Students, do you have an interesting project that needs funding? Is your group registered through ASUU or are you a CFA SAC? Then read on, because the College of Fine Arts might have money for you.
On behalf of the FAF Grants* Funding Committee, we are excited to announce the 2018 Fall FAF Grants Cycle. FAF Grants process, eligibility, restrictions of funds, deadlines, instructions and application materials can be found here.
There are lots of different projects that FAF Grants can fund. Historically, FAF Grants has funded student-driven events to:
Create gallery exhibits, performances, concerts
Bring guest artists or scholars to campus
Travel to arts-related conferences or events
Any College of Fine Arts student groups, registered through ASUU, and CFA SACs may apply for Fine Arts Fees Grants (FAF Grants) for student-driven, noncredit activities that enhance student learning, and/or enhance the student experience for the larger University community, and/or create or host fine arts events on campus and in the greater Salt Lake City area.
Fall FAF Grants must be turned into your Departmental FAF Grants Representative prior to September 21, 2018 at 5pm.
*The Fine Arts Fees (or “FAF”) fund is supported by all paying tuition at the University of Utah. These student fee monies are used to support Arts Pass, which offers University of Utah students free or deeply discounted tickets to campus Arts events, as well fund the FAF Grants program.
On Wednesday, Aug. 29 from 11A – 2P, the arts at the University of Utah are taking over the Marriott Library Plaza. We’re talking live performances on a massive stage, interactive art, free food, free T-shirts, free swag, and all the info you could ever want on the different ways to experience the arts on campus.
Hold on, you know about Arts Pass, right? It’s the one-of-a-kind program that makes it so you can use your UCard to get free or deeply discounted tickets to literally hundreds of arts experiences on campus each year. So you can attend dance performances, concerts, plays, exhibitions, film screenings, and more on the super cheap — and it even includes special student access to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, UtahPresents and Pioneer Theatre Company.
Why? Because more and more research is showing the positive impacts of the arts on education. The findings are significant: exposure to the arts is linked with better critical thinking skills, greater social tolerance, a greater likelihood of seeking out art and culture in the future and better workforce opportunities. (Maybe that’s why we issue tens of thousands of tickets to students every year.)
But, back to the Bash: First things first, pick up a passport from any of the booths, visit other booths to collect stamps, and when your passport is full, visit the Info booth to redeem it for a super soft mint green Arts Pass t-shirt that you can take to get your choice of design screen printed on it right in front of your eyes. Then you’ll grab some food and catch a couple acts on stage.
We’re so excited to have all five academic units in the College of Fine Arts there to let you know what non-major classes you can take to spice up your class load, how to major in the arts, and give you the scoop-diddy-whoop about what experiences they’re providing throughout the year for all U students, faculty, and staff.
And we’re stoked to welcome to the main stage:
• A proper bash kick-off from the U’s new Associate Vice President for the Arts and Dean of the College of Fine Arts, John Scheib
• The Department of Theatre’s musical theatre program will perform numbers from their season opener “CHESS” directed and choreographed by Denny Berry
• Ballet grad student James Wallace will take the stage for a stunning performance
• The School of Music’s Percussion Ensemble will host a not-to-be-missed drum circle
• And the modern dance freshman class will do its famous improv jam on the plaza (fan favorite every year!)
Not to mention, we have a couple surprises up our sleeves…
So, come. Experience. And start thinking differently.
In Spite of Ourselves is a devised piece based on the poem “All My Love Poems Sound Like Break Up Poems” by Ashe Vernon. Heiner said in an interview with The Chrony, “My play exists in this weird space between falling in love and falling out of love… it does have a beginning, a middle and an end, but they don’t have to happen in that order and you can decide what they are.”
In Spite of Ourselves has 6 performances between August 3-12. For more information visit the Facebook event page.
They were in love.
Are. Were. Maybe.
They’ve grown apart, or back together.
This has all happened before, or it’s a sign of what’s to come.
They can’t stand each other, and they can’t let each other go.
About the playwright:
Catherine Heiner received her master’s degree in Literary and Cultural Studies this spring from Carnegie Mellon University. This year she has also presented at the American Theatre in Higher Education conference, Comparative Drama Conference, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Theatre and Drama Graduate Student Conference. Her work in dramaturgy has included productions of As You Like It, American Idiot, and Self Defense, or death of some salesmen, as well as upcoming productions of The Wolves,The Lion in Winter, and the world premiere of An Evening with Two Awful Men.
About the cast:
Hannah Ensign is a senior in the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah. Previous credits include Meg Long and Captain Jemmy Campbell in Our Country’s Good (University of Utah), Ellie in Elephants Graveyard (Anthem Theatre Co), The Vagina Monologues (University of Utah), Maggie in Somewhere In Between (Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival), and Ursula/Outlaw in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Salt Lake Shakespeare).
Maxwell Paris is thrilled to be making his debut at the Fringe Festival. He is a sophomore in the Actor Training and Stage Management Programs at the University of Utah, originally from Wisconsin. Back home he appeared in Inspecting Carol as Wayne Wellacre, All in the Timing as Trotsky, and in Peter Pan as Tik Tok Croc. Here in Utah, he was most recently seen as Submarine in A View From the Bridge. His upcoming projects will include being the PA for U of U’s production of Chess and as an ensemble member in Big Love.
Welcome to our series highlighting graduates who are surviving (and even thriving!) out in the “real world.”
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Mark Fossen, a Salt Lake actor and director. I graduated in 2014 with a BA in Theatre Studies. I act and direct locally, including upcoming work at The Grand Theatre and PYGmalion Productions. I also teach in the department, as well as at Westminster College.
How did your experience in the U’s Department of Theatre help you as a professional?
While I had been acting and directing professionally for some time before finishing my degree, my experience in the Department allowed me to achieve my goal of teaching. I was able to TA in the department for Dr. Sydney Cheek-O’Donnell and Dr. Bob Nelson, as well as work with the Undergraduate Student Experts on Teaching program. It also, of course, let me finish my degree (at the age of 44) so I could then go on to complete an MFA and be able to teach at the college level.
What is your favorite Utah memory?
Not that I don’t have many wonderful memories, but after returning to school at 40, finding professors who helped me every step along the way, and then finally graduating after 20 years of thinking I might never finish my degree … it’s hard to not say “graduation.” It meant a lot to walk that day, with my wife and daughters in the audience.
What advice do you have for recent grads?
Life is long, and a lot is going to happen. Get started on your career and your life, but if you hit bumps along the way (and it’s likely you will) you should know that it’s ok. It’s not all going to go according to plan, but you’ll find surprises along the way.
Share your story! Are you an alum with a story to share? We want to hear about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi! My name is Kelsey June Jensen and I am from Salt Lake City, Utah. In May of 2018, I graduated with a BFA from the Actor Training Program. Currently, I am residing in the Hollywood Hills with an internship at the renowned Groundlings Theatre and School. My internship mainly consists of ticket sales, customer service, and making sure the theatre is running efficiently overall. In exchange for my work in their box office, I am being rewarded with free classes, which is such an incredible honor to study and train alongside some of the best comedians of our time. Being in Los Angeles has been amazing thus far and feels like exactly where I need to be. There is so much opportunity out here! In my free time, I am constantly auditioning/submitting for different projects in Los Angeles and have been fortunate to work on some already! It’s been incredible so far.
How did your experience in the U’s Department of Theatre help you as a professional?
I would not be the woman I am today without the ATP’s discipline. I am far more hardworking, diligent, persistent, and passionate than I was freshman year of college… And I truly owe that all to the ATP. This is a cutthroat industry and if I hadn’t had this rigorous education to whip me into shape, I don’t know if I would be pursuing my dreams in Los Angeles right now. It gave me the confidence, training, and motivation I needed to become the artist I aspire to be. Any audition room I walk into, one of my professors pops in my head to say, “be confident and breathe.” Seriously. Every. Single. Audition. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
What is your favorite Utah memory?
I miss the sunsets. I also miss the grid system. A LOT. But I think one of my best memories happened during my senior project. There was a moment after an awkward stage kiss occurred and the audience completely lost it. They were laughing hysterically for quite some time and it took my partner and I every inch of our being’s not to break character and join in with them. It was the absolute best feeling in the world. I felt like I had worked so hard for the past 4 years just to reach that one small moment of pure exhilaration… It was one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences of my life.
What advice do you have for current students?
I remember thinking as a freshman, “Am I really cut out for this?” It turns out, I absolutely was and so are YOU! You are much smarter and stronger than you think. Push yourself, listen to your professors, and know that it’s all going to be worth it! Seriously. It may not seem like it now, but you are going to miss the late nights, early mornings, over-caffeination, and insane schedule. Cherish every moment you have.
Share your story! Are you an alum with a story to share? We want to hear about it! Email email@example.com
The Department of Theatre is proud to present “Mornings with Masters” a series of workshops led by our Theatre faculty for University of Utah Youth Theatre students.
The YTU summer camps are one of the most affordable quality theatre camps in the country. Students rotate to a variety of theatre classes including dance, drama, and voice taught by qualified instructors, including current U of U Theatre students and alumni. All students perform in a showcase at the end of the last week, featuring a variety of songs, dances, and drama.
This summer, students in the teen sessions will have the opportunity to join a workshop led by Department of Theatre faculty in various areas. The goal of these workshops is for the students to meet theatre professionals and expand their knowledge about theatre careers and opportunities.
