BWW Previews: 'Fantastic Teacher, Inspiring Director' Chris Clark Honored at Hale Orem XANADU Benefit Re-Staging
In tribute to a "beloved friend, husband, father, director and lip-sync enthusiast," Hale Center Theater Orem is producing XANADU as a benefit.
Chris Clark, who excelled as an educator/director at Utah Valley University, where he also headed the university's Theatre Department, endeared himself to many colleagues when staging HCTO productions.
"Chris has given so much of his heart and soul to HCTO that any way we can honor him and help him with his goal of giving back to the ALS community we will do happily," said Anne Swenson, Executive Producer. "HCTO has done benefits from the very beginning. In the late '90s we did a number of benefits for Ouelessebougou Utah Alliance. Grandma Hale felt very strongly about helping them build wells in Africa."
"He's a fantastic teacher, an inspiring director and has changed the life of so many people in this acting community," said Ashley Gardner Carlson, who plays Kira/Clio. "So, yeah...When asked if I would roller skate around, sing a few ditties and ride a pegasus in honor of him and to hopefully help bring everyone battling ALS some happy news with a cure someday, how could I not?"
She added, "Chris is such a pillar in this theater community, and I had the privilege of working with him in 'Catch Me If You Can' at Hale Orem just as the disease was starting to take root. It was and is incredible to see his constant humor and attitude regarding life and ALS. He refuses to let himself be a victim and fights to live each day with happiness and vigor. XANADU was his favorite directorial project and so they re-mounted it three years ago to raise money for ALS organizations to help fight the disease and continue progress in research and development on finding a cure, which has yet to be found."
The previous benefit production raised over $50,000 last time, and the goal is now $100,000.