer and handles the day-to-day operations from advertising and publicity to insurance and contracts. Danny serves as the technical director, managing the sounds and light engineering, construction of sets and other behind-the-scenes works of the productions. They also all frequently perform in and direct their shows.
“This has been a great opportunity to do this as brothers,” Danny said. “You couldn’t find three more different brothers, but we have this one identical interest and get to do this together.”
For their fifth-anniversary run of A Christmas Carol, Four Seasons Theatre Company is refreshing the show with new costumes and updated sets along with a new directive perspective that stays more true to Charles Dickens’ story than ever before (like casting a child, Ellie Erickson, as the Ghost of Christmas Past) and involves a cast of 117.
Looking to the future, the Rashes have big dreams of someday having their own facility and performing more frequently than the three engagements a year they are able to schedule at the Sky View Auditorium where they currently perform.
“But, if we can just keep providing quality, affordable entertainment, and continue having people respond wanting to be involved as performers, technical support and audiences, we are happy,” Kody said.