Department News (11-2-15)

Misalliance takes to the stage this weekend, Nov. 5-7, 11–14, and 17–21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Margetts Theater, with matinees on Nov. 7 and 14 at 2 p.m. Misalliance tells the story of marriage-obsessed aristocrats in an English country home on a sunny summer afternoon. In this mischievous romantic comedy, new alliances are formed while others are broken between parents, children and sweethearts. This is the last time you’ll get to seeBarta Heiner’s superb directing skills on the BYU main stage as a full-time faculty member. Barta also directed this production in 2003 and 1984, and below are a few flashback photos along with the new production photos.

This production showcases five BFA Acting seniors which include Jasmine Fullmer (Mrs. Tarleton), Jon Low (Julius Baker), Collette McCusker (Lina Szczepanowska), Gabe Spencer (Johnny Tarleton) and Savannah Smith (Hypatia Tarleton). The production crew includes Cali Holcombe as production stage manager, Rebeckah Jackson as costume designer, Maya Nitta as assistant stage manager, Juliette Lewis-Mergist as assistant costume designer, Donnette Perkins as costume shop manager, Michael Handley as lighting supervisor, Travis Coyne as technical director, Scott Jackson as props designer, Jackie Barrett as sound designer, Michaela Fordham as makeup and hair designer, and Doug Ellis as scenic designer. Find out more about the Edwardian time period and culture at  The articles were written by Kelsee Jackson, the production’s dramaturge.

1510-16 018 Left to Right Josephe Percival (Soren Barker), Lina Szczepanowska (Collette McCusker) 1510-16 Play

1510-16 089 Left to Right Josephe Percival (Soren Barker), Hypatia Tarelton (Savanah Smith) 1510-16 Play

1510-16 034 From Left to Right Standing: Johnny Tarleton (Gabe Spencer), Lina Szczepanowska (Collette McCusker), Julius Baker (Jonathan Low), Josephe Percival (Soren Barker) Sitting: Hypatia Tarelton (Savanah Smith), Bentley Summerhays (Bradley Mackay), Mrs. Tarleton (Jasmine Fullmer) 1510-16 Play

The following photos are from the past performance of Misalliance that Barta directed in 1984. This production included David Morgan (Bently Summerhays), Kim Jensen Abunawara (Hypatia Tarleton), Richard Bugg (Lord Summerhays), J. Scott Bronson(Mr. John Tarleton), James Claflin (Joseph Percival), and Reed McColm (Julius Baker). Interestingly, Van Hess, the actor playing Tarelton in the upcoming performance, played the same role in Barta’s 2003 production. 
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Tony Award-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn visited campus last week for a major concert with soloists Norm Lewis, Adrienne Warren, and Jackie Burns in the de Jong Concert Hall. The 90-piece BYU Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christian Smith in the School of Music, and an MDT choir, conducted by Gayle Lockwood, also participated. The MDT students participating in the choir spent the afternoon on Thursday working in a studio with Wildhorn and the soloists together. All of the guest artists had a wonderful experience performing at BYU and interacting with our students during their visit to Provo. Mr. Lewis taught a master class to the MDT students on Thursday. The nearly-sold out concert took place Friday evening. Ms. Burns, who has toured extensively as Elphaba in Wicked, commented that the BYU orchestra rivaled in quality many of the local musicians she has worked with on the road while touring with that show. This concert continues the relationship BYU has recently established with Mr. Widlhorn. He previously appeared here in concert in 2013, and we produced his new musical, The Count of Monte Cristo, last winter.

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Dean Duncan attended the Cinekid for Professionals Conference in Amsterdam last week, an international conferences for media professionals, academics, and educators involved in making and analyzing media for children.  The five-day event was held during the Cinekid Festival and covers all aspects of the media industry for young audiences, offering workshops and masterclasses as well as high-quality media. The mission of the Cinekid Foundation is “to promote the quality of visual culture for young children (4-14).  Cinekid wants to strengthen the position of youth towards the media through their active and creative participation.”


Tom and Courtney Russell, recent media arts graduate Hunter Phillips, and current media arts student Matt Siemers attended the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) held in October. The NYTVF is a pioneer of the independent television movement, connecting its community of artists with leading networks, studios, agencies, production companies, and brands. The festival received over 2,000 submissions and selected 103. Hunter and Matt’s pilot, “Beyond” was one of 12 selected for the Independent Pilot Competition.  Hunter and Matt met with the production company, Denver and Delilah, (Charlize Theron’s production company).  Top names in production companies attend the festival including Comedy Central, A&E, AMC, ABC, etc.  After the experience, Matt Siemers commented, “NYTVF was an incredible experience. Attending the festival gave tremendous insight into the nature of festivals and the acquisition of projects by production companies and studios. I learned a lot about pitching ideas, networking, and how the Television/Film industry works. I’m extremely fortunate to have been able to attend the festival and learn so much while still in school.”

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