The Youth Theatre program at the University of Utah is dedicated to empowering youth to skillfully participate in the performing arts as a vehicle to explore their creativity, engage in their community, and think critically about the world. For over thirty years, YTU has been providing high quality out-of-school time theatre arts programs for young people along the Wasatch Front.
Mikki, Amanda, and Jamie on the set of Mama Mia! after graduation, 2018.
Musical Theatre students and recent grads will appear in Pioneer Theatre Company’s Mamma Mia!
Mikki Reeve who graduated this spring will appear as Ali and Jesse Klick who graduated in the fall will appear as Eddie. Both recently appeared in the US premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Beautiful Game in the Babcock Theatre directed by Denny Berry.
Mikki, John, Jamie, and Amanda being celebrated by PTC after graduation, 2018.
Senior in the MTP, Sky Kawai will appear in the ensemble alongside MTP alumni Jamie Landrum, Mandy McDonell, John Peterson, Megan Shenefelt, and Amanda Wright. Stage Management student Tahra Si’mone Veasley will serve as the 2nd assistant stage manager.
Mamma Mia! closes Pioneer Theatre Company’s 2017-2018 season, running Friday, May 11 through Saturday, May 26, 2018. The greatest pop hits from ABBA who came to define the disco era are part of this cheerful musical about a young woman trying to find out who her real father is on the eve of her wedding on a beautiful Greek island.
Current University of Utah students may take advantage of student discounts through the Arts Pass to attend performances at discounted rates. Visit pionnertheatre.org for more information.
SKY KAWAI (Ensemble) is a pre-med student in the University of Utah Honors College while earning his BFA in musical theatre. Previous roles include Boland in Dogfight (Babcock), Worm in Diary of a Worm… (SLAC), Randall in Bring It On!(Marriott Center for Dance) as well as Ensemble in PTC’s concert productions of Chess and In The Heights.
JESSE KLICK (Eddie) Previous credits include: The Envelope(Toby) and Newsies (Ensemble/Swing) with Pioneer Theatre Company; The Beautiful Game (Choreographer), You Never Can Tell (Valentine), Cats (Rum Tum Tugger/Macavity) and Dogfight (Eddie Birdlace), with U of U; An Evening With Kristin Chenoweth (Backup Vocalist) with BYU; and Twelfth Night(Sebastian) with Salt Lake Shakespeare. Klick holds a BFA in musical theatre from the University of Utah. jesseklick.weebly.com
JAMIE LANDRUM (Ensemble) had the Mamma Mia!soundtrack memorized by the age of three! PTC credits: The Count of Monte Cristo (Valentine) and The Last Ship (Swing). University of Utah (from which she is a very recent graduate!) credits: Steel Pier (Shelby Stevens) and an all-female Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas). Endless thanks to everyone at PTC for giving students incredible opportunities, and to friends and family for supporting her dreams, and all her love to Noah. @jamiela
MANDY McDONELL (Ensemble) is delighted to be back at PTC! McDonell is a California native who now resides in NYC. Selected credits include: Mary Poppins (Annie) with Utah Shakespeare Festival and Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Oliver! (Charlotte); The Rocky Horror Show (Transylvanian); Fiddler on the Roof (Chava); Chess (Assistant Director); The Will Rogers Follies (Dance Assistant) with Pioneer Theatre Company. Proud University of Utah graduate! mandymcdonell.com
JOHN PETERSON (Ensemble) is so grateful to be back on the PTC stage right after graduating from the Musical Theatre Program at the U of U! Regional: Newsies, Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof (PTC) and Mary Poppins (ASF). U of U: TheBeautiful Game (John Kelly), Steel Pier (Johnny Adele), Cats(Skimbleshanks). Endless thanks to Karen, the MTP faculty, J Beall and his amazing, supportive family. @johnnpeterson
MIKKI REEVE (Ali) is beyond grateful to do her first show with PTC! She recently graduated from the University of Utah with a BFA in musical theatre, where she played Rita Racine in Steel Pier, Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Marcy in Dogfight. She thanks her incredible parents for their unwavering support and her friends for inspiring her every day. Enjoy the show!
MEGAN SHENEFELT (Ensemble) is a graduate of the MTP at the University of Utah and was last seen in PTC’s concert version of Chess. Favorite credits include St. Jimmy in American Idiot, Lucy T. Slut in Avenue Q, Pirelli in Sweeney Todd and Jesus Christ in Godspell. Second place winner of Classical Singers International Singers Competition in Boston. Sending love to family and friends.
AMANDA WRIGHT (Ensemble) is so glad to be back at PTC after appearing in this season’s Newsies (Katherine u.s./Ensemble) and last season’s Chess the Concert Production. She has performed with Salt Lake Acting Company in Saturday’s Voyeur 2016 and can be seen in Voyeur again this summer. She has a BFA from the University of Utah’s Musical Theatre Program, where she appeared in Hello, Dolly! (Ernestina) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus). For my family—thank you for the music!
Graduation at the University of Utah consists of two events: commencement and convocation. Commencement is for all candidates and convocations are held by each college.
College of Fine Arts Convocation
The College of Fine Arts Convocation will be held on Friday, May 4, 2018 at 12:00 pm at Kingsbury Hall.
All candidates for graduation should line up for the College of Fine Arts Convocation no later than 11:30 am.
Baccalaureate Candidates should enter through the “lower lobby” door at the southwest side of the building and will line up in the lower level of Kingsbury Hall.
Master’s, DMA and PhD candidates should line up on the southwest side of Kingsbury Hall along the sidewalk between David Gardner Hall and Kingsbury Hall.
Convocation Ceremonies are non-ticketed events with a first-come, first-seated policy. Due to space limits, we recommend limiting the number of guests to 4, if possible. Kingsbury Hall will open approximately 30 minutes before the ceremony start time. Patrons will form a line to enter the auditorium and will enter the building through the main doors. Guests must be seated prior to the start of the processional, which begins promptly at 12:00 pm. Patrons are discouraged to save seats. Once the auditorium is filled to its capacity, guests will be directed to an overflow auditorium next to Kingsbury Hall. By order of the Fire Code Official, no objects such as infant carriers, strollers or other like items are allowed in Kingsbury Hall Lobby or Auditorium.
Students or guests with disabilities (including individuals in wheelchairs and those who have limited mobility) attending the College of Fine Arts’ Convocation Ceremony can request accommodations by contacting Cami Rives at 801-581-6764. The College requests that guests give reasonable prior notice and, since space is limited and seats are first-come, first-seated, plan to arrive early.
Campus parking lots may be used at no charge during Convocation and Commencement ceremonies. Families are encouraged to drop off guests who cannot walk long distances at Kingsbury Hall before parking their cars. Guests may also park in other lots and catch a University shuttle to Kingsbury Hall. For a map of parking at Rice-Eccles Stadium and shuttle pick-up, please click here.
A commercial photographer will be present to photograph all candidates. You will be asked to fill out name cards for the photographer, but you are under no obligation to purchase pictures. Family and friends may take additional photographs as desired. For more information about graduation photos, please click here.
The New Plays Workshop class taught by Professors Tim Slover and Sydney Cheek-O’Donnell invites you to three nights of free staged readings of new and bold plays.
The plays written and performed by members of the Department of Theatre community will run April 23-25, at 6:00 p.m in PAB 115. Admission to the play readings is free and post-performance discussions will happen each night following the play readings. Light refreshments with be served.
Shooter by Mark Macey (Theatre Studies) April 23
The Valueby Nicholas Dunn (Adjunct Faculty, ATP alumnus) April 24
Mapplethorpe by Mary Stringham (Art History Major & Theatre Minor) April 25
*Plays contain adult language and themes
About New Plays Workshop class:
As a class, the plays are developed through discussion and exploratory workshops over the course of the semester. The development process culminates with student-run staged readings where members may serve variously as actors, directors, dramaturgs, stage managers or producers depending upon area of interest and the requirements of each play.
PERFORMING ARTS BUILDING PARKING:Parking is available in the visitor’s lot to the south of the Performing Arts Building, in the Marriott Library lot. Monday-Friday payment for parking is now required until 10:00 p.m. Please make sure to pay at the kiosks in the parking lot. The closest parking kiosk to Performing Arts Building is located outside the University of Utah Credit Union.
Support local artists and a fantastic organization this Friday, April 20 by attending “Natural Shocks” at 7:30 p.m. in the Babcock Theatre.
Directed by Department of Theatre Instructor Mark Fossen and starring Professor Sarah Shippobotham, this theatre activism piece against gun violence is a one night event produced by Pussycat Productions.
Modeled after her Inauguration Day project when she made her play The Taming available to theaters for royalty-free readings on January 20, 2017, Lauren Gunderson and her team of producers have coordinated an ambitious national campaign of theater activism against gun violence with royalty-free readings of her new play Natural Shocks taking place across the country April 19-23, 2018.
That timing is intentional: April 20 is the 19th anniversary of Columbine and the day of the National School Walkout, organized by the students activists in Parkland, Florida. Professional theaters, universities, high schools, and community groups are pairing their readings with town halls, audience talkbacks, and fundraisers for nonprofits like Everytown For Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action.
Congratulations to Martin C. Alcocer, our 2018 Department of Theatre Outstanding Student!
