Department News 09-24-18

This weekend is the world premiere of Young Company’s production of The World’s Strongest Librarian, directed by Adam Houghton. Written by Jeff Gottesfeld and Elizabeth Wong, the play was adapted from the original book by Josh Hanagarne. Recently awarded the American Alliance for Theatre & Education’s Distinguished Play Award, The World’s Strongest Librarian shares the semi-autobiographical story of Salt Lake City librarian, Josh Hanagarne, and his efforts to teach others the importance of kindness and learning. The play will be performed at the Salt Lake City Public Library as a tribute to Josh, who continues to work there as a librarian. Additionally, the lead of BYU’s production who portrays Josh Hanagarne, has been in contact with him in order to understand his character. Head to the ticket office for shows starting Friday, September 28.

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Thursday night, September 20, was the second annual screening of the newly completed senior capstones at the Megaplex Theatre on Geneva Road.  This year, the caliber of all four films was very high.  Approximately 400 people attended the event, which was hosted by Jeff Parkin and Tom Russell.  Many media arts alums came, including Colten Ashely, Devin (Supertramp) Graham, Derek Pueblo, Marshal Davis, Josh Contor, Carson Tietjen, and Willem and Lindsay Kampenhout. The enthusiasm of the students was palpable!  After each film, the producers and directors profusely thanked their crews and casts.  Several acting students were featured in the films as well, including Joseph Reidhead and Monica Moore-Smith in To Have and to Hold, and Emma Sutton and Joseph Reidhead in Passenger Seat.  If you missed these premieres, watch for the screening of these films in the upcoming Final Cut Film Festival, November 15-17.

Here are the films that were screened:

  • “To Have and to Hold,” produced by Barrett Burgin, directed by Colton Elzey, and written by Ian Hawkes.  Synopsis: When his beautiful wife is permanently injured in a robbery, Lee becomes obsessed with turning back the clock to prevent it from happening.
  • “Anna,” produced by Cody Mondale and directed and written by William Knowles (with our own Grant Gomm serving as Unit Production manager.) Synopsis: A young woman tracks through uncharted territory in search of her fleeing father, aided by a member of the Shoshone tribe.
  • “Passenger Seat,” produced by Kyler Sommer and directed and written by Jeff Hein. Synopsis:  When a young woman’s car breaks down, she accepts a ride from a friendly passerby, but is he really a good Samaritan, or is she in danger?
  • “Gather,” produced by Emma Lynn and directed and written by Howard Burbidge.  Synopsis:  As winter approaches and food runs scarce, Jesse Lane must figure out how to feed his eight year old daughter Sophia in the harsh wilderness.

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Congratulations to Megan Sanborn Jones, whose new book Contemporary Mormon Pageantry officially comes out on October 1, 2018. Published by University of Michigan Press, and available through Amazon, the book is described as follows:

In Contemporary Mormon Pageantry, theater scholar Megan Sanborn Jones looks at Mormon pageants, outdoor theatrical productions that celebrate church theology, reenact church history, and bring to life stories from the Book of Mormon. She examines four annual pageants in the United States — the Hill Cumorah Pageant in upstate New York, the Manti Pageant in Utah, the Nauvoo Pageant in Illinois, and the Mesa Easter Pageant in Arizona. The nature and extravagance of the pageants vary by location, with some live orchestras, dancing, and hundreds of costumed performers, mostly local church members. Based on deep historical research and enhanced by the author’s interviews with pageant producers and cast members as well as the author’s own experiences as a participant-observer, the book reveals the strategies by which these pageants resurrect the Mormon past on stage. Jones analyzes the place of the productions within the American theatrical landscape and draws connections between the Latter-day Saints theology of the redemption of the dead and Mormon pageantry in the three related sites of sacred space, participation, and spectatorship. Using a combination of religious and performance theory, Jones demonstrates that Mormon Pageantry is a rich and complex site of engagement between theater, theology, and praxis that explores the saving power of performance.

9-14-18, 1:05 PM Office Lens

Many of our faculty and alums will remember Chuck Henson who retired from BYU in 1990.  Chuck passed away last week, and his funeral will be at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 25, 2018, at the Bonneville 10th Ward Chapel, 1498 East 800 South, Provo, Utah. Here is a link to his obituary:

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Student & Alumni News

Little Women, a modern retelling of the classic book, produced by TMA alum Maclain Nelson (along with David Wulf, Kristi and Stephen Shimek) and associate produced by TMA alums Ron and Brooke Brough, will premiere this week in Salt Lake and LA. Clare Niederpruem, Maclain’s wife is the director and a co-writer.  The Salt Lake premiere will be this Wednesday, September 26, at the Jordan Commons at 7:00 pm, with the pre-screening reception starting at 5:30 pm.  Tickets are available through Fandango, though Wednesday night may be sold out.  The film will open in 600 theaters throughout the US on September 28th.




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