Every year, our colleagues in arts production breathe a collective sigh of relief the week after Homecoming. Many of those in arts production focus their efforts on producing one of the largest shows of the year, Homecoming Spectacular, as a service to the university community. Jennifer Reed directed the show this year. Part of her job is to determine what BYU groups will be in the show. Once that is determined, she works on potential collaborations with BYU groups and headliners. She will suggest numbers for the groups to sing that seem to go along with a subtle theme. This year, the subtle theme was, “The light in our lives, happiness and sunshine.” The headliners’ music really determines what direction the show will go. Jennifer was excited to see that vision come together for a very successful show this year. It was the largest Spectacular, selling 20,500 tickets! The audience loved it! When Jennifer originally invited Colbie to headline the show, she realized Colbie didn’t know what she was getting into, but she had a wonderful experience in large part because of our awesome students. A fun behind the scenes story: Jennifer really wanted to have beach balls drop on the audience during the finale, and it was a bit of a battle to get the Marriott Center to agree. They finally did and dropped over 500 beach balls, which was the perfect end to a fun and uplifting night! Jennifer is especially grateful to her key collaborators on Spectacular:
- Marianne Ohran: Lighting Designer
- Russ Richins: Set Designer and Production Manager
- Justin Hemsely: Projection Designer
- Aaron Kopp: Sound Designer
- Jared Patching: Technical Director
- Jodi Maxfield: Key Choreographer
- Bridget Benton: Talent Liasion/Producer
She is extremely appreciative to all the students who helped, without whom the show would not have gone on. TMA students involved included Sarah Barrus, Kirsten Busse,Grant Porter, Matthew Kupferer, Susan Kupferer, Dayne Joyner, Christina Porter, Jacob Anderson, Paige Whitaker, and Emma Nulton. Below is a photo of the Spectacular crew with this year’s show’s stars, Colbie Caillat and David Archuleta.
Each semester, students put their playwriting and producing skills to the test in creating short plays that exhibit the skills and talents they’ve acquired. Microburst Theatre is a fresh and exciting showcase of those short plays. In a showcase directed by George Nelson, this year’s production will feature six new works which will be shown in the evening from Thursday, October 18 to Saturday, October 20. For tickets and showtimes, click here.
Bryson Frehner, who is currently the production manager for Divine Comedy, gave this report about the group’s first show of the semester which happened over the weekend: “The show this last weekend was really fun. The group performed 4 sold out shows of “Mamma Mia Maid” with strong performances, especially considering that there were six new cast members. Fun fact: this year’s Divine Comedy cast has more women than men for the first time ever (6 to 5)! They all felt very comfortable on stage, they all had great moments and they made a lot of people laugh. All the laughter and sketches aside, something that I noticed and loved is how diverse the cast is this year. There’s a great variety in body types, faces, comedic styles and even ethnicity. I also feel a very positive, unique and fresh vibe from this group, something I don’t think I’ve ever felt or seen. There’s a beautiful sense of unity and camaraderie that is coming through their performances and chemistry with each other. I was really impressed with this first DC show and I am excited to see what more great things come from this group of 11 very talented comedians.” Newbies this semester include Austin Judkins, Garet Allen (media arts major!), Kiara Mercedes, Kiri Case, McKay Fritz and Naomi Winters. George Nelson is the TMA faculty liaison for the group with TMA.
Fall 2018 Divine Comedy: Mamma Mia Maid
Garet Allen, Austin Judkins, Kiara Mercedes, McKay Fritz, Kiri Case, and Naomi Winters
Two of our retired faculty Barta Heiner and Janet Swenson currently have shows up in Utah. Barta directs the current show at the Covey Center, Angel Street, a 1938 script that was made into a well-known film in 1944 under the name Gaslight, which starred Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. In fact, the term “gaslighting, to cause a person to doubt his or her sanity through the use of psychological manipulation,” came from the film. Later, the play was produced on Broadway. This “Victorian Thriller” plays through Oct. 27. For tickets, click here.
From Utah Theatre Bloggers: “Heiner … helped the actors create strong characters who had years of stories behind them. Every character had depth and a lifetime of experience they carried around with them. Jack had his secrets, Bella had family difficulties, Rough had years of investigative inquiries. Heiner was able to help the actors figure out their stories and avoid two-dimensional characters that would only exist during the scenes they were in.”
Janet Swenson designed costumes for Tuacahn’s production of Cinderella, which closes on Friday, Oct. 19 of this week. From Front Row Reviewers, https://frontrowreviewersutah.com/?p=7828 : “I was also immediately taken away by the incredible costumes designed by Janet Swenson. All of the dresses, hats, men’s elaborate suits are appropriate and beautiful. Every member of the cast has exquisite attire the entire show. This show requires some instant onstage costume transformations, which are cleverly and impressively done. Magic happens right before your eyes, and if you aren’t paying close enough attention, you will miss it. From rags to riches, Cinderella’s ball gown seems to appear out of nowhere.”
Recent media arts graduate, Sariah May, who wrote and directed the student capstone film, “I Love My Robot Boyfriend,” has had the film accepted into numerous film festivals. The most recent one, Citizen Jane, is pretty cool! They’ll fly her our and treat her like royalty! Here is a current list of 12 festivals the film has gotten into: Utah Film Festival, LDS Film Festival, Alternative Film Festival (ALTFF), Eye Film Festival, Best Short Fest (semi-finalist), Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, Breaththroughs Film Festival, Lady Filmmakers Film Festival, Cineyouth Film Festival (won best comedy), For Film’s Sake, FilmQuest, and Citizen Jane Film Festival.