Martin was born in Mexico City and grew up in Salt Lake City. He is a dedicated and compassionate leader in the department who is graduating with a BFA in Stage Management.
During his time in the Department, Martin has served as stage manager for many productions in our department and in local theaters. Most recently he served as stage manager for Steel Pier in the Marriott Center for Dance and assistant stage manager for Newsies! at Pioneer Theatre Company.
Martin also has a passion for lighting design and has done the lighting design for Love’s Labour’s Lost (Studio 115), How Long Can You Stand… (Sackerson and Flying Bobcat), and Our Country’s Good (Babcock Theatre). He was the assistant lighting designer for HIR, Streetlight Woodpecker, and Harbur Gate at Salt Lake Acting Company.
The Department of Theatre faculty nominated Martin because of his commitment to the department, his fellow students, and the theatre community. He has taken leadership several years in a row by organizing and mentoring other students to go to the USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology). He describes his work as “high quality work that is achieved and demonstrated through collaboration, strong communication, and the understanding that we are all human.” He is a recipient of the Elizabeth Warner Scholarship, the Salt Lake Acting Company Scholarship, and Fine Arts Advisory Board Scholarship.
During his time in the College of Fine Arts
Most memorable moment:
I’ve had many memorable moments and it is not easy to pick one. Out of all the things I have enjoyed during my time in the College of Fine Arts, my most memorable moments are those in which I had the opportunity to create and collaborate with my peers. There are two times in particular which took place over a period of a few weeks: one was during the Department of Theatre’s production of Hello, Dolly!, and the other was during the production of Steel Pier. Both are memorable for similar reasons. They were both fairly large productions, and because of the large scale, they were both high stress. Despite this, everyone in the room was committed to creating a great production. The experience I gained from each show was immense, and the memories created are unforgettable. Having the opportunity to work on these shows will be of the most memorable.
One thing you learned at CFA:
During my time in the CFA, I learned about the power of networking, and the importance of balance. In this industry, networking is critical. The arts are often times heavily reliant on who you know. Having this knowledge early on has definitely aided me as I progressed through undergrad and started to build my network in Salt Lake and around the country. The other lesson I have learned is the need for balance. Even though I love what I do and am fortunate enough to be able to work doing what I love, I learned that only working was not healthy. You have to be able to step back and do something else, like spend time with family or friends, or have a hobby that is not related to work. Having learned this has greatly improved my stress levels, and I also feel like it has helped me better my craft.
What Inspires Martin
A main component from where I find my inspiration is through the reactions that I, along with everyone else I work with on a project, are able to evoke from an audience. With theatre, or any other type of performance art where I have been fortunate enough to work, I have been able to see and hear the impact that we, as artists, have on people’s lives. Whether we take them away from their worries and stress through a production, or we are able to spark a conversation and debate, what I, and everyone in the arts is able to do, has an impact. Knowing that I have a part of this is what inspires me.
While I was in the College of Fine Arts, I have had many fantastic opportunities. Within the Department of Theatre, I have worked, in some capacity, on nearly all of the productions whether it was as an electrician, light board programmer, or last-minute help. I also assistant stage managed and stage managed eight productions. I have been able to work at professional theatre companies, such as Salt Lake Acting Company and Pioneer Theatre Company, where I started in more entry level positions, like light board operator, and worked my way up to assistant stage manager on larger productions, such as The Count of Monte Cristo at PTC, or Saturday’s Voyeur at SLAC, where I even spent some time in the role of Stage Manager. I have also interned with Utah Opera on their production of Moby Dick. In addition to stage managing I have also assistant lighting designed at SLAC on Streetlight Woodpecker, Harbur Gate, and HIR. For the department, I designed lights for Love’s Labour’s Lost and Our Country’s Good. I currently work for Salt Lake County Center for the Arts as an On-Call Technical Director where I work at their various spaces, such as the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Capitol Theatre, and the new Eccles Theatre. In this position I ensure that their policies are followed, provide technical help, and verify that everything is done safely. Through this I have been able to interact with local art makers as well as with Broadway tours like, Something Rotten, An American in Paris, and Hamilton. Nationally, I have been a part of groups within the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), which is the largest organization for theatre, entertainment, and performing arts professionals involved in the areas of design, production and technology. I was a part of the Gateway program, which aims to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in the industry as both a mentee and a peer mentor, and I was also a part of the Stage Management Mentorship Program. In the Stage Management Mentorship Program, I, along with twelve other students or young professionals from around the country and Mexico, was paired with a mentor who gave me the opportunity talk to and network with other stage managers who have worked on touring musical productions and opera, as well as with the Walt Disney Company, Cirque du Soleil, and on events like the Super Bowl. I was also assigned to stage manage the Keynote Address that opened the annual conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL this past March. I have also served as president of the University of Utah’s chapter of Young Designers and Technicians, a club which secures funding, and organizes the trip to send students to the USITT conference. conference. Through this club, we have sent between eight to fifteen students, each year to attend the conference.
It’s no secret that we can learn a lot from The Arts. The Daily Utah Chronicle writer and ex-theatre student, Haley Oliphant wrote about 5 things she learned as a theatre major in her article, “Five Lessons I Learned as a Theater Major.” We are confident you can learn a thing or two from one of our theatre classes. Check out the non-majors classes we offer at: theatre.utah.edu/classes-for-non-majors/
Freshman Mason Duncan (left) and Caroline Hanks (right), theater majors with an emphasis in musical theater, participate in Margo Andrew’s musical theater training program, voice and text class, working on a poetry reading exercise in the Fine Arts West Building on campus in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, March 29, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)
It’s no surprise to anyone that arts degrees have a bad reputation. They’re often thrown to the side as useless and trivial — degrees one pursues when there are no other options. This “last resort” degree is also painted as an easy cop-out, but that is simply not true.
Actors spend weeks memorizing scripts and blocking, and they must be able to recite monologue after monologue at a moment’s notice. Dancers dance until their feet literally bleed, their bones or muscles snap or until their routine is absolutely perfect — and then they dance some more. Visual artists spend hours in front of a canvas or screen meticulously deciding what colors, shapes, lines, textures and themes to incorporate into each masterpiece. Writers take black and white text and use it to create technicolor worlds with living, breathing characters.
The bottom line is that arts training is hard. Beyond hard. I was a theater major once and I couldn’t handle it. It takes its toll on you emotionally, physically and mentally. I left because acting wasn’t the right fit for me, but I don’t feel my time was wasted. Here are five lessons I learned in the two and a half years I spent as a theater major:
This is exactly what it sounds like. Show up for your job, your significant other or life in general. You miss out on the best things life has to offer when you decide to sit one out. This doesn’t mean show up to every event you’re invited to, but it does mean that when you take the time to pursue something, you should always be present.
Take the Note Once
After each rehearsal for a show, the director gives notes to the actors on what they can do to improve their performance. This mantra means when given a correction, strive to not receive the same correction in the next round of notes. Warranted feedback helps you become a better person and it helps you avoid mistakes in the future. If someone you care about or respect offers their two cents about something, take it seriously.
Don’t Hide From Your Emotions
I know, I know, cue the sappy Hallmark movie music, but this is important. I once started crying in the middle of my acting class (side note: no worries, this was pretty normal) but my professor, Sarah Shippobotham, wouldn’t let me look away from her. She told me I could cry all I wanted to, but I couldn’t hide my face. I learned in that vulnerable moment I shouldn’t be embarrassed about my emotions, and even though this is a lesson I’m re-learning every day, I have Sarah Shippobotham to thank for helping me take the first step.
If You Pee Clear, You Sing Clear
This is one of professor David Schmidt’s many mantras of life. More simply stated: stay hydrated.
Practice How You Perform
Surprise, surprise: practice makes perfect. Well, maybe not perfect, but at least better. This little saying, however, takes things a step further. Don’t phone it in when you’re studying for a test, practicing a monologue or learning something new. If you really want to be better at something, you have to practice it a lot, but practice it with all the effort you have.
While I may no longer be pursuing a degree in drama, I have learned many life lessons about how to be a better version of myself. I’m grateful to the people who work hard to bring the arts to life and for the professors who taught me valuable things. There are more lessons to be learned through art, but those are the ones you’ll have to learn for yourself.
Musical Theatre Program students, Andy Harrison and Alice Ryan participated and performed at the 2018 Performance Voice Conference sponsored by the University of Utah Voice Disorders Center on Saturday, April 7.
Both students participated in a masterclass and performed for keynote speaker Leda Scearce, a Singing Voice Rehabilitation Specialist from the Duke Voice Care Center. The students receive vocal instruction in the Department of Theatre from Assistant Professors Shalee Schmidt and Brian Manternach, D.Mus., and were able to attend the conference through Dr. Manternach’s involvement on the conference planning committee.
University of Utah Health Care presented the Performance Voice Conference in celebration of World Voice Day. Physicians, otolaryngologists, speech language pathologists, vocal coaches, voice instructors, faculty and students were invited to join for a day of instruction and collaboration with nationally and internationally acclaimed voice professionals.
