MammaMikki, Amanda, and Jamie on the set of Mamma 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.   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.mamma1Mikki, John, Jamie, and Amanda being celebrated by PTC after graduation, 2018.

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 pioneertheatre.org for more information.

 

 

SkySKY 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.

 

     

JesseJESSE 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

   

JamieJAMIE 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      

 

 

MandyMANDY 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    

 

JohnJOHN 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: The Beautiful Game (John Kelly), Steel Pier (Johnny Adele), Cats(Skimbleshanks). Endless thanks to Karen, the MTP faculty, J Beall and his amazing, supportive family. @johnnpeterson       

 

 

MikkiMIKKI 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!       

 

 

MeganMEGAN 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.   

 

 

AmandaAMANDA 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!

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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 Value by 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.

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Please join us for the Public Presentations of our Theatre Chair Candidates All presentations will happen in PAB/Studio 115 at 9:00 a.m. the following dates:

Candidate Sydney Cheek-O'Donnell March 29

Candidate Joe Price April 3

Candidate Kate Moncrief April 10

Candidate Harris Smith April 17

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Department of Theatre Alumnus Justin Tstasa (ATP '14) won the 2017 Non-Equity Jeff Joseph Award for Supporting Actor in a Play for his role as an autistic 18-year-old named Josh, in the production of Falling at Interrobang Theatre Project. Justin had the opportunity to meet a young man with severe autism, meet the playwright of Falling, and participate in multiple talk-backs with parents, relatives, and acquaintances of those with autism who related to the characters and the play.

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Eclipsed directed 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.

Congratulations!

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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.

By Adam Griffiths, CFA

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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 Were by Finegan Kruckemeyer, directed by Tracy Callahan, Weber State University (Utah); The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogo, adapted by Theatre Movement Bazaar and directed by Tina Kronis, Los Angeles City College (California); Man of La Mancha by Mitch Leigh, Joe Darion and Dale Wasserman, directed by bree valle, Cuesta College (California); Story Theatre by Paul Sills, directed by Kevin Dressler, Mesa Community College (Arizona); and Intimate Apparel by 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.

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Musical Theatre Program alumnus William Cooper Howell plays Lin-Manuel Miranda's character in "Hamilton" parody called, "Spamilton." Read the entire the LA TIMES ARTICLE by Charles McNulty below.


'Spamilton': Musical spoof lands its punches softly, and with a smile

If you can't beat 'em, parody 'em.

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 Douglas Theatre.

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

Manhattan flat

With Broadway accolades

While other writers kiss

The corporate dollar

Grow up to be a hip-hop op’ra

Scholar?

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.

Alessandrini is on steadier ground when bringing in Stephen Sondheim. “Spamilton” pokes fun at Miranda’s hero worship. (Is there a note of Eve Harrington in Lin-Manuel’s earnest praise?) “Sweeney Todd” is invoked in a running gag in which a beggar woman cacophonously pleads not for alms but for “Hamilton” tickets.

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.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

‘Spamilton’

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
Price: $55-$99 (subject to change)
Info: (213) 628-2772 or www.centertheatregroup.org
Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes (no intermission)

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ATP alumna Ashley Bryant joins the Broadway production of Mischief Theatre's The Play That Goes Wrong as Annie. The Tony Award-winning production is the longest-running play on Broadway—beginning September 19.

Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, The Play that Goes Wrong is a classic murder mystery chock-full of mishaps and more madcap mania than a Monty Python marathon! Welcome to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), it’s bedlam beyond Broadway’s wildest nightmare and “A riotous explosion of comedy!” (The Daily Beast).

Bryant graduated from the University of Utah's Actor Training program in 2005 and went on to receive her MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Bryant's New York credits include the Broadway production of A Free Man of Color along with productions of Learning to Swim (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Cornbury: The Queen's Governor (Theatre Askew); Obama Drama (Creative Destruction) In the Cypher (Cypher Productions).  Regionally, she has performed Proof (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley), Mouth Wide Open (American Repertory Theater); Emotional Creature (Signature Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre); Ruined (Florida Studio Theatre); Sheila's Day (Hartford Stage, Crossroads Theatre, The Market Theatre in South Africa); and King John (Shakespeare and Company). TV/Film Credits: Youth, Blue Bloods, Gossip Girl, The Knick, Elementary, Nurse Jackie, Show Me a Hero.

Original article from playbill.com below:

A new company joins the Broadway production of Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong—currently the longest-running play on Broadway—beginning September 19. The original Olivier Award-winning West End cast played their final performances at the Lyceum Theatre September 17.

The new company comprises of Ashley Bryant (Emotional Creature) as Annie, Clifton Duncan (City Center Encores! Assassins) as Robert, Mark Evans (Paper Mill Playhouse’s Mary Poppins) as Chris, Alex Mandell (Hand to God) as Max, Harrison Unger (Broadway debut) as Dennis, and Akron Watson (The Color Purple) as Trevor. Current Broadway cast members Jonathan Fielding and Amelia McClain assume the roles of Jonathan and Sandra, respectively. The cast also features Preston Truman Boyd (Sunset Boulevard), Ned Noyes (You Can’t Take It With You), Ashley Reyes (Broadway debut), and Katie Sexton (Broadway debut).

The Play That Goes Wrong began performances March 9 and officially opened on Broadway April 2; the production went on to win a 2017 Tony Award for Best Sceneic Design of a Play. Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, The Play That Goes Wrong introduces The Cornley University Drama Society, who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, “but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong…does, as the accident prone thespians battle on against all odds to get to their final curtain call.”

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Jaron Barney is coming back to Salt Lake City for the Broadway traveling tour of The Book of Mormon, August 1-20, 2017 at the Eccles Theater. Jaron was a student in the Musical Theatre Program until 2014. During his time at the U, he performed in several productions including Spring Awakening, Hair, She Loves Me (Babcock Theatre); Something’s Afoot, Elf: The Musical, and A Christmas Carol (Pioneer Theatre). After his time at the U, he moved to New York City to pursue his passion for performing, and with much tenacity and talent he is now part of The Book of Mormon national tour. Congrats Jaron, we can’t wait to see you in SLC.

The Book of Mormon returns to Salt Lake City by popular demand with three weeks of performances August 1 – 20, 2017 at the brand-new Eccles Theater. ArtTix.org is the official ticketing source for the Eccles Theater and the Broadway at the Eccles series.

The New York Times calls it “the best musical of the century.” The Washington Post says, “It is the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals.” And Entertainment Weekly says, “Grade A: the funniest musical of all time.” Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show calls it “Genius. Brilliant. Phenomenal.” It’s The Book of Mormon, the nine-time Tony Award®-winning Best Musical.

This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. Now with standing room only productions in London, on Broadway, and across North America, The Book of Mormon has truly become an international sensation. Contains explicit language.

Captioned performance for this show is Saturday, August 12th at 2:00PM. Patrons who are interested in the captioned performance should select seats located Orchestra Right on the Main floor.

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