Wed. Oct 23rd, 2019

Caine College of the Arts at USU Eastern presents a holiday production “A Christmas Story”

It’s nice to be home, states Kris Bushman, an alumna who is directing the holiday production of “A Christmas Story” for the Caine College of the Arts at USU Eastern.
A graduate of Payson High School, Bushman, attended the College of Eastern Utah from 1991-93 on a full-tuition acting scholarship. Instructor’s Lee Johnson, Grady McEvoy and Don Adams ran the theatre department when she was a student. While here, her first stage credits included “Damn Yankees” and “I Remember Momma” in the Geary Theatre.

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It’s nice to be home, states Kris Bushman, an alumna who is directing the holiday production of “A Christmas Story” for the Caine College of the Arts at USU Eastern.
A graduate of Payson High School, Bushman, attended the College of Eastern Utah from 1991-93 on a full-tuition acting scholarship. Instructor’s Lee Johnson, Grady McEvoy and Don Adams ran the theatre department when she was a student. While here, her first stage credits included “Damn Yankees” and “I Remember Momma” in the Geary Theatre.
“Because students in the acting program at CEU learn how to do everything, I learned how to manage the technical side of all shows and thus began my love for the other side of theatre: stage management and directing. Now you cannot pay me enough to act, I prefer the management part of the acting world,” she said. “I actually feel uncomfortable on stage, my heart is in the technical side.”
“I stage managed eight or nine shows here [CEU] and after graduation, continued acting at USU in Logan where I received an acting scholarship. Upon the recommendation of Grady to the USU theatre faculty, I immediately started stage managing all of USU’s productions…about 40 or 50 shows. For more experience, I managed dance, opera, ballet, ballroom dance and children’s theatre productions,” she continued.
After graduating in theatre, Bushman was accepted into USU’s master’s of fine arts program and got her first paid technical directing job at the Ellen Eccles’ Theatre in Logan. She now works full-time at USU, including working summers as production/manager at the Old Lyric Theatre. She also teaches stage management on the Logan campus.
“I don’t have traditional hobbies, my hobby is theatre which makes my parents proud because I get paid to do what I love, have benefits and a retirement. What else can they ask for from me?”
On commenting about majoring in theatre as being useless, Bushman’s passion erupted. “Majoring in theatre helps in any career path students choose. It gives people confidence on stage, plus it gives basic skills in household maintenance like plumbing, electrical and remodeling. It also helps in public speaking and confidence building. It teaches children to stand up for themselves.”
She said that she cannot train students fast enough to be stage managers. If I quit my job tomorrow, I would have 10 job offers.
Bushman was stage manager of USU Eastern’s production of “I’ll Be Home Before Midnight.” When I got to campus, “I brought my photo album from when I was a student here to show everyone what the campus used to look like. Back then, we told everyone we were from the ‘Grady Bunch’ in honor of Grady.”
In discussing her producing “A Christmas Story,” she gave the USU Eastern theatre staff a list of 20 shows that she thought would work in the Geary Theatre. The department chose the Christmas Story because it is the most fun, traditional holiday production. It is widely performed along the Wasatch Front and has a restricted script (cannot be produced within 90 miles of another production). She was elated when she heard USU Eastern was producing it because “I wanted to do this show for a long time. I hope to bring the holiday spirit to the campus and community.”
The play takes place in the 1940s, and centers around nine-year-old Ralphie who is trying to convince his parents, teachers and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun with a compass in the stock really is the perfect gift.

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