Attendees learned about the science behind clinical and pedagogical approaches to prevent or care for voice problems affecting performing artists. Topics included the effect of medications, hydration, and voice rest on voice function and recovery after injury. Speakers offered scientific and clinical expertise including laryngology, speech-language pathology, vocal coaching and voice science
The Department of Theatre is a sponsor of the conference along with the National Center for Voice & Speech, the University of Utah Communication Sciences and Disorders, and other college Communication Sciences & Disorders departments in the state of Utah.
The Musical Theatre graduating class presents “And Here We Are…” The showcase is both a reflection and capstone for our graduating seniors of the Musical Theatre Program and will feature their wide-ranging and phenomenal talents.
The seniors have created a show that shares the story of their lives over the past four years–including the hard work, friendships, and lots and lots of dancing! Come and see the Class of 2018 in their very last University show!
Ty Burrell, best known for his role as Phil Dunphy in the ABC sitcom Modern Family, visited the Department of Theatre Friday, March 30 to talk about his life and career in front of Theatre students, faculty, and staff.
ATP Head Chris DuVal joined him on the Babcock Theatre stage where Ty shared his views about preparation, commitment, and his perspective about acting.
Ty Burrell is a long time Utah actor and resident. He worked for both the Pioneer Theatre Company and Utah Shakespeare Festival before he developed fame in his current role in Modern Family. He is a theatre trained actor from Penn State and has worked in London, Broadway, and in many regional theatres across the country. Ty and Chris originally acted together in Cedar City in the late 90’s and have remained close friends since that time.
Ty’s wife, Holly is an alumna of our Actor Training Program. Ty and his wife Holly are valued supporters of the Department of Theatre at University of Utah.
Thanks for visiting and spending your morning with us!
Pioneer Theatre Company presents Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, March 30-April 14, featuring Department of Theatre students Beret Brems, Greg Carver, Cameron Holzman, Connor Nelis Johnson, Isabella Reeder, and Nathan Allen Vaugh as part of the ensemble.
Department of Theatre Professor Sarah Shippobotham is serving as the text coach, ATP Area Head and Associate Professor Chris DuVal as the fight choreographer, and hair and makeup Adjunct Faculty Amanda French as the hair and makeup designer.
After a shipwreck, grief-stricken but self-reliant Viola washes up on the shores of 1812 New Orleans. Disguising herself as a boy, she becomes the confidant of Orsino, who sends her to woo in his name the beautiful but aloof noblewoman Olivia – who promptly falls in love with the “boy” she believes Viola to be! Filled with music, merry madness and improbable passions, Twelfth Night has long been one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies.
The love triangle of Orsino, Olivia and Viola will be performed by Shakespeare veterans A.K. Murtadha, Kelsey Rainwater, and Grace Morrison.
Box Office: 801-581-6961
Open 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mon. – Fri.
We close the 2017-18 season with Our Country’s Goodby Timberlake Wertenbaker, based on the novel “The Playmaker” by Thomas Keneally, April 6-15 in the Babcock Theatre. Directed by Actor Training Program Professor Sarah Shippobotham, this play-within-a-play is a story in which justice, power and the possibility of redemption come under scrutiny.
In Jan. 1788, the first of the British prison ships arrived at Botany Bay, Australia and settled the penal colony at Port Jackson, the site of current-day Sydney. Many of the prisoners had committed minor crimes and their wardens were military men who fought and lost the war against the American colonies. When hope and supplies run low, a lieutenant tries to increase morale by staging a comedy, The Recruiting Office” by George Farquhar, using the convicts as the cast.
The creative set of this modern classic designed by Department of Theatre’s technical director and associate professor Kyle Becker, aims to put the themes of this inspiring play at the fore. Performed by a cast of highly talented actors from the Actor Training Program and Musical Theatre Program, this production is set to be an innovative portrayal of the struggle for justice, power and humanity.
Stay after the show for a conversation with the cast and creative team about the production following the Friday, April 13 performance.
Our Country’s Good at a glance:
Dates and Times: April 6-8 and 12-15 at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on April 14 and 15 at 2 p.m.
Post-Performance Discussion: April 13.
Location: The Babcock Theatre, located at 300 S. and University Street (1400 East) in the Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, lower level. Free parking is available to the south of the theatre and at Rice Eccles Stadium.
Tickets: General Admission tickets are $18, University of Utah faculty and staff are $15, University of Utah students are free with UCard and all other students with valid student ID are $8.50. Tickets can be obtained by calling 801-581-7100, online at tickets.utah.edu or at the Performing Arts Box Office, located at Kingsbury Hall.
Eclipseddirected by Stephanie Weeks received several national awards for our production showcased at the 2018 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival including:
Distinguished Performance and Production Ensemble
Eclipsed by Danai Gurira- University of Utah
Outstanding Performance and Production Ensemble
Eclipsed– University of Utah
Distinguished Performance by an Actress in a Play
Darby Mest, the Girl, Eclipsed, University of Utah
We first produced Eclipsed in March of 2017 in Studio 115. Later that year, we were invited to attend the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 8 in Mesa, AZ February 12-16, 2018.
Eclipsed tells the story of five extraordinary women brought together by upheaval in their homeland of Liberia near the end of the Second Liberian Civil War. Traveling to AZ to share a tale of survival, hope, humor, and resilience couldn’t have been possible without our cast, crew, creative team, director, and everyone else who joined us on this journey.
MTP students Micki Martinez as Nina Rosario and Mary C. Nikols as ensemble.
Musical Theatre sophomore student Micki Martinez makes her Pioneer Theatre Company debut as Nina Rosario in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights concert version. Most recently she appeared in the US premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Beautiful Game in the Babcock Theatre directed by Denny Berry. She is a proud recipient of the Lady Bracknell and College of Fine Arts Honors at Entrance Scholarships.
Musical Theatre Program student Mila Santos will appear as Carla. MTP students Sky Kawai and Mary C. Nikols will appear in the ensemble along with Actor Training program student, Monica Goff. Stage Management student Kallie Erickson will serve as the non-AEA assistant stage manager.
In the Heights runs for three performances only, March 16 & March 17, 2018, at Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre. Before there was Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda won his first Tony Award for Best Musical with this innovative, uplifting and joyous story depicting life in Washington Heights, New York.
What is a “Concert Version”? This is the entire show, fully cast, minimal set, with scripts-in-hand and an on-stage orchestra.
Cece Otto is a senior in the Actor Training Program and Student Advisory Committee President for the Department of Theatre. She won the 2018 College of Fine Arts Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award for the creation of her original piece, Hyperthymesia, which she performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2017. Cece was awarded a UROP grant two semesters in a row, allowing her to fund the project under the supervision of her mentor and Assistant Professor, Robert Scott Smith.
“Scott taught my acting class the second semester of my freshman year, and ever since then I have been enamored with his passion for the theatre and creative ideas. His talent as a theatre maker is incredible, and working with him was so delightful. I knew he had a vast background in devising work with his theatrical laboratory, Flying Bobcat, and decided to take the opportunity to absorb some of his wisdom. He pushed me to work harder, while allowing me plenty of room to grow on my own. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I had to spend time with him as a mentor.”
Recent projects Cece has worked on include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Pioneer Theatre Company, Harbur Gate at Salt Lake Acting Company, and Self Defense, or Death of Some Salesmen at the University of Utah. She is the Marketing and Outreach Intern at UtahPresents, and was chosen to be an intern at Pioneer Theatre Company this past fall. Additionally, she is a co-founder of WHO’S LOUIS?, a devised theatre company based in Salt Lake City, and enjoys being a “Big Sister” for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Utah. She will be playing the part of Dabby Bryant in the Department of Theatre’s upcoming production of Our Country’s Good this April. She is grateful to her family, friends, and teachers for their endless love and support.
Theatre projects Cece has worked during her time at the U include:
Our Country’s Good / Dabby Bryant / Babcock theatre
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time / u/s Siobhan/Voice 5 / Pioneer Theatre Co
Hyperthymesia / Performer/Creator / Edinburgh International Fringe Festival (Scotland)
Hyperthymesia / Performer/Creator / 59E59 East to Edinburgh Festival (NYC)
Harbur Gate / Marine / Salt Lake Acting Company
He Married a Tigress / Performer/Co-Creator / Eccles Broadway Theatre Grand Opening
Self Defense, or Death of Some Salesmen / Lu / Studio 115
Apt. 404 / Performer/Co-Creator / Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival
The Three Sisters / Irina / University of Utah
Residue / Performer/Co-Creator / Kennedy Center ACTF Region VII
Numb and Awake / Performer/Co-Creator / Dark Days 24 Hour Theatre Festival (1st Place)
Whispering Gallery / Performer/Co-Creator / Kennedy Center ACTF Region VIII
The Department of Theatre is thrilled to present the dramatic comedy written by Bridget Carpenter Up (The Man in the Flying Chair), a story that captures the essential truth about the lure of the impossible dream, its freedom, and its danger. Directed by Head of the Actor Training Program Chris DuVal, the production runs March 9-17 in Studio 115.
Up (The Man in the Flying Chair) is based on the real-life escapade of truck driver Larry Walters who attached 45 helium-filled weather balloons to a lawn chair and found himself 16,000 feet above the world, 20 years ago. He rose up from his backyard in San Pedro, California, was seen by commercial airliners, and drifted into controlled air space near Long Beach airport. Today he’s furiously holding onto his dreams and the faded memory of that glorious day, doing everything he can to keep his feet from touching the ground.
