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BYU presents new reader's theatre adaptation of "Papa Married a Mormon"

Based on popular book by John D. Fitzgerald

The Brigham Young University Department of Theatre and Media Arts presents a new stage adaptation of the popular book "Papa Married A Mormon" in the Pardoe Theatre in the Harris Fine Arts Center beginning May 26 and running through June 12.

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Two previews Wednesday and Thursday, May 26-27, will also begin at 7:30 p.m. A matinee performance Saturday, June 5, will begin at 2 p.m.

Cost is $12 for adults and $9 with a BYU or student ID. Seats for previews and matinee performances are $5. Contact the Fine Arts Ticket Office at (801) 378-4322.

The play--adapted and directed by Rodger Sorensen, an associate professor and newly named chair of the Department of Theatre and Media Arts at BYU--is based on a novel by the same name written by John D. Fitzgerald, who is known for his book "The Great Brain."

"Papa Married A Mormon" tells the true story of Fitzgerald's parents and how they survive a 19th-century Utah community split along religious and moral lines.

Sorensen said the theme of the production is tolerance and hopes viewers will come away with a willingness to look at the world and the people around them through others' eyes.

"Whether we're Catholic, Protestant, Baptist or another religion, we're all God's children and he loves every one of us," Sorensen said. "If he loves every one of us, certainly we should love each other."

In the production, Tom, an Irish-Catholic newspaperman, marries Tena, the daughter of a Mormon bishop. Together they raise their children by teaching tolerance and brotherly love for all people, regardless of religious affiliation.

Sorensen said that people who perceive life differently can live together in harmony and peace.

"It is possible to create emotional, spiritual and intellectual accord with others," he said. "One key is seeking to understand and love all who are striving to live good lives."

The play will be presented in a reader's theater format. A minimal set that does not suggest an exact place and period costuming are the only visuals in the production.

"The staging emphasizes storytelling and suggests actions and tableaus which capture the essence of the story and invites the audience to participate in filling out the rest of the story," Sorensen said.

In order to facilitate the experience, Sorensen included narrations for all 14 actors, a departure from the book, which has only one.

In addition, each actor will play between two and eight different characters.

The cast includes Trevor Banks, Phillip Clayton, Denise Cutliff, Scot Fetters, Erin Gathro, Doug Kaufman, Debra Moses, Josh Romney, Amanda Schutz, Collin Smith, Kevin Snow, Laura Sorensen, Aaron Spjute and Diana Spjute.

The production team includes director Rodger Sorensen, music director and production stage manager Katie Renville, dramaturg Kayela Seegmiller, scenic and lighting designer Eric Fielding, costume designer Analisa Larsen, makeup and hair designer Kimberlee Six, sound designer Emily Severson, assistant lighting designer Frank Fults, assistant stage manager Rachel Gathro, sound engineer Emily Severson and fight choreographer Matthew Carlin.

For more information, call Rodger Sorensen at (801) 422-8132.

Writer: Thomas Grover

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