Department News (9-14-15)

Last weekend was the kickoff for 24 Hour Theatre. Arianna Krenk, president of the Student Theatre Association, gave her account of the event: “I am always astonished by the talent we have on campus. Watching the first show, I was blown away. Not only did we have an ecstatic audience who participated, laughed, and cheered, but we had actors who still had that energy. They didn’t break, they didn’t forget lines. I love the volunteers for 24 Hour Theatre who make it possible to put on every semester. It fell together beautifully this semester and in a very short amount of time. The writers give up their sleep to write a scene for us. The commitment of the directors and actors is wonderful and it’s amazing what they can do together in 12 hours of rehearsal. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have an event. Look for 24 Hour Theatre next semester!”
On Friday, September 11th the Media Arts Program held their annual Fall Opening Social at River Park in Provo. The Department provided J Dawgs with sides provided by the students. We estimated that over 100 students and their families came and enjoyed the festivities. A big thanks to those faculty members who came and brought their families as well as those who brought food and help set-up and take down. A special thanks to Kyle Stapley for organizing this event.
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Kelli O’ Hara had a wonderful experience at BYU. The producers of Lincoln Center Theater agreed to let her take three performances off from starring as Anna Leonowens in the Broadway production of The King and I in New York in order to come to Provo for a master class on Sept. 3 and concert on Sept. 4. Students from MDT, Vocal Performance, and BFA Acting were invited to attend the master class. Tim Threllfall reported that, “Six students from the Music Dance Theatre program performed a song followed by feedback from Ms. O’Hara.  Ms. O’Hara’s keen observation skills, along with her natural warmth and ease set the tone for the class.  It was clear students were performing at the peak of their abilities and Kelli commented several times about what good “storytellers” each of the students were.  These Fall Master Classes arranged by Jeff Martin have become a major source of inspiration for student growth and progress during the academic year.” Ms. O’Hara’s nearly-sold out concert in the de Jong Concert Hall on Sept. 4 was a great success. She sang songs from her signature shows, including The Light in the PiazzaSouth PacificThe King and I, and more. A highlight of the performance was when she invited many of our students to the stage to join with her in singing “Getting to Know You” from The King and I.  She then took a moment during “Make Someone Happy” and turned her back to the audience to sing to the students on stage to drive home one of the messages of her concert: performing on Broadway is wonderful, but having a family and nurturing meaningful relationships are the most important things in the world. This was a very poignant moment for all in attendance.

Kelli OHara group photo 9.3.15

On the first weekend of September, TMA  326, also known as Divine Comedy, held their annual auditions. Out of 127 auditioners, the group chose four new members:  Alena Helzer, Addison Jenkins, Dalton Johnson, and Kayla Peel.  Part of the audition involved the finalists being part of a free show that was put on Saturday night in 151 TNRB.  The show was packed and the audience had a great time supporting the eight finalists for BYU’s premiere sketch comedy troupe.  In addition, the group had a very productive summer making  music videos for campus entities, including BYU Financial Services, Cougar Cash, and OIT.  See their videos below.

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Six Week Cinema is a new media arts program that provides resources and mentors to students who want film production experiences. Over the summer,  mentors and trainings were provided for the crews.  Each of the films were limited to a 4 page script, a small equipment package, one day of shooting, and the final product had to be delivered after six weeks. At the end of that time, the students created  6 short films and 3 commercials during the course of the spring/summer semesters. There were over 150 students involved, and all the projects were showcased at a festival that was help on September 5 in the Nelke theater.  Nick Ritter, one of the directors, said, “Tom Lefler was great with helping us to go back to our original purpose of catering to younger students. Just stick to the one purpose and you’ll be fine. Also Tom Lefler, Tom Russell, Kyle Stapley, Courtney Russell and Jeff Parkin were awesome mentors to us.”  Matt Seimersobserved, “I learned a lot during Six Week Cinema, especially about project management and organization. But for me, what I really enjoyed the most was learning about people and what they are interested in. We really had such amazing crews, which is even more impressive when you think that most people were working in crew positions without any previous experience.”

Here is a list of the films and commercials show-cased on Sept. 5. [Use 2 columns to make it fit if you can!]


This Is War – Nick Ritter (Dir.), Matthew Siemers (Prod.)
Space Race – Claire Cotten/Colten Elsey (Dir.), Westin Cross (Prod.)
Widow’s Mite – Ammon Miller (Dir.), Cory Martin (Prod.)
Grandma’s Vase – Cassie Mullins (Dir.), Carissa Smith (Prod.)
Laundry – Danny Hunt (Dir.), Alexis Romero (Prod.)
All Aboard for Murder – Lindsay Kampenhout (Dir.), Tree Yager (Prod.)


Premiere Night – Neeko Funes (Dir.), Tree Yager (Prod.)
Frogmen – Hadley Holyoak (Dir.), Celene Anderson (Prod.)
Tom – Chad Gravallese (Dir.), Chad Gravallese/Steven Rowe (Prod.)

Audience Choice (by ballot): All Aboard for Murder
MVP Awards:
This is War: Brandon Hopkins (Sound Mixer)
Space Race: Ammon Miller (Production Design)
Widow’s Mite: Lauren VanDerwerken (Director of Photography)
Grandma’s Vase: Lizz Miller (1st AD)
Laundry: Dallin Blankenship (Hair/Makeup)
All Aboard for Murder – Jeff Hein (Editor)


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