This is a story about breathtaking tension between hope and despair, “I love how we get to see inside Walter’s mind as he’s chasing a dream of who he is,” DuVal says. He creates an environment that doesn’t sacrifice the communal nature of making theatre—the inherent love of art making. “Theatre must always retain its joyful attitude,” he explains.
This production shows what it is to pursue one’s dream. To go on a hero’s journey where the destination is unknown, and the path uncertain, but that it is a calling of something that must be undertaken. “It’s a story that is needed now more than ever.”
“A brilliant play…original, poignant, moving, sad and funny. I have rarely sat in a theater audience that laughed so hard at one moment and, at the next, sat so still you’d swear you could hear the actors’ hearts beating together on stage.” – Eugene Register-Guard
“Up (The Man in the Flying Chair)” at a glance: Dates and Times: March 9-11 and 15-17 at 7:30PM with a matinee on March 17 at 2PM Post-Performance Discussions: March 16 Location: Studio 115 in the Performing Arts Building, 240 S. 1500 East. Parking is available in the visitor’s lot to the south of the theatre, at Rice-Eccles Stadium or on Presidents Circle. Tickets: General admission tickets are $18, U faculty and staff are $15, U students are free with UCard and all other students with valid student ID are $8.50. Tickets can be obtained by calling 801-581-7100, online or at the Performing Arts Box Office, located at Kingsbury Hall. Age Recommendations: Ages 14+
We return to the Babcock Theatre with the U.S. premiere of The Beautiful Game with Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lyrics and Book by Ben Elton. This politically and religiously charged romantic musical tells the story of ordinary people in extraordinary times. Choreographed by Musical Theatre graduate Jesse Klick and directed by Musical Theatre Program Head Denny Berry, the production runs February 16-March 4 at the Babcock Theatre.
Set amid The Troubles in Northern Ireland, this late 1960s coming-of-age musical is about a group of young men and women who are involved with a local soccer team at the start of a 30-year civil war. The amateur Catholic soccer team finds themselves torn between becoming professionals and fighting for their country. Some are drawn into the conflict, while others stand aside wanting only to be allowed to live and love in peace. It speaks of love, the things that keep us human, and the reality of dashed dreams.
Writer Ben Elton tells the story with humor and compassion, with lyrics that are both funny and heartbreaking. In the program note from the original 2000 production he wrote, “Although this is an Irish story, taking place in Belfast—a brave big-hearted city that I know well, having performed there many times—I hope that the themes and sentiments of The Beautiful Gameare universal.”
The significance of this production in today’s society will be discussed through a panel discussion lead by Theatre Instructor and Production Dramaturg, Mark Fossen on February 23, immediately after the evening production.
From the Dramaturg:
“We’re at war, Mary. We’ve been at war for eight hundred years.”
By Mark Fossen, Dramaturg
The Beautiful Game looks at the early years of “The Troubles.” But the complicated history of Ireland dates at least as far back as the 1171 the invasion of Ireland by the English King Henry II—the beginning of centuries of English rule over the island.
The political and territorial conflict between the native Irish and the colonizing English took on a religious aspect in 1534 when King Henry VIII broke from the Roman Catholic Church and founded the Church of England. The Irish were staunchly Roman Catholic and loyal to the Pope, and the religious division multiplied their grievances against the English. King James I took the English throne after the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, unifying the crowns of Scotland, Ireland, and England. He began a project to settle the Plantation of Ulster in what is now Northern Ireland with Protestant English and Scottish settlers in order to suppress a hotbed of rebellion on the island.
In 1688, the Catholic King James II was overthrown in the Glorious Revolution and fled to Ireland to find support amongst the Catholic populace, only to be defeated by the Protestant William of Orange, who is celebrated by the Protestant Unionist faction to this day. William ascended the English throne in 1689, and established the Protestant Ascendency—a series of repressive laws designed to strip the native populace of political and economic power, enabling the Protestant minority to hold political and economic power over the Catholic majority.
By the dawn of the 20th Century, the political movement towards Irish self-governance reached a climax in the 1916 Easter Rebellion and the War for Independence, which established the Republic of Ireland as an independent nation. However, the counties of Ulster remained part of the Union as a separate Northern Ireland.
The late 1960s saw the beginning of a 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland between the paramilitary Irish Republican Army and the Unionist forces, supported by the British Army.
The Beautiful Game begins near the start of The Troubles—specifically, the weekend of August 12-14, 1969, as violence broke out in Derry in “The Battle of the Bogside.” A Protestant march celebrating a 1689 victory by William of Orange’s forces passed near the Catholic area of Bogside, sparking three days of deadly violence between Catholic and Protestant forces.
The Troubles would consume Northern Ireland for three decades, overflowing at times to England and even mainland Europe. In the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, the Republic of Ireland recognized Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. But both countries agreed that Northern Ireland could join the Republic, should a majority in both vote for the change.
For more information about The Beautiful Game and “The Troubles,” please visit our
University of Utah Theatre Department’s Eclipsed Will Be Performed at Regional Festival The University of Utah Theater Department’s production of Eclipsed from last season was chosen by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival to perform at Festivention from February 14 to 17 at Mesa Community College, Arizona. This is one of only six productions that has been chosen to perform from our region, comprised of schools from Utah, Southern Nevada, Southern California, Arizona, Hawaii, and Guam.
Eclipsed is a powerful production based on real life stories of the women and girls who helped bring peace to the African nation of Liberia during its second civil war. It became the first play with an all-black and female cast and creative team to premiere on Broadway in 2015. The U of U’s production followed this example by casting an all-black cast and hiring Stephanie Weeks, New York resident, as artistic director. Of their performance, Utah Theater Blogger stated, “The five women on stage of this production took on material that has the ability to bring empathy, understanding, and advocacy that is desperately needed.”
U of U Theatre professor Bob Nelson currently serves on the board of KCACTF, and has been serving there for 10 years. In fact, this year he was honored with a Gold Medallion for his years of dedicated service with the organization. Nelson said this year there were over 70 eligible applicants, and the U was one of 6 selected.
Some of KCACTF’s goals are “to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs, to provide opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight . . . [and] to encourage colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays.” Professor Nelson said of the festival, “I particularly appreciate working with KCACTF because this organization, more than many, focuses on the students’ experience. It gives students an excellent opportunity to interact and work with other individuals and institutions at the festival.”
Participating in the festival is no small undertaking. The entire company will be returning for their three performances at the festival, including recently graduated students. The company will also transport their entire set and costumes to the venue. While at the festival, they will get the opportunity to participate in workshops and seminars on such topics as dramaturgy, theatre criticism, playwriting, auditioning, voice, movement, stage combat, theater for children, scene painting, and scenery construction.
Speaking of Eclipsed, Artistic Director Stephanie Weeks was quoted in the Daily Utah Chronicle saying as, “Often when we talk of prisoners of war we talk about the soldiers who have been captured, tortured, and killed. Rarely do we talk about the women and children who are also in the trenches and are, in fact, prisoners of war themselves . . . trapped by their circumstances. So how and why do we imprison the women who gave us life and nurtured us?” Audiences who attended this production last year were deeply moved, and the University of Utah is proud to be able to send our talented cast and production team to this festival to share this important story.
Eclipsed written by Danai Gurira, directed by Stephanie Weeks, produced by our Department in March of 2017, has been invited to attend Festival 50 in Mesa, Arizona at Mesa Community College February 13-17, 2018.
Eclipsed is one of six productions chosen to attend the KCACTF Region 8 festival in 2018. Other productions chosen include Where Words Once Wereby Finegan Kruckemeyer, directed by Tracy Callahan, Weber State University (Utah); The Government Inspectorby Nikolai Gogo, adapted by Theatre Movement Bazaar and directed by Tina Kronis, Los Angeles City College (California); Man of La Manchaby Mitch Leigh, Joe Darion and Dale Wasserman, directed by bree valle, Cuesta College (California); Story Theatreby Paul Sills, directed by Kevin Dressler, Mesa Community College (Arizona); and Intimate Apparelby Lynn Nottage, directed by Linda Bisessti, California Polytechnic University, Pomona (California).
Eclipsed tells the story of five extraordinary women brought together by the upheaval of war in their homeland of Liberia. “A driving force behind the resolution of the conflict were the women of Liberia who came together because they were tired and angry at what war was doing to their country,” said director Weeks. Drawing on reserves of wit and compassion, Eclipsed reveals the courage and strength of the women who are often overlooked in a world where war endures, and women are still fighting to survive.
The brilliant all-black female cast traveling to Arizona includes Madelaine Lamah as Maima, Terryn Shigg as Bessie, Darby Mest as The Girl, ATP alumna McKenna Jensen as Helena, and local artist Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin as Rita. Other members from the original University of Utah production will also be traveling to the festival including scenic designer Megan Branson, lighting designer Michele Collins, costume designer Kerstin Davis, sound designer Shea Madson, stage manager Tahra Veasley, properties designer Lesli Spencer, dramaturg Catherine Heiner, and director Stephanie Weeks.
Congratulations to everyone involved with the University of Utah’s production of Eclipsed.
The Department of Theatre offers Theatre Major and Non-Major students the opportunity to explore many aspects of the theatre, from acting to directing, history to playwriting. In the spring of 2018, our devoted faculty will teach classes that cover a variety of topics including multiculturalism, feminism, and Shakespeare among other classes aimed at diversifying the learning opportunities of our students.
