Y students join Universal Studios in Japan


    By Benjamin Griffiths

    Universal Studios is going to Japan, and BYU is going with it.

    After seeing a flyer in the Harris Fine Arts Center calling for auditions for the new theme park, Laurel Sandberg, 18, a music, dance and theater major from Plymouth, Minn. decided to try her luck.

    Auditions were Sept. 16 on campus to fill parts needed when Universal Studios opens up in Osaka, Japan.

    “I was just going for fun … I didn’t think anything would come of it,” Sandberg said as she recounted the story of her audition.

    “They had me bring in music, and we sang for them. There were two more dance auditions, followed by personal interviews.”

    Sandberg was separated from the group auditions first.

    “I was about to protest that I had already had an interview when the lady offered me a part in the ’50s quartet,” Sandberg said. “I didn’t believe her until she had repeated the offer a couple of times. I was so overwhelmed, I just sat there and cried.”

    A music enthusiast since childhood, Sandberg has extensive experience onstage.

    “I took classes from the Children’s Theater Co. in Minneapolis for five years and was blessed enough to get large roles in a number of different musicals.”

    Some of the musicals she has performed in include “Joseph,” “A Midsummer Nights Dream,” “The Secret Garden” and “The Fantasies,” she said.

    Although Sandberg’s schedule hasn’t been decided yet, Universal Studios officials have given her a departure window stretching from Dec. 26 through Jan. 10 to start practicing for the park’s opening.

    “The contract will keep me in Japan for 11 1/2 months,” Sandberg said.

    Universal Studios has not released an official opening date for its Osaka park, but it projects the opening to be in spring 2001.

    Two other freshman MDT students, Tiffany Winkel, 20, from Apple Valley, Calif., and Mackenzie Greimann, 20, from Blue Earth, Minn., are also under consideration for major parts.

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