Audition 2019: Taylorsville Arts Council – A Night With Stephen Sondheim

The Taylorsville Arts Council will be holding auditions for their fall review “A Night With Stephen Sondheim” October 24 and 25th From 7-9:00 pm at Taylorsville City Hall 2600 West Taylorsville Blvd.

Please come prepared with your favorite Sondheim piece that you would like to perform in the review. An accompanist will be provided, along with an MP3/CD player. The show runs November 21-23rd, 7:30 pm. Email questions to:

Department News 10-07-19

This week the first mainstage production opens; Anne Negri’s With Two Wings. The play is a loose retelling of the myth of Icarus. It’s the story of Lyf, a flightless girl who lives in a world were people have wings. Julia Ashworth, director of the play, said “The first thing that stood out to me is how honest it is without talking down to young people at all. It is a coming-of-age story, but it’s relatable for anyone of any age.” In fact, in their effort to reach all audiences, the show will have a sensory-friendly performance the evening of October 16th. This special performance will include safe places, activities to let audiences move around, partial house lights, and a one-hour meet and greet with the cast before the show. The entire cast and crew are looking forward to this tremendous opportunity, and hope to see you there.

The performance runs Oct 9-19 in the Nelke Theatre. Performances are Thursday through Fridays at 7 pm, with Saturday matinees at 2 and 4 pm. There are no Saturday evening performances. You can buy tickets here, and read more about the performance here. Also, join us Thursday, Oct 10 at 11 am in the Nelke Theatre to hear a guest lecture from the author Anne Negri herself!

With Two Wings-32x48

This year’s Megaplex screenings were packed! Four fiction capstone films were screened. Congratulations to these filmmakers and all their cast and crew who created these films! If you missed the screenings, mark your calendars for Final Cut, which will include these four films, the award-winning animated short “Grendel,” and the two non-fiction capstones as well. Final Cut will be on Oct. 17-19. Get your tickets here!

Stick-up Kid: Produced by Rollins Wimber and directed by Daniel Tu

Man and Kin: Produced by Colby Barrios and directed by Max Johnson

Paper Trails: Produced by Ellie Peatross and R. Avery Marshall. Directed by Heather Moser. Written by Eleanor Briggs and Heather Moser

Father of Man: Produced by John Newton. Directed and Written by Barrett Burgin

This week, Wade Hollingshaus will be part of panel sponsored by the Kennedy Center on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 4 pm in 238 HRCB. The panel, which also includes Heather Belnap from Art History, Douglas Thomas from Design, and Rob McFarland from the German Department as moderator, will discuss the German art school, the Bauhaus, established 100 years ago, which “sought to eradicate distinctions between artistic media and to promote a vision of artistic production in the service of society. In operation from 1919 -1933, until the Nazis shut the building down, the Bauhaus was a site for experimental studio art and design, architecture, theatre, dance, and myriad other art forms and left an indelible effect on the direction of modern fine and applied arts.”  All are invited to join the discussion of the importance of the Bauhaus in their fields and celebrate its anniversary.

The College of Fine Arts and Communication is excited to welcome alumni Jared Benson back for the Alumni Achievement Award! This homecoming event welcomes past BYU students to teach our current students life lessons they can take with them after graduation. We’re excited to hear Benson’s lecture, “Lessons Learned from a Creative Career,” which will no doubt bless our students. He will be here October 17th, 11 am in the Madsen Recital Hall.


Event 2019: Women’s Leadership Forum

The community is invited to a Women’s Leadership Forum (Panel and discussion) titled “Utah Women, Giving, and Identity: The Complexity of Philanthropy in Utah” (Nov. 12, 3:30-5:00pm). Panelists will be Cynthia Gambill (Director of Philanthropy, Younique Foundation), Mary Crafts (Founder, Culinary Crafts), Shannon Toronto (COO, The Philanthropy Roundtable (2005-2013), and Jessica Farnsworth (Founder, 100 Women Who Care Utah Valley). RSVP at the link above.

