“i love you because” Production Team

Johnny Hebda (Producer) Johnny Hebda Johnny has performed as an actor on stage and in film in more than seventy productions since a young child. He attended the Florida School of the Arts Acting Conservatory where he received an AA and AS in Musical Theatre and Acting. He also received a BFA from Brigham Young University in Music Dance Theatre and is currently completing an Independent Study Master’s Degree in Directing from Roosevelt University. Johnny is a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and has acted in a number of films, commercials, and a pilot TV Series. Additionally he has performed on stage in seventeen different states ranging from touring shows, regional theaters (including The Lost Colony, American Family Theatre and Roxy Regional Theatre), college and local productions. He had the opportunity to work under Director Terrence Mann at The Lost Colony in Roanoke, North Carolina for a summer. Some favorite roles Johnny has played include: Mozart in Amadeus, Matt in The Fantasticks, Edward Lyons in Blood Brothers, Romeo in Terrence Mann’s musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and Stephan in Hollywood Hills. Johnny has directed many productions, including For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, The Sound of Music, The Bald Soprano, Oliver, Peter Pan, A Voice From the Dust, as well as founded The Clarksville Children’s Theatre in Tennessee. He is actively involved in the Utah Theatre Community as a producer, director, actor and reviewer. While at BYU, he received the Student Directing Award for his direction of the musical Parade by Jason Robert Brown and directed the annual fundraiser for the department: The Music Dance Theatre Showcase, entitled Stages of Love which starred Jenny Jordan-Frogley. Johnny has found his true love and passion which is producing and directing and is excited for the Utah Repertory Theater Company’s premiere season.

Ashley Ramsey (Director/Choreographer) Ashley RamseyAshley is originally from Carlsbad, Calif. She began acting when she was 8 and has continued her love affair with the theater ever since. After many acting roles, she became interested in directing during high school, and her first directing project was a night of scenes at the high school. She directed and choreographed many shows with a youth performance group in San Diego, including Footloose, West Side Story and Bye Bye, Birdie. Since beginning her education at Utah Valley University, her passion for directing has increased with projects from Fat Pig and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She is so excited for her directing premier with Utah Rep and can’t wait to continue working with this fabulous company. She would like to thank her amazingly talented cast and crew. She adores them all. She would also like to thank her friends and family, especially her sweet husband Chad and daughter Haylee. Thanks for letting me play.

Justin Bills (Music Director) Justin Bills Justin is the director of choirs at Salem Hills High School in Salem, Utah.  He has recently completed his Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Brigham Young University.  Prior to teaching at Salem Hills, Justin earned his undergraduate degree in Choral Music Education from BYU, where he sang with the University Singers for two years.  Justin was honored to have received the invitation to conduct a 370-voice Melchizedek Priesthood Choir from the Pleasant Grove area for the Saturday evening Priesthood Session of the 2011 October LDS General Conference.  Justin has been invited once again to conduct a choir for the Priesthood Session for the 2013 April LDS General Conference.  Justin has been active musical directing and directing for the past five years.  Favorite productions include Into the Woods, The Drowsy Chaperone, High Hopes and Riverboats with the Nauvoo Young Performing Missionaries, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Les Miserables, and Little Women.  Justin is also an actor and has performed in theaters throughout Utah and California.  He and his wife, Cecily, were Young Artists with the Ohio Light Opera during their 25th annual season the summer of 2010.  Some of Justin’s theater credits include Percy Blackney in The Scarlet Pimpernel and the title role in Maury Yeston’s Phantom during the 2009 season at the Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley.  Justin, his wife, and their son, Clark, live in Spanish Fork.

Emily Griffith (Stage Manager) Emily GriffithEmily is a student at Utah Valley University in the Theatrical Arts Department.  She has been stage managing for five years and has most recently been the production stage manager of The Crucible at Utah Valley University.  Emily’s other notable experience includes assistant stage managing for Stadium of Fire.  She has also performed in a few of UVU’s main stage productions.  Emily is very grateful for the opportunity to work with Utah Repertory Theater Company and would like to thank her family for their love and support while she follows her dreams.

Allen Stout (Costume Designer) Allen StoutAllen is very excited to be working on his first production for Utah Rep. His other credits include costume design for The Mikado, Elephant’s Graveyard, Honk Jr. and many others. His work can be viewed online at astoutdesigns.net.

Amber Cummings (Dramaturg) Amber Cummings Amber is a native to Los Angeles.  She transferred to Utah Valley University in 2010.  She has most recently been seen in Utah Valley University’s production of Pedro’s Magic Shoes (as Don Juan), Dinner With Friends (as Beth) and Eurydice (as the Little Stone).  Her next projects include The Vagina Monologues and 8.  This is her second show as a dramaturg, and she is beyond thrilled to be working with this theater company.  Finally she would love to thank her husband, Jordan, and her two beautiful girls, Shawna and Amya, for all their love and support.

Casey Price (Set Designer)  Casey PriceCasey is from Orem.  He is studying Theatrical Design at Utah Valley University.  Some of his other scenic designs include Tea with Mint or Lemon (UVU), Eurydice (UVU), for which he won the regional award for scenic design excellence at the Kennedy center american college theater festival, The Wizard of Oz (SCERA) and Imaginary Invalid (UVU).  Lighting designs include Androcles and the Lion (UVU), Wiley and the Hairy Man (UVU), Voices from the Shore (UVU Platform), Dumb Waiter (UVU Platform) and Martyrs Crossing (Echo Theatre).  Casey also enjoys directing and hopes to explore this option further in the future.  He would like to thank Utah Repertory Theater Company for giving him this opportunity.

Chelsea Benjamin (Assistant Stage Manager)  Chelsea BenjaminChelsea is currently a Theatre Performance major at Utah Valley University.  At 5 years old, she had her debut performance in The Wise Men of Chelm, and since then Chelsea has spent much of her time involved in the world of theater and music.  Her most recent role was as the Contortionist in Utah Rep’s production of Side Show, and was behind the scenes in UVU’s Androcles and the Lion.

Elizabeth Stout (Dramaturg) Elizabeth Stout Elizabeth is a sophomore majoring in Theater at Utah Valley University.  This is her second time working as a dramaturg, a passion she discovered while working on UVU’s production of The Crucible.  She hopes to turn this passion into a successful career, because life is boring when people understand what you do.  She wants to thank Utah Rep for giving her this opportunity and her supportive husband and son.

Katie Sue Porter (Assistant Director/Hair and Makeup) Formerly known as Katie Sue Sullivan, Katie Sue Porter would like to first and foremost thank her new, handsome, incredible husband Jacob. Without his support, she wouldn’t be capable of taking on so many things that fulfill and gratify her artistic soul. Some of Katie’s credits include stage managing for Sundance, Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, and the Echo Theatre; acting in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying as Smitty, Charlotte’s Web as The Goose, and Mammy in Wiley and the Hairy Man; and some design and direction credits at her alma mater UVU. This is her first stab at direction outside of the university setting and it has been incredible! She sends love to Ramsey specifically, who is a jewel in every way.

Lawson Bendall (Lighting Designer)  Lawson BendallThis is Lawson’s first design for Utah Repertory Theater Company.  He is pleased to join the company.  He is currently a sophomore at Utah Valley University where he is studying Theatrical Arts with an emphasis in Design. His recent works include lighting design for Utah Valley University’s production of The Imaginary Invalid as well as Spanish Fork High School’s production of The Phantom of the Opera.  Some of his achievements range from a Lifetime Service Award from Spanish Fork High School, and was most recently awarded the KCACTF Award for Theatrical Design Excellence in Scenery.

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