Over three decades of theater and music instruction, Logan High School teachers Mitzi Mecham and Randy Smith have seen plenty of student curtain calls. But this year, they are the ones taking a bow.
Smith, the school’s choir/vocal director, and Mecham, a theater arts instructor, have both announced they are retiring in 2019, at the end of the academic year.
“We’re tired,” they both said, laughing in an interview Monday inside the LHS auditorium.
On a more serious note, Smith said: “I always think it’s good to leave at the top of your career and not hang on too long. It feels like it’s time to go.”
Mecham and Smith are currently directing the LHS performance of “Singin’ in the Rain,” which makes its last showing Tuesday. The production is the pair’s last collaboration.
Smith and Mecham’s current and former students are sad to see them go.
“Everyone, when they think of musical theater at Logan High, it’s always, ‘Oh, it’s Mitzi Mecham and Randy Smith,’” said Stuart Needham, a “Singin’ in the Rain” cast member. “I think it’s kind of sad that that’s ending now. … They’re a really good duo.”
His brother, Stratford, called Smith and Mecham “a powerhouse.”
“They’ve given Logan High a really good reputation on our musicals and choirs,” he said.
Mecham, a Utah native, started teaching at LHS in 1988 after earning a degree at USU and doing work for the Caine Lyric Theatre in downtown Logan.
Smith, an Ohio native, started teaching at LHS the following year after earning his college degree at USU and performing opera.
Neither of them thought when they arrived at LHS they’d be there for three decades.
“Somebody said the other night, ‘Are you really retiring?’ Because for 12 years, I said, ‘This is my last year,’” Mecham said. “But this is really my last year.”
Smith said he never thought about how long he’d stay; he just kept teaching.
“And before you know it … you’ve been here a long time,” he said
Together, Smith and Mecham lead a full orchestra pit, a choir, actors, dancers and technical crew.
The instructors’ approach to team work and leading students through a production is to “ham and egg it,” according to Smith.
“You just kind of help each other out,” he said.
Stuart said of Mecham and Smith’s abilities, “They never go halfway; they always do their best.”
Stuart and Startford’s mother, Julie Needham, who graduated from LHS in 1989, had Mecham as her theater arts instructor. She said Mecham had a lasting impact on her, not just in acting, but in life.
“Every student that goes through her program has the chance to become better,” Needham said. “When you’re better in talents you’re developing, it gives you confidence in other areas of your life.”
Mecham agreed, saying any time a student is in a show playing a character, they’re looking at “what makes that character tick.”
“Which makes you also look at people around you when you get out in real life and what makes them tick,” Mecham said. “How do you respond to them and how do you relate to them? You’re always doing some kind of performing.”