Eric Samuelsen

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Eric Samuelsen
BornEric Roy Samuelsen
(1956-04-10) April 10, 1956 (age 62)
Provo, Utah
NationalityAmerican
Alma materBrigham Young University (B.A.)
Indiana University (Ph.D.)
SpouseAnnette Mason (1980-present)
Children4
Information
GenreDrama
AwardsAML playwright award (1994, 1997, 1999)
Smith Pettit Award (2012)
WebsiteMormonIconoclast.com

Eric Roy Samuelsen (born April 10, 1956)[1] is a Mormon playwright and emeritus professor of theatre at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He is considered one of the most important Mormon playwrights,[2] and has been called a Mormon Charles Dickens or Henrik Ibsen.[3][4] He won the Association for Mormon Letters (AML) drama award in 1994,[5] 1997,[6] and 1999,[7] and was AML president from 2007 to 2009. In 2012 he received the Smith Pettit Award for lifetime work.[8]

Biography[edit]

Eric Samuelsen was born in Provo, Utah, but spent most of his early life in Bloomington, Indiana. His father Roy was an opera singer, which introduced young Samuelsen to a love for theater productions.[9] As a young man he served in Norway as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon or LDS Church).[3][10] He received a bachelor's degree in theatre from BYU in 1983 and returned to Bloomington and earned a Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1991. He taught at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio before joining the faculty at BYU in 1992.

From 1999-2011 Samuelsen ran BYU's playwrighting program. Throughout his career, at least 24 of Samuelsen's plays were produced professionally throughout the United States, including California, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, and Utah.[4]

Most of Samuelsen's early plays were produced at BYU, but around 2003 he began a relationship with Plan-B Theatre Company.[11] Since 2006, Plan-B premiered a Samuelsen play every year. He became its playwright in residence in 2012, and many of his newer plays were produced there.[4][12] This may be due to a more controversial bent in later plays; Borderlands has a character who is an openly gay Mormon youth.

Following illness and a diagnosis of polymyositis, a degenerative muscular disease, Samuelsen retired from BYU in 2012, where he had taught for 20 years.[13] The next year, Plan-B Theatre Company dedicated 2013 as the "Season of Eric", presenting four of Samuelsen's plays.[14]

Works[edit]

1970s[edit]

  • Letter From a Prophet, co-written by Charles Metten. Produced at BYU, fall 1978. Directed by Charles Metten.
  • A Girl Who Blushes. One act. Produced April, 1978, at Mormon Festival of the Arts at BYU.
  • Playing the Game. Produced in 1979 at BYU.

1980s[edit]

  • Emma. Opera libretto, music by Murray Boren. Produced at BYU 1984. Subsequently, produced by Hell's Kitchen Opera company in 1984.
  • Sex and the New York Yankees. One act. Produced by Bloomington Playwrights Project, Bloomington Indiana.

1990s[edit]

  • Accommodations. Produced at BYU, 1993. Subsequently, published in Sunstone magazine. Won AML annual award in drama, 1994. Directed by Thomas Rogers.[15]
  • Gadianton.[16] Produced at BYU, 1996. Directed by Robert Nelson. Subsequently, published in Sunstone. Won AML award in drama, 1997. Subsequently, produced at University of Louisiana at Monroe.
  • The Seating of Senator Smoot. Produced at BYU, 1996. Directed by Robert Nelson.[17] The play was also videotaped and broadcast on KBYU.
  • Without Romance. Produced at BYU, 1997. Subsequently, produced at Mormon Arts Festival.
  • The Christmas Box. Adapted from the novel by Richard Paul Evans. Produced as a musical at BYU, Pardoe Theater, 1997. Directed by Rodger Sorensen.[18]
  • Coughlaugh. A theatrical experiment in one act. Blaine Sundrud directed a production at BYU in 1998. Later produced in 2010 at Brigham Young University.
  • The Way We’re Wired. Produced at BYU, 1999. Won AML award for drama, 1999. Subsequently, produced by Nauvoo Theatrical Society in Orem, directed by Eric Samuelsen.