Instructor Jerry Rapier, Artistic Director of Plan-B Theatre Company, will explore multiculturalism through the arts in his class, Diversity: Arts Inquiry. Students will develop a working understanding of critical theories useful to the analysis and production of theatrical texts in Theatre and Theory, (2 sections) taught by Instructors Mark Fossen and Lynn Deboeck.
Theatre of the Pacific taught by Ethnic Studies/Theatre Professor Kimberly Jew, and Contexts: Historical Plays, Then and Now are both courses that will count toward the BA Dramatic Lit requirement. Head of the BA Theatre Studies program, Professor Bob Nelson will teach students the craft of acting and directing Shakespeare through play analysis, interpretation, rehearsal, and performance in Acting and Directing Shakespeare. Playwright in residence, Professor Tim Slover, will explore with his students the collaborative processes that bring a new script from the page to production in New Play Workshop.
Theatre and Theory (THEA 2713)
Section 001 MW 11:50-1:10pm, Mark Fossen
Section 002 MW 11:50-1:10pm, Lynn Deboeck
Theatre Core Requirement. Through readings, discussion, and performance, students develop a working understanding of the critical theories most useful to the analysis and production of theatrical texts, including semiotics, (post)structuralism, feminism, and post-colonialism. The capstone experience in the class is a performance that exemplifies one or more of the theories studied during the semester.
*Required in BA Theatre Studies.
Diversity: Arts Inquiry (THEA 3000)
TH 12:25-1:45PM, Jerry Rapier, Artistic Director, Plan-B Theatre Company
Use of arts-based inquiry to represent data and explore diverse texts dealing with multiculturalism and diversity. Students create and produce performance pieces that integrate formal histories, personal narrative, case studies, and theories and critiques of multicultural education.
*Fulfills the General Education DV requirement.
Theatre of the Pacific (Thea 3790)
TH 2:00PM-3:20PM, Kimberly Jew, Ethnic Studies and Theatre
Special topics courses are designed for both Theatre Majors and Non-Majors. The focus of these courses varies each semester. Past courses have included: Performance Art, American and European Scene Study, and Dialects. Auditions for Actors Stage Combat Improv Check the Department’s web site for current information on the content and emphasis of special topics offerings. A variety of topics in theatre are covered relating texts to the culture that produced them.
*Can count as a BA Theatre Studies elective or toward the BA Dramatic Lit requirement.
Acting and Directing Shakespeare (THEA 4110)
MW 11:50AM-1:10PM, Bob Nelson, head of BA Theatre Studies
For Theatre Majors and Non-Majors. Students will study the craft of acting and directing Shakespeare through play analysis, interpretation, rehearsal, and performance. Students will craft a “director’s vision” and realize that vision through the rehearsal and production of scenes.
*Can count as a BA Theatre elective.
New Play Workshop (THEA 4420)
TH-2:00-5:00PM, Tim Slover, playwright in residence
For Theatre Majors and Non-Majors. Instructor’s approval. Meets with THEA 6220. Students explore the collaborative processes which bring a new script from the page to production.
*Can count as a BA Theatre elective.
Contexts: Historical Plays, Then and Now (THEA 4703)
This course is an exercise in advanced analysis of a range of representative plays from the pre-nineteenth century history of theatre, including works of female and non-Western playwrights. Students will conduct close readings of the assigned plays. They will study the plays structures and their particular contexts: political, socio-economic, cultural, philosophical, and aesthetic and analyze how the plays establish, reinforce, or challenge values within these contexts. They will study themes, strategies, multiple meanings, dramatic genres and movements, reactions, and innovations. The course will focus on bridging the gap between the plays original context and the perspectives and production possibilities of today. The particular plays studied will vary to some degree each time the course is taught, depending on the live performances of historical plays available during the term, specific curricular needs, and the instructor’s expertise.
*Counts toward the BA Dramatic Lit requirement.
‘Spamilton’: Musical spoof lands its punches softly, and with a smile
Gerard Alessandrini, the man behind the popular “Forbidden Broadway” series, has made his theatrical career spoofing his musical theater betters. He’s turned theatrical lampooning into an art form, sending up the excesses of bloated shows and caricaturing the mannerism of divas.
Alessandrini has had much to mock over the span of 25 “Forbidden Broadways,” from the fervid pop operas of Andrew Lloyd Webber to the empty-headed jukebox musicals that, until recently, had a commercial stranglehold on the American musical theater.
The success of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” has inaugurated a new and more promising era. The show, too much a game-changer to be crowded into a skewering revue, is the target of Alessandrini’s “Spamilton,” which opened last weekend at the Kirk DouglasTheatre.
The show (created, written and directed by Alessandrini) tweaks the familiar logo of “Hamilton” to leave no doubt about the teasing intentions. A pianist (music director James Lent) pounds away discreetly at the keys on a mostly bare stage. The ensemble is surprisingly populous, but the production still has the feeling of a small-scale cabaret.
“Spamilton” substitutes the story of Miranda, a Broadway revolutionary, for the story of Alexander Hamilton, the original American revolutionary. The rhymes of “Alexander Hamilton,” the opening number from “Hamilton,” are rejiggered to introduce Broadway’s reigning king, whose Tony-winning show has become one of the hottest tickets in the land.
How does a whipper snapper
Student of rap
And a Latin
Trapped in the middle of a
With Broadway accolades
While other writers kiss
The corporate dollar
Grow up to be a hip-hop op’ra
These words are sung by Wilkie Ferguson III, who plays Leslie Odom Jr., the “Hamilton” cast member who won a Tony for playing Aaron Burr. Hamilton’s rival is still bitterly competitive, though in “Spamilton” the two characters argue about artistic integrity, not politics.
Everyone knows that Lin-Manuel (William Cooper Howell) is destined to “build a better Broadway,” but it’s not going to be an easy road. Audiences like to stick to the familiar, and the commercial temptations and traps have grown only more extreme.
But this hot young talent means business. In “His Shot,” Lin-Manuel roars, “I am not gonna let Broadway rot” — and both the swagger and nobility of his ambition come through.
The structure of the show seems jury-rigged. The story readily gives way to gag numbers. Impersonations of Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand are de rigueur. The spirit of “Spamilton” is mostly adulatory, but Alessandrini, a shrewd observer of musicals, takes a few gentle shots at Miranda.
“Be terser in your verse, sir/You’re no Johnny Mercer,” critiques Odom in a rhyme that demonstrates Alessandrini’s own rap prowess. After “Hamilton” becomes a blockbuster, Lin-Manuel comes on and self-deprecatingly introduces himself: “I’m slightly obnoxious/Too broad, too pained/My voice is strained/and thin/I’m Lin-Manuel!”
The “Spamilton” cast infuses the show with nonstop energy. Zakiya Young summons Renée Elise Goldsberry as effectively as she conjures Audra McDonald and J-Lo. John Devereaux simulates the cool, lanky, big-haired eccentricity of Daveed Diggs.
Glenn Bassett, who plays crazy King George, camps it up in “Straight Is Back,” a “Penny Lane”-like ditty (converted, if you will, from “You’ll Be Back”) bemoaning the way “Hamilton” has made Broadway conspicuously less gay.
Some of the raillery, while funny, feels like overkill. The mash-up of shows, combinations that are like Frankenstein’s monster (“The Lion King and I”), might be more amusing in a nightclub serving drinks.
Yet Alessandrini detects more lyrical kinship between these composers than might be obvious to a civilian theatergoer. Sondheim’s deft wordplay seems like a precursor to Miranda’s rap style by the end of a section in which Renée repeatedly sings, “And another hundred syllables/Came out of his brain.”
“Spamilton” infuses original insights into a show that without these kernels might seem tiresomely broad. The musical unfolds as a sort of dream of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, who made “Hamilton” the “Camelot” of their administration. The production can get surreally silly at points, but Alessandrini treats Miranda’s masterpiece with the rambunctious love this watershed musical deserves.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Where: Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City
When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays (call for exceptions); ends Jan. 7
Students who participate in the Theatre, Fine Arts and Humanities London Learning Abroad program will spend 6 weeks in England attending classes, performances by some of the finest theatre companies in the world, and visiting art galleries, museums, and historic sites.
The Theatre, Fine Arts and Humanities in London Learning Abroad program is an exciting way for students to earn their International Requirement. This requirement is designed to help students appreciate the interdependence of the global community, understand the viewpoints of other nations, and improve communication between people across international borders. Credit may also be counted toward the completion of theatre major requirements and/or meet Fine Arts or Humanities General Education requirements. Honors credit can also be awarded with permission from the Honors College.
U of U students nominated the Theatre, Fine Arts, and Humanities in London Learning Abroad Program for a Beacons of Excellence Award. To see a video about the program and the award, click here. (Video produced by Amy Jensen for Learning Abroad.)
For more information about this program and for applications, click here.
ATP alumnus, Matthew Morgan brings WONDERLAND to SLC presented by his company The Petite Palace & the Utah Arts Alliance, November 3-12. WONDERLAND is a high energy, madcap circus celebration of humanity! Leave your cares at the door as you enter a joyous world of entertainment presented by your hosts, the ridiculous husband and wife duo Matt and Heidi Morgan. Acrobats, aerialists, speed jugglers and quite possibly YOU promise to thrill and amaze while the comedy may literally be in your lap in this beautiful and intimate 150 seat tent. Come sit shoulder to shoulder with your neighbors and enjoy circus like you’ve never experienced before!
