BFA acting and music dance theater students debut New York Showcase

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The BFA acting and music dance theater students will be debuting their New York Showcase at the Nelke Theater, Thursday, April 9, and Friday, April 10. The performance is a variety of dance, songs and scenes to showcase the students’ talents.

These performances are the culmination of years of practice and honing of skills for these graduating students. The seniors will travel to New York next month to perform several of these pieces to agents in New York. The students note the BFA faculty have been central to their successes to this point and the things they have been taught at BYU have been great preparation for their futures.

Cameron Smith, one of the graduating seniors, said he hopes to obtain an agent while in New York next month. Though he has a busy summer ahead performing at the Tuacahn Ampitheater in St. George, and then his own wedding in the fall, he hopes he and his wife will have the opportunity to move to New York to pursue his acting later this year.

“BYU has been good preparation for the professional acting world. In any university school setting there will be marked difference between the university and the professional world in how they operate and their perspective on talent. That is the biggest reason I came to BYU; I could get good training elsewhere, but from BYU I was more likely to get a job,” he said.

At the showcase, Smith will be singing “How Glory Goes,” a favorite of his by Floyd Collins and Adam Guettel. He will also be performing a scene from Gilmore Girls.

“BYU also has a really driven faculty and has built an impressive network of professionals from their alumni and visiting guests,” he said. “Stephanie Breinholt and Reese Purser have impacted me the very most. They were sensitive to my personal life as their student during a very difficult time; they helped me continue with school and have happiness while I did.”

Shae Huntsaker, another graduating senior, echoes Smith with her positive sentiments about the BFA faculty. “It is very difficult to select just one professor, as they have all impacted my life in different ways.”

Huntsaker will be performing “Here I Am,” from the musical “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

Shae Huntsaker, front right, and Cameron Smith, back, in “The Count of Monte Cristo” from January 2015. Both Huntsaker and Smith will perform at the New York Showcase. (Mark Philbrick)

“When selecting a piece, you are looking for something that showcases your personality and makes you memorable,” she said.

Huntsaker recently starred in BYU’s production of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” playing the role of Mercedes. She will also be performing at the Tuacahn Ampitheater this summer, playing Snow White and Mary Poppins in “When You Wish.”

“I am extremely grateful for the professors, teachers and mentors I have had over the past five years at BYU. The teachers truly care for their students and their success,” she said.

Huntsaker said she is looking forward to spending time in New York next month to perform for different agents and casting directors.

Jenna Hawking, a BFA graduating senior, will perform two monologues in the showcase, one from the sitcom “Friends” and another from a play called “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.”

“The training program at BYU really brought me full circle,” Hawkins said. “It pushed me to do all of these difficult roles that I never would be cast as, and then suddenly, when I returned to the things I was good at, I was remarkably better. Working on my weaknesses really improved my strengths.”

Hawkins plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue television and film acting after the New York Showcase.

If you go:  April 9–10 at 7 p.m. at the Nelke Theater, tickets available at BYUtickets.com for $6.00.