The university announced the 2017-18 BRAVO! season last week, and it includes a number of high-profile theatre luminaries on the lineup. Headliners Renée Elise Goldsberry (Tony Award winner for Hamilton); Disney and Broadway composer Alan Menken; a rare joint concert with Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown and Tony winner Kelli O’Hara; and special dance performance starring New York City Ballet principal dancers with Broadway credits, including Robert Fairchild (Tony nominee for An American in Paris), Megan Fairchild (Broadway revival of On the Town), and Tiler Peck (Susan Stroman, Lynn Ahrens, and Stephen Flaherty’s forthcoming musical, Little Dancer) will take place in the de Jong Concert Hall. Actors From the London Stage return to BYU next April with a production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Additionally, the fifth edition of OFF THE MAP: BYU International Theatre Festival takes place Jan. 24-Feb. 3 in the Pardoe and Nelke Theatres with performances from Scotland: The Secret Life of Suitcases, a two-man Macbeth from England and Denmark (U.S. premiere), and from the USA: The Fever. The latter is by the Brooklyn-based theatre group, 600 Highwaymen, and will mark the Utah debut of this performance which Jeff first saw at the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival in January 2017. Full details of the season can be found online at bravo.byu.edu.
All of the companies visiting BYU for OFF THE MAP as well as Actors From The London Stage will participate in extensive residency activities in TMA. Please contact Jeff Martin if you would like the students in your classes to be able to participate.
Divine Comedy, BYU’s premiere sketch comedy troupe, which is sponsored by TMA, recently took a trip to Chicago, and discovered one of the comedy capitals of the world! They attended several comedy shows; their favorites were The Second City Best Of Show and The Improvised Shakespeare Company. The Second City is an improv based sketch comedy institution with alums such as Tina Fey, Steve Carell and Billy Murray. The Improvised Shakespeare Company are known for taking suggestions from the audience and creating a fully improvised play in Elizabethan style. One of the highlights of this trip was a private workshop at the iO (Improv Olympics) Theater with Michael McCarthy, who is an Emmy award winning writer for Saturday Night Live, The Drew Carey Show, and Jimmy Kimmel Live! Mr. McCarthy shared some tips for great comedic writing, including best ways to craft a great joke and the importance of rewriting, rewriting and rewriting. A trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without eating several meals of deep dish pizza, taking a picture with the giant bean in Millennium Park, and stepping out into a glass box 1,300 feet above the ground! Returning to Provo, Divine Comedy’s artistic director is Kenny Baldwin and production manager is Bryson Frehner with faculty liaison George Nelson. The group plans to take their new-found knowledge and experiences to prepare a great season of new sketches full of fresh and fun ideas! Look forward to their shows this Fall Semester!
London Study Abroad News
From Katie Jarvis, LSA reporter: We all made it safe and sound across the Atlantic and landed on the glorious isle of Great Britain! We got settled into our wonderfully located flats (we are basically neighbors to Prince William and Princess Kate.) The very next day we went to the Tower of London and soaked in all the royal history there, and that night we went to a fantastic performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead with our beloved Daniel Radcliff in the role of Rosencrantz!! Some of our students got pictures with him afterwards! Saturday, we toured the Globe theatre and the South bank area, and that night we went to a radical and interesting version of Romeo and Juliet at the Globe. On Sunday, we went to our various wards and rested in Hyde park. Things are going swimmingly so far, and we can’t wait to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time tonight!
This week was full of fantastic experiences! We went to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time in the West End, then we had a few days to choose our own shows to go to. We went on an excursions to the Imperial War Museum and we were sobered and inspired by the stories of the men and women who got Britain through the first and second World Wars. Friday we got to go on a backstage tour of the National Theatre! The same day we went to Twelfth Night at the National and it was incredible. The acting was fantastic but the SET was even more impressive, very high tech, even including a hot tub and a marble pyramid that morphed into homes and streets and gardens. We also saw City of Glass which is based on the novel by Paul Auster and most of our minds were blown by this existential adventure. What a great week! Can’t wait to see the shows this week and travel to Stratford Upon Avon!
Media arts senior, Helen Butcher, director of the recent documentary capstone, “The Coal Minority,” attended the film’s world premiere at the Workers Unite Film Festival in New York City. She had a great experience and said the festival’s coordinator wants to connect them with a company that distributes documentaries like these to schools, universities, and libraries. Helen reports: “Screening was great! They paired the film with a doc about North Dakota’s oil boom. Full theater of about 50 people. The coordinator said something about Barbara Kopple’s husband being there? Or invited or something?? Positive reaction from all.”
At present, we have MDT alumni in five currently running Broadway shows:
WAITRESS: Will Swenson
WICKED: Erin Wilson
ALADDIN: Tia Altinay
BANDSTAND: Becca Peterson
KINKY BOOTS: Miachael Milkanin
Below is a picture of 2014 MDT grad Becca Peterson coming out the stage door after making her Broadway debut this week in BANDSTAND. We have many more out on Broadway National Tours, but often the actual Broadway productions are more prestigious…even though many of the tours pay better!