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Eric Samuelsen

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Eric Roy Samuelsen (born April 10, 1956)[1] is a Mormon playwright and emeritus professor of theatre at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He is considered one of the most important Mormon playwrights,[2] and has been called a Mormon Charles Dickens or Henrik Ibsen.[3][4] He won the Association for Mormon Letters (AML) drama award in 1994,[5] 1997,[6] and 1999,[7] and was AML president from 2007 to 2009. In 2012 he received the Smith Pettit Award for lifetime work.[8]

Eric Samuelsen
Born Eric Roy Samuelsen
(1956-04-10) April 10, 1956 (age 62)
Provo, Utah
Nationality American
Alma mater Brigham Young University (B.A.)
Indiana University (Ph.D.)
Spouse Annette Mason (1980-present)
Children 4
Information
Genre Drama
Awards AML playwright award (1994, 1997, 1999)
Smith Pettit Award (2012)
Website MormonIconoclast.com

Contents

BiographyEdit

Eric Samuelsen was born in Provo, Utah, but spent most of his early life in Bloomington, Indiana. His father Roy was an opera singer, which introduced young Samuelsen to a love for theater productions.[9] As a young man he served in Norway as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon or LDS Church).[3][10] He received a bachelor's degree in theatre from BYU in 1983 and returned to Bloomington and earned a Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1991. He taught at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio before joining the faculty at BYU in 1992.

From 1999-2011 Samuelsen ran BYU's playwrighting program. Throughout his career, at least 24 of Samuelsen's plays were produced professionally throughout the United States, including California, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, and Utah.[4]

Most of Samuelsen's early plays were produced at BYU, but around 2003 he began a relationship with Plan-B Theatre Company.[11] Since 2006, Plan-B premiered a Samuelsen play every year. He became its playwright in residence in 2012, and many of his newer plays were produced there.[4][12] This may be due to a more controversial bent in later plays; Borderlands has a character who is an openly gay Mormon youth.

Following illness and a diagnosis of polymyositis, a degenerative muscular disease, Samuelsen retired from BYU in 2012, where he had taught for 20 years.[13] The next year, Plan-B Theatre Company dedicated 2013 as the "Season of Eric", presenting four of Samuelsen's plays.[14]

WorksEdit

1970sEdit

  • Letter From a Prophet, co-written by Charles Metten. Produced at BYU, fall 1978. Directed by Charles Metten.
  • A Girl Who Blushes. One act. Produced April, 1978, at Mormon Festival of the Arts at BYU.
  • Playing the Game. Produced in 1979 at BYU.

1980sEdit

  • Emma. Opera libretto, music by Murray Boren. Produced at BYU 1984. Subsequently, produced by Hell's Kitchen Opera company in 1984.
  • Sex and the New York Yankees. One act. Produced by Bloomington Playwrights Project, Bloomington Indiana.

1990sEdit

  • Accommodations. Produced at BYU, 1993. Subsequently, published in Sunstone magazine. Won AML annual award in drama, 1994. Directed by Thomas Rogers.[15]
  • Gadianton.[16] Produced at BYU, 1996. Directed by Robert Nelson. Subsequently, published in Sunstone. Won AML award in drama, 1997. Subsequently, produced at University of Louisiana at Monroe.
  • The Seating of Senator Smoot. Produced at BYU, 1996. Directed by Robert Nelson.[17] The play was also videotaped and broadcast on KBYU.
  • Without Romance. Produced at BYU, 1997. Subsequently, produced at Mormon Arts Festival.
  • The Christmas Box. Adapted from the novel by Richard Paul Evans. Produced as a musical at BYU, Pardoe Theater, 1997. Directed by Rodger Sorensen.[18]
  • Coughlaugh. A theatrical experiment in one act. Blaine Sundrud directed a production at BYU in 1998. Later produced in 2010 at Brigham Young University.
  • The Way We’re Wired. Produced at BYU, 1999. Won AML award for drama, 1999. Subsequently, produced by Nauvoo Theatrical Society in Orem, directed by Eric Samuelsen.