This is different … unexpectedly moving and beautiful–Democrat & Chronicle
The Petite Palace is also presenting 2 performances of PRINCESS WENDY’S LATE NITE TEASE ROOM, November 10 and 11 at 9:30pm. Princess Wendy’s Late-Night Tease Room, a delightfully raucous evening of comedy, burlesque, and sexy circus. Hosted by the sassy, wine drinking children’s birthday party princess, Princess Wendy, and featuring a menagerie of hot and hilarious talent. The Petite Palace is a new and exciting 150 seat traveling performance venue where communities can come and sit shoulder to shoulder, share a laugh and a gasp while experiencing a night of world class entertainment. It’s the perfect venue for a family outing, a night out with friends or a date night with that special someone.
Created for the stage by Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott.
Original music and lyrics by The Tiger Lilies.
Originally conceived and produced by Michael Morris for Cultural Industry, London.
A smattering of cautionary tales pulled from the popular German children’s book Struwwelpeter, featuring live music and dead children. A silly and sinister evening for the Halloween season. Come, join us in the “withdrawing room” before Shockheaded Peter meets its end.
Shockheaded Peter stars Actor Training Program Professor Sarah Shippobotham as the MC, and Actor Training Program junior student, Emily Nash as Player.
$25 at the door / $17-23 online
8 PM @ The Art Factory
193 West 2100 South,
SLC, UT 84115 Get Tickets
“A vile and repulsive story told by reprehensible characters in a thoroughly degenerate fashion–Absolute Bliss” – David Bowie
News update for Actor Training Program (ATP) sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Tim Orr from the Colorado Shakespeare Festival will be on campus on this Thursday and Friday (October 19-20), teaching various workshops TBA and holding auditions for the summer 2018 season.
These auditions will be held in PAB 202 on Friday, October 20 from 2:00-5:30 p.m. There is a sign up sheet outside Chris DuVal’s office. Please make sure you bring a headshot and resume, and present two contrasting monologues of no more than 90 seconds or so in length (each). One monologue must be contemporary and one must be Shakespeare, with verse being a preference.
Their season will be announced October 23, however, it will consist of 4 classical plays that run in repertory, in addition to a special project that has a shorter rehearsal period. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of a monologue to be used for this audition, ensure you ask one of your professors prior to the audition.
Department of Theatre student group, Open Door Productions presents Jesus Christ Superstar with an all-female cast, November 3-4 in Studio 115.
With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar has wowed audiences for over 40 years. A timeless work, the rock opera is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally-known series of events but seen, unusually, through the eyes of Judas Iscariot.
Loosely based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Superstar follows the last week of Jesus Christ’s life. The story, told entirely through song, explores the personal relationships and struggles between Jesus, Judas, Mary Magdalene, his disciples, his followers and the Roman Empire.
The iconic 1970s rock score contains such well-known numbers as “Superstar,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Gethsemane.” This production is being performed by a top-notch all-female cast from the University of Utah Department of Theatre. Reserve tickets to see this incredibly famous story told from a completely different point of view.
The Distinguished Alumni Award was created to recognize the extraordinary achievements and contributions to the arts by alumni of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. The Legacy Assembly began ten years ago during the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the College and since then it has honored over 50 distinguished alumni.
This year, the Department of Theatre will honor Professor Odai Johnson who received his MFA from the Department of Theatre at the University of Utah and his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. His articles have appeared in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, New England Theatre Journal, Theatre Symposium and the Virginia Magazine of History as well as contributions to numerous anthologies. His books include Rehearsing the Revolution (University of Delaware 1999), The Colonial American Stage: A Documentary Calendar (AUP: 2001), Absence and Memory on the Colonial American Stage (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2005), London in a Box (Iowa 2017), and Ruins: Classical Theatre and the Archeology of Memory (University of Michigan), as well as contributor to the Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theatre, Oxford Handbook of The Georgian Theatre, the Oxford Handbook of American Drama. His courses range from the classical past, to the Baroque, the Early Modern, the Long 18th century, and historiography. Professor Johnson holds the Floyd and Delores Jones Endowed Professorship in the Arts.
The festivities will officially begin on Tuesday, Sept. 26 where Professor Johnson will teach a master class designed for interaction with students and faculty of the Department of Theatre. On the same day, College of Fine Arts student leaders from the ArtsForce program will get the opportunity to have lunch with Professor Johnson and the other recipients. The Distinguished Alumni Awards Legacy Assembly will begin Sept. 27 at 12:00 p.m. in Kingsbury Hall. Students, faculty, staff, as well as the general public, are all invited to honor and celebrate Professor Johnson, and the other Distinguished Alumni Award recipients from the College of Fine Arts at the assembly.
Senior Actor Training Program student and SAC President, Cece Otto, is presenting her one-woman show, Hyperthymesia at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 4-19, 2017.
Cece was awarded a UROP grant two semesters in a row, allowing her to fund the project under the supervision of her mentor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre, Robert Scott Smith.
The monologue piece Hyperthymesia is about a woman who is one of only a couple of dozen or so people who have been diagnosed with a condition characterized by highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). Her work explores the power of the brain, and how the ability to forget is a key element to living a happy life.
As part of the annual East to Edinburg series, Cece presented her work at the 59E59 Theaters in NYC on July 12-16. Her work was then commended by Marti Davidson Sichel, an award-winning entertainment journalist and contributor to Woman Around Town. Joseph Winer from A Young Theatre publication and company that nurtures emerging creative talent called her work, “Beautiful.”
Review from Woman Around Town:
Where Tales suffered from stiffness and forgotten lines, Cece Otto’s one-woman show Hyperthymesia offers a dynamic narrator and a fascinating story. The monologue piece is about a woman who is one of only a couple dozen or so people who have been diagnosed with a condition characterized by highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). In these cases, a hyperthymesiac can recall even minute details about any day during their lives from the beginning of their memory on. While many people might think about how useful an ability like that could be, Otto’s show focuses on the other edge of the sword: Happiness is being able to forget the things that have hurt you. Breakups, deaths of loved ones, scares and disappointments — all feel as fresh as the day they happened. It’s no wonder someone in the position of possessing such an extraordinary memory would do anything they can to try to forget.
Much of the play runs parallel to the life of a woman named Jill Price, at least in terms of the techniques Price employed to try to calm her thoughts, like regular and extensive journaling. People with HSAM have talked about their memories crowding their heads in any calm, still moment. Otto describes it like a swarm of bees, and the amount of detail that she wrote into the play could be just as intimidating. In between descriptive and emotional recitals of life stories (and the dates on which they occurred), she performs various series of actions and gestures, borrowing from dance, that provide slow, smooth feeling to counterbalance her narrator’s sometimes frenzied words.
The stage design consists of a single chair, but Otto pantomimes whatever else might be needed, leaving the audience to form an idea from imagination. It’s a plain but touching performance about one person’s struggles with her own amazing mind. The script is thoughtful, and also asks the audience to question their own experiences with remembering and forgetting. There is empathy and kindness in the telling, making Otto a very endearing narrator. It’s a piece that demands a lot of her, both physically and mentally — which also explains the unusual running time of 40 minutes — but is very satisfying and ultimately very hopeful.
Sackerson and Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory present a new collaboration:
How long can you stand on the train tracks: a game for two sisters
In the basement of the Pioneer Memorial Building on the University of Utah Campus sits the Babcock Theatre. Sackerson and Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory will premiere a new play by resident playwright Morag Shepherd. A wild painting of two sisters facing trains barreling down the tracks, this play runs July 7, 8 , 9, 13, 14, 15, 16 @ 7:30 PM.
A game. A train. An echo of death.
A game for two sisters. Two sisters: Charlie and Pepper—both in love with Grayson. Their father is a digger, a stranger. Their mother has kaleidoscopes for eyes.
A train and a question. It’s coming nearer, nearer; it’s almost here, it’s almost here — it was never here. Was it ever here?
An echo of love. Love that tastes like the ocean, and steel, and glass in your eyes.
About Morag Shepherd (playwright)
Playwright Morag Shepherd, originally from Scotland, is the resident playwright at Sackerson in Salt Lake City, where her plays BURN, THE WORST THING I’VE EVER DONE (performed in a box by one actor for an audience of one at a time), BEFORE THE BEEP (performed in weekly installments via voicemail) and POPPY’S IN THE SAND have premiered, the latter also playing Great Salt Lake Fringe and San Diego International Fringe Festivals.
About FLYING BOBCAT THEATRICAL LABORATORY (Salt Lake City, UT)
Flying Bobcat is a theatrical laboratory dedicated to exploring the possibilities of storytelling in performance through language, movement, technology, and design. Recent collaborations include; In March 2016 the World Premiere of Climbing With Tigers, adapted for the stage by Troy Deutsch, based on the book by Nathan Glad and Dallas Graham Produced by Salt Lake Acting Company in collaboration with Flying Bobcat and Red Fred Project. Climbing was a new devised work involving animation and live action and was featured in American Theatre Magazine May 2016.