2000s[edit]

  • A Love Affair with Electrons. Produced at BYU 2000. Directed by Eric Samuelsen.
  • Three Women, 3 one act plays on Mormon women, VIP Arts' Little Brown Theatre, Springville, 2001.[19]
  • What Really Happened. Produced at BYU, 2001.[20]
  • Peculiarities. Several one acts, produced in several iterations. Tony Gunn directed four one acts in Springville, 2005. Plan B Theatre produced three one acts, including Kiss, which was not included in the production Tony Gunn directed. Jerry Rapier directed a film version, with all six short plays included.
  • Family. Produced at BYU in 2005. Directed by David Morgan. Won AML award, also published in Sunstone. Subsequently, produced at Dixie College in St. George, UT, in 2006.
  • Miasma. First done as ten-minute play for Plan-B Theatre Company SLAM, 2005, as The Butcher, The Beggar and the Bed-time Buddy. Subsequently, produced as full-length play at Plan-B, 2006, published in Plays From Beyond the Zion Curtain.
  • Blood Pudding, 10-minute play, done for Plan-B Theatre Company SLAM, 2006.
  • Behind the Blue Door, 10-minute play, done for Plan-B Theatre Company SLAM, 2007.
  • Burning Desire, 10-minute play, done for Plan-B Theatre Company SLAM, 2008.
  • Perfect Circle, 10-minute play, done for Plan-B Theatre Company/Theatre Arts Conservatory Student SLAM, 2009.
  • Inversion. Produced by Theatre Arts Conservatory, Salt Lake, Rose Wagner, 2008.
  • Intersection. Produced by Theatre Arts Conservatory, Salt Lake, Rose Wagner, 2009.

2010s[edit]

  • Amerigo. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, 2010. Subsequently, published in More Plays from Behind the Zion Curtain.
  • Borderlands. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, 2011. Directed by Jerry Rapier.
  • He and She Fighting: A Love Story. New Play Project in Provo, 2011. Directed by Davey Morrison-Dillard.
  • The Plan. Brinton Black Box Theater in the Covey Center for the Arts, Provo UT, 2011 [21]
  • Nothing Personal. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Rose Wagner, 2013. Directed by Jerry Rapier.
  • Radio Hour Episode 8: Fairyana. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Rose Wagner, 2013. Directed by Cheryl Ann Cluff.
  • Clearing Bombs. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Rose Wagner, 2014. Directed by Eric Samuelsen.
  • 3. Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Rose Wagner, 2014. Directed by Cheryl Ann Cluff.

Upcoming plays[edit]

  • Kruetzer's Sonata: Opens October 2015, Jerry Rapier directing.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Janine Michelle Sobeck (March 2–19, 2005). Study Guide: Family: A new play by Eric Samuelsen (PDF). Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts and Communications, Department of Theatre and Media Arts. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  2. ^ James Michael Hunter, ed. (2012). Mormons and Popular Culture: The Global Influence of an American Phenomenon. ABC-CLIO. p. 259. ISBN 031339167X. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  3. ^ a b Mahonri Stewart (May 14, 2012). "The Mormon Ibsen: A Tribute to Eric Samuelsen". Dawning of a Brighter Day. Association for Mormon Letters. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  4. ^ a b c "Class Notes..." (PDF). Stages. Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drame, + Contemporary Dance: 10–11. Fall 2013. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  5. ^ "AML Awards for 1994". Mormonletters.org. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  6. ^ "AML Awards for 1997". Mormonletters.org. Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  7. ^ "AML Awards for 1999". Mormonletters.org. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  8. ^ "Report on AML Conference 2013 and List of Awards". Dawning of a Brighter Day. Association for Mormon Letters. March 31, 2013. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  9. ^ Ellen Fagg (September 3, 2006). "A meaty look at modern life". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  10. ^ "Eric Samuelsen". College of Fine Arts and Communications. Brigham Young University. January 14, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  11. ^ Mahonri Stewart (February 2011). "Eric Samuelsen". Mormon Artist. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  12. ^ "Eric Samuelsen". Zion Theatricals. May 31, 2013. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  13. ^ Dale Thompson (February 2014). "Eric Samuelsen in Three Acts". 15 bytes: Utah's Art Magazine. Artists of Utah. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  14. ^ Barbara Bannon (August 18, 2013). "'Ghosts' kicks off Plan-B's season dedicated to Utah playwright". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  15. ^ Samuelson, Eric. "Mormon Literature Database - Accommodations". Mormonlit.lib.byu.edu. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  16. ^ "Display Review". Mormonletters.org. 2001-09-14. Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  17. ^ Christi C. Babbitt (June 5, 1996). "'Seating of Senator Smoot' A Smooth Bit of Utah History". Deseret News. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  18. ^ "Lots of Christmas productions to choose from this week". Deseret News. November 16, 1997. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  19. ^ "'Three Women' plays touch on sensitive subjects". Deseret News. February 20, 2001. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  20. ^ Andrew Hall (December 9, 2011) [January 2002]. "2001 Mormon Literature Year in Review". Dawning of a Brighter Day. Association for Mormon Letters. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  21. ^ Keri Stevens (March 31, 2011). "Perfect Date: 'The Plan' for a date". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2015-04-22.

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