Event 2019: UVU’s Utah Women’s Leadership Speaker & Dialogue Series

UVU’s next Utah Women’s Leadership Speaker & Dialogue Series free event is titled, “Women’s Health & Well-Being: Strengthen Your Capacity to Influence and Flourish.” If you cannot join in person, you can RSVP to live stream in from anywhere! It will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 6 (6:30-8:30pm) at UVU. Dr. Barbara Wilson (Interim Dean and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Utah College of Nursing) will give a short keynote, and then attendees can choose one of three workshops:

  • Health & Well-Being for Young Women: What You Need to Know to Flourish (Holly Willard & Liz Darger)
  • Real Tools for Women’s Mental Health (Tiffany Roe)
  • Women’s Health and Well-Being: Insights, Tips, and Tools (Dr. Susan Steffen, Dr. Heather Harrison, and Venice Wilkes (PA)

Check out their flyer for details on presenters and more information about the sessions. You can RSVP online now! Thanks to UVU’s three premier sponsors for their community events this year: Squire, L3Harris, and MX.

Department News 09-30-19

Earlier this month, BYU hosted Broadway legend Patti Lupone, who kicked off the Bravo! Series. Assistant Dean Bridget Benton, who produces the series, arranged for Ms. Lupone to give a workshop for over 60 MDT students. “I wanted to see them take me on a journey,” said LuPone. “If you’re confident in a song, more spontaneity occurs, and when spontaneity occurs, we’re captivated as an audience.” As LuPone worked with each student, their performances came to life through laughter, tears and moments of connection to both their music and lyrics. Ms. Lupone has won two Tony Awards for Evita and Gypsy and two Grammys for Weill: Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.  To read more about the experiences of our students, go here.

Thank you to Alexis Glauser from the External Relations team who wrote this article.

Broadway masterclass with Patti LuPone, September 6, 2019. Photo courtesy of Martha Duzett.

Sound and Fury Clarification: A few weeks ago we reported on the Student Emmys that had been awarded recently in the Rocky Mountain Region. We accidentally included all the nominees. The four final nominees for best picture were all from BYU’s media arts program: Passenger Seat, Anna, To Have and To Hold, and Gather. Gather, directed by Billy Knowles and produced by Cody Mondale, won the award. For best director, both Howie Burbidge and Bill Knowles were nominated and Howie Burbidge won the award. We congratulate the winners of these awards, and all those who were recognized as nominees!


Jaren Richardson, who recently graduated from the media arts program, has been accepted as a participant in the Audio Engineering Society’s (AES) 2019 Student Competition for doing the sound design & mixing for Grendel, BYU’s most recent animated film. Because of this, the commercial music program will fly him and another student out to New York on Oct. 15th to attend the AES convention and present on our entries. Aaron Merrill, a music faculty member, will accompany them. Even though the film was produced by the BYU animation program, and his trip is being sponsored by the commercial music program, Jaren feels he represents the Media Arts program. Jaren says, “Regardless of how well the film is judged, I’m so grateful for all the experiences I’ve had in the [media arts] program, as well as all the wonderful professors that have helped me as I’ve learned this craft and worked hard at improving it.  Thank you so much for providing me the opportunities to get to this point!”


Concept art by Joseph Buenning, courtesy of Joseph Buenning & BYU Center for Animation.


A week ago was closing night for the TMA 536 show Doctor Faustus, directed by grad student Hannah Gunson-McComb. Set to 80s rock music with costumes inspired by 80s rock legends–such as Rick Springfield, Brian May, and Weird Al Yankovic, among others–this Elizabethan play explored the nature of sin, hell, and the lies we tell to each other and to ourselves. In fact, much of what Doctor Faustus explores about repentance and sin is in tune with LDS teachings; we are truly never too far gone to embrace the Lord’s love and the atonement. While the cast is sad that the show is over, they were thrilled by the turnout they had to the show and all the insightful comments the audience made during the post-show talkbacks. This unforgettable performance was certainly a great way to start the 2019-2020 season!

All photos courtesy of Emma Petersen-Porter, the costume designer for the show.


Audition 2019: Covey Center for the Arts – It’s A Wonderful Life Radio Play

Auditions for It’s A Wonderful Life Radio Play will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 8th and 9th from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Covey Center, located at 425 W Center St. in Provo. Callbacks will be the morning of Saturday, October 12th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. This show will be directed by Adam Cannon. Performances will be December 5th through December 21st (Monday through Saturday, NO SUNDAYS). Follow this link to sign up for an audition time.

Come prepared with two contemporary contrasting pieces. Each of them should show off how you portray a character and emotion using only your voice. During the audition you will be given snippets of the script and asked to portray (in your own interpretation) the characters in that scene.