2000sEdit

  • A Love Affair with Electrons. Produced at BYU 2000. Directed by Eric Samuelsen.
  • Three Women, 3 one act plays on Mormon women, VIP Arts' Little Brown Theatre, Springville, 2001.[19]
  • What Really Happened. Produced at BYU, 2001.[20]
  • Peculiarities. Several one acts, produced in several iterations. Tony Gunn directed four one acts in Springville, 2005. Plan B Theatre produced three one acts, including Kiss, which was not included in the production Tony Gunn directed. Jerry Rapier directed a film version, with all six short plays included.
  • Family. Produced at BYU in 2005. Directed by David Morgan. Won AML award, also published in Sunstone. Subsequently, produced at Dixie College in St. George, UT, in 2006.
  • Miasma. First done as ten-minute play for Plan-B Theatre Company SLAM, 2005, as The Butcher, The Beggar and the Bed-time Buddy. Subsequently, produced as full-length play at Plan-B, 2006, published in Plays From Beyond the Zion Curtain.
  • Blood Pudding, 10-minute play, done for Plan-B Theatre Company SLAM, 2006.
  • Behind the Blue Door, 10-minute play, done for Plan-B Theatre Company SLAM, 2007.
  • Burning Desire, 10-minute play, done for Plan-B Theatre Company SLAM, 2008.
  • Perfect Circle, 10-minute play, done for Plan-B Theatre Company/Theatre Arts Conservatory Student SLAM, 2009.
  • Inversion. Produced by Theatre Arts Conservatory, Salt Lake, Rose Wagner, 2008.
  • Intersection. Produced by Theatre Arts Conservatory, Salt Lake, Rose Wagner, 2009.

2010sEdit

  • Amerigo. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, 2010. Subsequently, published in More Plays from Behind the Zion Curtain.
  • Borderlands. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, 2011. Directed by Jerry Rapier.
  • He and She Fighting: A Love Story. New Play Project in Provo, 2011. Directed by Davey Morrison-Dillard.
  • The Plan. Brinton Black Box Theater in the Covey Center for the Arts, Provo UT, 2011 [21]
  • Nothing Personal. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Rose Wagner, 2013. Directed by Jerry Rapier.
  • Radio Hour Episode 8: Fairyana. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Rose Wagner, 2013. Directed by Cheryl Ann Cluff.
  • Clearing Bombs. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Rose Wagner, 2014. Directed by Eric Samuelsen.
  • 3. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Rose Wagner, 2014. Directed by Cheryl Ann Cluff.

Upcoming playsEdit

  • Kruetzer's Sonata: Opens October 2015, Jerry Rapier directing.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Janine Michelle Sobeck (March 2–19, 2005). Study Guide: Family: A new play by Eric Samuelsen (PDF). Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts and Communications, Department of Theatre and Media Arts. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  2. ^ James Michael Hunter, ed. (2012). Mormons and Popular Culture: The Global Influence of an American Phenomenon. ABC-CLIO. p. 259. ISBN 031339167X. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  3. ^ a b Mahonri Stewart (May 14, 2012). "The Mormon Ibsen: A Tribute to Eric Samuelsen". Dawning of a Brighter Day. Association for Mormon Letters. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  4. ^ a b c "Class Notes..." (PDF). Stages. Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drame, + Contemporary Dance: 10–11. Fall 2013. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  5. ^ "AML Awards for 1994". Mormonletters.org. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  6. ^ "AML Awards for 1997". Mormonletters.org. Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  7. ^ "AML Awards for 1999". Mormonletters.org. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  8. ^ "Report on AML Conference 2013 and List of Awards". Dawning of a Brighter Day. Association for Mormon Letters. March 31, 2013. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  9. ^ Ellen Fagg (September 3, 2006). "A meaty look at modern life". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  10. ^ "Eric Samuelsen". College of Fine Arts and Communications. Brigham Young University. January 14, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  11. ^ Mahonri Stewart (February 2011). "Eric Samuelsen". Mormon Artist. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  12. ^ "Eric Samuelsen". Zion Theatricals. May 31, 2013. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  13. ^ Dale Thompson (February 2014). "Eric Samuelsen in Three Acts". 15 bytes: Utah's Art Magazine. Artists of Utah. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  14. ^ Barbara Bannon (August 18, 2013). "'Ghosts' kicks off Plan-B's season dedicated to Utah playwright". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  15. ^ Samuelson, Eric. "Mormon Literature Database - Accommodations". Mormonlit.lib.byu.edu. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  16. ^ "Display Review". Mormonletters.org. 2001-09-14. Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  17. ^ Christi C. Babbitt (June 5, 1996). "'Seating of Senator Smoot' A Smooth Bit of Utah History". Deseret News. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  18. ^ "Lots of Christmas productions to choose from this week". Deseret News. November 16, 1997. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  19. ^ "'Three Women' plays touch on sensitive subjects". Deseret News. February 20, 2001. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  20. ^ Andrew Hall (December 9, 2011) [January 2002]. "2001 Mormon Literature Year in Review". Dawning of a Brighter Day. Association for Mormon Letters. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  21. ^ Keri Stevens (March 31, 2011). "Perfect Date: 'The Plan' for a date". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 

External linksEdit