About SACKERSON (Salt Lake City, UT)
Sackerson is a nonprofit, Salt Lake City-based theatre company with a focus on new works, unconventional venues, and bold audiences. Recent works include the immersive dance theatre experience SONDER, yoga-studio-based BURN, and the mobile theatre box for one patron at a time production of THE WORST THING I’VE EVER DONE.
Catherine (Cate) Heiner, Department of Theatre, 2017 Convocation Speaker Cate Heiner grew up in Salt Lake City, and feels been lucky enough to pursue what she loves here at the U. Heiner works as a dramaturg, where she gets to explore the historical background and context of theatrical texts and work with casts and creative teams in creating productions. This allows her to analyze and observe the production in new and innovative ways. She is also a playwright and loves using theatre as an opportunity to open dialogue about current events and differing points of view.
Heiner chose to pursue Theatre Studies because she saw it as a way to connect her love of theatre with her love of history and writing. She believes that in order to have successful productions, it is important to create an understanding for the cast and creative teams in regards to historical context and connection to community. Next fall Heiner will be attending Carnegie Mellon University ato pursue an MA in Literary and Cultural Studies. She hopes to continue working in dramaturgy and playwriting, and hopes to return to Salt Lake since there are so many academic and artistic opportunities here. Heiner’s ultimate goal is to teach on a college level.
“I feel very lucky to have gotten my degree from the University of Utah. I have worked very closely with excellent faculty like Dr. Tim Slover and Dr. Sydney Cheek-O’Donnell, and I have had opportunities to expand my horizons as a playwright and as a dramaturg. I have loved being able to work on a variety of productions with directors and creative teams that bring different tools and skills to their work. I have also loved working for the Chronicle and exploring how the arts relate to journalism and how the arts community can connect with their local audiences. I am constantly amazed by the work my peers are pursuing, and I look forward to collaborating with them as we move toward our artistic careers.”
The Department of Theatre is hosting playwright Robert Askins on Friday, April 14 at the Babcock Theatre. Askins is the playwright of “Hand to God” that will be produced at Salt Lake Acting Company opening on April 14, 2017.
The Department of Theatre’s Student Advisory Committee is a group of student representatives from the ATP, MTP, BA, Stage Management, Theatre Teaching and PADP. SAC has various events throughout the year to promote the program and to bring the different majors together.
2016- 2017 SAC members:
Previous events and activities:
Why Are You Thankful for the Arts Poster
SAC Volleyball BBQ
SAC Halloween Movie Night
Students can check the SAC board in PAB and follow SAC on social media for updates.
Arcadia is a very intense, intellectual show. My character, in particular, demands that I am smart and deceitfully emotional. This is something that is difficult for me to do in my personal life, so this rehearsal process has been full of a lot of self-reflection and I’ve grown a lot personally because of it. I love the wit of this show! Everyone’s ideas bounce off each other so smoothly and powerfully. When everyone in the cast is attuned to each other, the amount of energy between the lines is palpable. It’s really something amazing, and not all plays manage to create that! I imagine people think plays with people sitting around a talking sounds horribly boring. I’d like to prove then wrong. It’s a magical, exciting, dangerous 3-hour play that puts you in the edge of your seat!
Ashley Patlan (Lady Croom)
This rehearsal process has been really unique for me. We focused more on the text and understanding how the thoughts of the characters move through it, rather than just getting it up on its feet as soon as possible. This was quite refreshing, as I feel that this approach allowed me to understand what I was saying/what was being said about my character and how we were saying it before we could even get it blocked and into our bodies. Working with Sarah has been really quite wonderful and a dream come true. I’ve always admired her and her work and so it was truly lucky to have this opportunity. She doesn’t sugar-coat anything and pushes me to the maximum, but does so in a way that it stokes a fire in me to want to do better. I’ve never had a director who was so passionate to find and bring to light the absolute best in everyone’s abilities. She’s unique in the best way possible. I love everything about this show—from the time periods, to the dialect, to the language, to the lighting, attire, music, cast, crew, etc. This show is beautiful in every way possible. People should come see this show because it’s funny, heartwarming, and witty and makes you see things in ways you haven’t considered before. It has humor, language, maths, science, love, sex, fire, tortoises – It has it all!
Gavin Yehle (Gus and Augustus)
It feels amazing being in my first U of U show! I feel like I’ve been waiting these two years for this opportunity. But now that the whole thing is coming to fruition, it doesn’t really feel much different from any other show that I’ve been in before. I definitely think that the first two years of school have really prepared me for the show and I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of the tools in order to make the acting the best it can be. This show is definitely quite complex. There are all kinds of things that come back later, or are referenced in a different part of the show, and it’s all of these little connections that make the show so interesting. I also really love that I get to play the character that becomes sort of the crossover between the two different time periods; the last scene, which is when this crossover comes to fruition, is definitely my favorite part of the show, and I really love the ambiguity of the two characters coming together. It is a really beautiful show with amazing costumes, set, lighting, and sound design that really adds to the show. I’m happy that I get to watch the beauty of the very last scene every night as I come onstage.
Kali Scott (Hannah Jarvis)
Arcadia is very complex and driven by energy, character, and relationships. There is a lot to play with and I always have to be on my toes! Also, everyone involved in the production is great to work with. Sarah Shippobotham has the ability to direct people into beautiful, human moments and the play is full of them. It’s funny, sarcastic, sexy, smart, and everyone shines. I’ve never done an accent before, so that’s been challenging and fun. It has been challenging for me to find the ease and subtly, yet driving energy of this world. This play focuses a lot on enigmatic complexity of the world and humans, so finding a way to fully express multiple aspects of a moment or character, giving each its equal due without focusing too much on the moment, has been an exciting adventure.
Joshua Wood (Bernard Nightingale)
It has been a lot of fun. We spent a lot of time analyzing the text as it is a hugely argument driven play. After analyzing language we spent some time building our characters and the world. It has been a very exciting show to work on and I feel like I have learned an incredible amount in the process. This show is a lot more language based than most. It also requires a huge amount of energy. I Love how funny and clever it is while exploring many subjects including sex, literature, math, science, and philosophy. Because it is funny, entertaining, and most of all, it will give you something to think and talk about! The most challenging part has been keeping up the energy and learning to think through each argument every time I say them.
Monica Goff (Chloe Coverly)
The rehearsal process for Arcadia has been really fun and exciting, particularly since we have been working extensively on a lot of different things so we’re always engaged and always working, even when we’re not in rehearsal. Working with Sarah has been really helpful because I have her as my professor for two classes, so we’ve been in constant conversation about acting, text, and how to apply what we’re learning to Arcadia and things we learn during rehearsal to our classes. I am so excited to be in my first show at the U! It’s really thrilling to finally get to apply the skills that we’ve been spending hundreds of hours working on for the past 2 years. I love that this show is really text heavy. It makes you think while you’re watching it and it’s really a challenge to stay in the moment on stage. People should come to see Arcadia because it’s funny, intellectual, and visually stunning!
Arcadia runs November 17-20 at 7:30 p.m. and 19 and 20 at 2:00 p.m. at the Babcock Theatre.
The Department of Theatre students have the opportunity to work and audition for Pioneer Theatre shows located on the U campus. Students have been cast at all levels from regular roles to understudies. Students also have the opportunity to work backstage as dressers for their productions. Having this theatre on campus gives student the chance to meet people in the theatre community and see a behind the scenes look of professional productions.
Two student from the Department of Theatre were cast as swings in Pioneer Theatre Company’s production of The Last Ship. Swings are members of a cast who don’t go on every night, but they are prepared to go on for any of the ensemble roles they are assigned to. They have to be within 10 minutes of driving from the theatre when a show is happening in case someone in the cast cannot perform.
Jamie is from San Jose, California and has been doing theatre from a very young age. This was her first time being a swing, but not her first production at Pioneer Theatre, she was recently seen in Pioneer’s Count of Monte Cristo. “It was scary, but was a great learning experience,” Jamie said. She auditioned for The Last Ship and got called back for the part of Meg, but knew she was too young to play that part. She was offered the part of a swing and knew she would regret it if she didn’t take it.
As a swing, Jamie covered all of the female ensemble member’s tracks. “During the rehearsal process if a cast member was sick, I would have to cover roles I wasn’t originally assigned to, which was crazy,” she said. Even though she wasn’t in the show every night, she never felt like she wasn’t part of the cast, “sometimes being a part of what you love is enough.” She said that this skill set is something she is going to be able to take with her for jobs for the rest of her life.
Bailey got a little taste of what it’s like to be a swing when he was in Young Frankenstein at The Grand Theatre in 2015. “Being a swing was daunting, enlightening, and most of all hard,” Bailey said. He started doing children’s theatre when he was young and in high school he started thinking about pursuing a career in theatre.
He covered seven tracks in The Last Ship, two of which were speaking parts. It takes a highly organized person to be a swing, so he used the two scrips, one for making notes and the other to organize and color-code the blocking for the various characters he covered. The best-case scenario the swing will brush up on the part before going onstage, but that is not always the case, in case of an emergency the swing might have to go in immediately and rely on their memory and practice or the script.
During the production of The Last Ship nobody got sick or injured, so Jamie and Bailey never had to go on for a role. The director let them perform four of the ensemble scenes during the final performance and they got to take the last bow with the entire cast, an experience both Jamie and Bailey were grateful to have. Being a swing is not easy, but hard work can pay off in the end.