Department News 09-23-19

We are sad to announce that Eric Roy Samuelsen, a retired faculty member of our department, passed away Friday, September 20, 2019. Eric was a beloved mentor and colleague in our department. He taught theatre for many years, working as head of the playwriting area from 1999-2011. He saw many of his plays produced at BYU, and was also a prolific director.  When his illness forced him into medical retirement, he found a new artistic home at Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, where he became their Playwright in Residence, and later had a season dedicated to his works. He is survived by his wife, Annette; their four children, Kai (Angela) Samuelsen, Rebekah Owens, Tucker Samuelsen, and Lexie (Andrew) Dalton; his brothers, Robert and Rolf, and many beloved nieces and nephews, who remember him for his irreverent sense of humor.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 27, 2019 at the Grandview 3rd Ward Chapel, 900 West 2150 North, Provo, Utah. Friends may visit with the family at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center Street, Thursday, September 26 from 6-8 p.m. and at the church Saturday from 10-10:50 a.m. prior to services. Interment, Provo City Cemetery.

For his complete obituary and to express condolences,  go to!/Obituary

Another obituary can be found at

The TMA Department will be sending flowers.  If you’d like to donate toward flowers, please make your check out to the TMA Sunshine Fund and give to Elizabeth Funk. Cash can also be donated.  There is a card at the TMA front desk that you can sign that will be included with the flowers.

Please note:  Theatre originally had their Opening Social scheduled for 11 am on Friday, Sept. 27, but we have rescheduled this event for Friday, Oct. 11, at 11 am so that those who wish to may attend Eric’s funeral. 


Eric Roy Samuelsen

Four media arts fiction capstones will premiere this Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Megaplex in Vineyard, 600 N Mill Road. All are invited! Screenings begin at 8 pm, but if you want a seat, be there by 7:30 pm!



Even though his original plan was to study history and go to law school, Billy Knowles graduated from our film program and will soon be heading to USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. After taking an Intro to Film class, Knowles applied to the Media Arts program, and changed the course of his life when he got accepted. During the 2017-18 year, he directed and wrote his capstone project, “Anna,” about a pioneer girl who works with a Shoshone man to find her father. The film was screened to a packed Megaplex theater, and was accepted to the 18th LDS Film Festival, winning first place in the short film category. Knowles is grateful for the amazing opportunities he’s had at BYU, and will certainly use everything he’s learned here as he continues on his filmmaking journey. You can read more about his story here.


Billy Knowles (second from left) with crew on the set of “Anna.” Photo courtesy of Knowles


Have you heard about “Good Luck, Have Fun, Don’t Die?” This web series created by Media Arts student Nathan Young, is a live-streamed, improv sci-fi show. The idea for an improv show started back in February when a friend of his suggested Young start a tabletop role-playing game (RPG) show, which changed to a sci-fi show due to connections at a space center simulator. Over the next few months, Young started finding volunteers to help with this production, including BFA Acting Major Ian Buckley. You can read more about the show from The Daily Universe. The series ran weekly this past August, and you can find the episodes here.


Nathan Young getting all the equipment ready for his show. Photo courtesy of Hannah Miner.


Audition 2019: Eagle Mountain Community Theater – Annie Get Your Gun

Eagle Mountain Community Theater presents their 2nd annual Fall Musical, Annie Get Your Gun. Performance dates are November 21, 22, 23 and 25th. Auditions will be held Friday Sept 27th from 7:20 to 9:30 pm at Uplift Dance Studios, and Saturday Sept 28th from 10:20 – 11:20 am at In Motion Dance Studios. Callbacks will be on Monday Sept 30. Rehearsals will begin Oct 1st. Please come to auditions prepared to sing 16 bars from a song that will show your ability to create a character and your vocal range. Also prepare a short monologue. Fill out the google form here.  Also visit our signup genius for a time slot here.

Department News 09-16-19

BYU’s stellar Center for Animation Program announces another Student Academy Award on the horizon. They know they’ve won, but the actual medal placement (gold, silver, or bronze) won’t be announced until Thursday, October 17, at 7:30 p.m., at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. This year, the Student Academy Awards competition received a total of 1,615 entries from 255 domestic and 105 international colleges and universities, which were voted upon by a record number of Academy members.

