SCERA Presents 2nd Annual Jerry Elison Scholarship Concert November 8
When veteran director Jerry Elison was asked to lend his name and talents for a scholarship concert at the SCERA Center for the Arts, his response was, "If it helps the arts, then let's do it."
Elison, who has been directing musicals and plays since graduating from BYU 60 years ago, knows the value of the arts. As a child, he used to write plays, recruit his friends to play parts and then take them on the road to a local school. During the Great Depression, money was scarce, but if he could find ten pennies inside the cushions of the couch and car, Elison could attend the high school plays. If he couldn't come up with the coins, he was devastated.
Over the decades, his talents have been seen many places, including Utah and Idaho school districts, Sundance Summer Theatre, SCERA, and Hale Center Theatre Orem.
Many of Elison's friends and former cast members will join him Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:00 p.m. for the 2nd annual Jerry Elison Scholarship Concert. They will perform showtunes from some of the director's favorite musicals, and the proceeds will provide drama scholarships for students, educators and arts organizations.
Tickets are $10 for ages three and older and are available in advance from 10am-6pm weekdays and Saturdays from 12Noon-6pm at the main office of the SCERA Center, 745 South State, Orem, by calling (801) 225-ARTS, or online at www.scera.org. All tickets are reserved.
Proceeds from the concert will be used in a variety of ways. With Elison's crucial input, scholarships could be given to junior or senior high school Drama Departments, a student who wants to take an acting class and can't afford the tuition, college students majoring in drama, or local theatres and productions.
"We want to be inclusive in our scholarships," says Adam J. Robertson, SCERA's President and CEO. "We are confident we will be able to help at least three groups or individuals each year."
"I am so honored but also a little embarrassed," Elison says. "Adam always treats me so well."
But Jerry's accomplishments are nothing to be embarrassed about. With more than 60 years of musical theater to his credit, it adds up to a few hundred plays and thousands of individuals who have worked with the beloved thespian.
Performers will sing selections from some of Elison's favorite musicals, most of them beloved classics. There will also be touching and hilarious anecdotes from "Mr. E.'s" life.
Now touring as The Beast with the national company of Beauty & The Beast, but a lead actor for Elison in his younger days, Darick Pead will perform "Stars" from Les Miserables. Cody Hale, one of the founders and managers of HCTO, will show his support for Jerry's cause by performing "I Wonder What The King Is Doing Tonight" from Camelot. A vocalist and drama teacher at Maesar Academy, Cam Cahoon will offer the favorite "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables. BYU voice teacher Diane Reich, a former student of Jerry, will sing "Lord and Master" from The King and I. Chase Ramsey, accomplished director, actor and teacher at Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts, will present "Seven Wonders" from Catch Me If You Can, a new musical based on the hit movie of the same name. Ramsey is currently starring in Brigadoon at the Hale Center Theatre West Valley, and just finished directing Shrek The Musical at SCERA.
David Smith, a favorite actor and music director at SCERA and HCTO, will sing two songs - "She Loves Me" from the musical of the same name and "Ask Me For the Stars," a beautiful ballad from the world premiere of the musical Pride and Prejudice. He met his wife, Brittni, when they performed opposite each other in Oklahoma, which Jerry directed in 2004. Well-known director, singer and actor Rosanna Ungerman will sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," the beautiful ballad from The Wizard of Oz. Ungerman played the role of Dorothy for Jerry in junior high school.
Also planned is Michael Dubois singing "The Street Where You Live" from My Fair Lady, and he will also reprise his recent SCERA lead role as Percy in the Elison-directed The Scarlet Pimpernel, joining Duncan Johnson, Justin Stockett, Sawyer Griffin, Eric Glissmeyer and Brodee Ripple for the hilarious "Creation of Man." Two of the latter will also perform their own solo numbers: Eric Glissmeyer, best known as a radio host on KBYU Classical 89, will sing "C'est Moi" from Camelot and Justin Stockett will present "Beautiful Girl" from Singin' in the Rain.