Directed by Kalee McCollaum, “Grendel,” has won in the Animation competition. For more about this animated short, which is a spoof based off the Beowulf legend, go here. For an official list of student academy award winners, follow this link.


Concept art by Joseph Buenning, courtesy of Joseph Buenning & BYU Center for Animation.

The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of Television Arts and Sciences announced Emmy Awards over the weekend. The Southwest Chapter serves Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and El Centro, California and is dedicated to excellence in television by honoring exceptional work through the prestigious Emmy Award. Brad Barber’s Beehive Stories was recognized with two awards in the following categories: Human Interest – Program Special and Magazine Program – Feature / Segment. Congratulations to Brad Barber and the following students whose work was recognized. The official list of professional awards can be found here.

  • Human Interest – Program Special

Beehive Stories: Starting Over, KBYU Eleven and Brigham Young University, Brad Barber

  • Magazine Program – Feature / Segment

Beehive Stories: Emery County, KBYU Eleven and Brigham Young University, Brad Barber

The following media arts capstones were awarded Student Emmys in the College Division. The official list of Student Emmys can be found here.


  • “Anna,” Brigham Young University

William Knowles, Writer; Cody Mondale, Producer; Devin Ricky Sudweeks, Production Designer; Stephanie Bogdan, Director Of Photography

  • “To Have And To Hold,” Brigham Young University

Colton Elzey, Barrett Burgin, Producers; Nathan Tanner, Editor; Ian David Hawkes, Writer

  • “Gather,” Brigham Young University

Howie Burbidge, Writer

  • Passenger Seat,” Brigham Young University

Jeffrey Hein, Director; Jeff Parkin, Advisor; Kyler Sommer, Producer


  • “Gather,” Brigham Young University

Howie Burbidge, Director

  • “Anna,” Brigham Young University

William Knowles, Director

The media arts program held two events on Friday. Their Opening Social was held at the WSC Garden Court. Students sampled video game systems from the early 80s to today- Atari, Nintendo, Playstation, etc.—and enjoyed Nico’s pizza! Thanks to Grant Gomm, Kyle Stapley, and the SFA for organizing this event. Friday evening, screenings for Six-week Cinema projects took place in the Nelke Theatre. Six-week Cinema is a spring/summer program that allows beginning-intermediate BYU Media Arts students, as well as students from other majors, the opportunity to work on a small film crew and make a short film in 6 weeks of production. Executive producers for this year’s projects were Karina Orton and Jacob Watson. Here are the teams and projects that were screened:

2:01 A.M.

Producer – Alex Fielding

Director – Sam Matheson

After spending the evening together, Ali and Kaleb discuss dreams, nightmares, and fear of the dark in a parked car.

Basement Landing

Producer – Austin Davis

Director – McKay Olson

A young husband is haunted by a malevolent creature as he and his pregnant wife expect their first child.

Who’s Your Friend

Producer – Emma Spears

Director – Sophia Deighton

Ross is dragged by her best friend to a wedding reception where she discovers what friendship actually means to her.


Producer – Sarah Lawrence

Director – Colby Barrios

A couple’s relationship transforms as they revisit a significant space.

The TMA offices would like to welcome two new members of their student staff, Rachel Bloomfield and Parker Schmidt! They are the new secretaries this year, and we are excited to have them on our team. Rachel is a sophomore here at BYU applying for the Special Needs Education program. She returned a few months ago from her mission in British Columbia Canada and is excited to be back at school. She loves to dance and do anything outdoors. Parker is a freshman studying business. He was born and raised on Vancouver Island, Canada and is the youngest of five children. His mission in the Barbados Bridgetown Mission took him to four different islands in the Lesser Antilles, including Grenada and St. Lucia. Growing up he took part in theatre and performed in various roles including Winthrop in The Music Man and Tommy Mara in The Miracle on 34th Street.

We also want to refamiliarize you with the faces of our current student staff. It’s thanks to them that we’re able to keep the TMA offices running!


Audition 2019: The Stage Door – Mamma Mia!

Auditions for Mamma Mia! will be held October 1st, 6:30-10 pm. Auditions are open, but you may call in to schedule a specific time. Please prepare 16 bars of two contrasting songs for the audition. One of the songs must be pop/rock in the style of the show. Auditions will be held at the Electric Theater68 E. Tabernacle street in St. George. If you cannot make the audition times, email You can text 435-619-0495 for questions or a specific audition time.