Sundance Film Festival to screen film written by ASU professor

December 14, 2018

The Sundance Film Festival announced its selection of films for 2019, and one of the feature films includes a screenwriting credit for Greg Bernstein, associate professor in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Bernstein and his wife, Sara Bernstein, wrote the screenplay for “Official Secrets,” which will have its world premiere at the festival in late January. Photo of Greg Bernstein Greg Bernstein. Download Full Image

Official Secrets” tells the true story of British intelligence whistleblower Katharine Gun, who leaked information to the press about an illegal NSA spy operation designed to push the U.N. Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The movie is directed by Gavin Hood, who is also listed as writer, and stars Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode and Rhys Ifans.

"I am so fortunate and thankful to have a film with such a great cast premiering at Sundance,” Bernstein said. “Most importantly, the film will enable people to learn about a remarkable woman, Katharine Gun, and the very courageous action she took in an attempt to stop the Iraq War from ever happening."

In addition to Bernstein, two other Sun Devils will have projects screening at Sundance. ASU alums and ASU Film Spark  board members Michael Helfant and Alex Witherill are producers for two selected films. Helfant is a producer for “Them That Follow,” and Witherill is an executive producer for “Give Me Liberty.”

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival received a record-breaking 14,259 submissions from 152 countries. The 112 feature-length films selected represent 33 counties. The festival hosts screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort, all in Utah, from Jan. 24 to Feb. 3, 2019.

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


image title

Movies on The Field unites film lovers at Sun Devil Stadium

December 11, 2018

Holiday favorite 'The Polar Express' will follow recent screening of 'Sorry to Bother You' in ASU 365 Community Union movie series

Next stop: “The Polar Express.” Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University will play host to another Movies on the Field event Friday, Dec. 14, with Robert Zemeckis' 2004 animated North Pole adventure that features the voice of Oscar winner Tom Hanks.

The presentation of “The Polar Express” on ASU’s new giant video boardThe 47- by 113-foot screen at Sun Devil Stadium, installed in 2017, is one of the largest college football video boards in the nation. will mark the third Movies on the Field outing for ASU 365 Community Union. It comes just weeks after the Sun Devil Stadium screening of the hit 2018 independent film “Sorry to Bother You” that included an in-person talkback with the movie’s director, Boots Riley. A joint effort between ASU 365 Community Union and ASU Film Spark in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, the “Sorry to Bother You” presentation brought hundreds to Sun Devil Stadium on Nov. 14 for a night of movie watching under the stars and on the football field.       


Video by Charrie Larkin/ASU

“Sorry to Bother You” has earned a number of nominations in the current film awards season and was recently named one of the Top 10 Independent Films of 2018 by the National Board of Review. Riley’s participation at the screening at Sun Devil Stadium and a classroom discussion earlier in the day provided students with a rare opportunity to interact with the first-time filmmaker and learn about his journey into feature film.

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU vice president for cultural affairs and executive director of ASU Gammage, called the screening of “Sorry to Bother You” at Sun Devil Stadium “an historic moment,” marking Riley's footnote as the first director of a Movies on the Field screening to attend the event — just two movies into the new seriesASU 365 Community Union and ASU Film Spark also partnered to screen the 2018 deep-sea action adventure "The Meg" in October..

Jennings-Roggensack and Adam Collis, director of ASU Film Spark, introduced Riley to an enthusiastic audience before the “Sorry to Bother You” screening and promised to continue the effort to bring more moviemakers to future events at Sun Devil Stadium.

Collis, who has helped guide students through the production of feature films such as the 2016 car-dealership comedy “Car Dogs,” also teaches the ASU film studies course Welcome to Hollywood, which allows students to interact with working professionals in the film industry live at the ASU California Center in Santa Monica and via video conference from ASU’s Tempe campus.

“ASU Film Spark exists because we like to connect ASU with incredible filmmakers and artists,” Collis said at the “Sorry to Bother You” screening. “We are delighted to be able to help realize this incredible ASU 365 Community Union concept that allows the football field to be used every day of the year for events like this.” 

ASU 365 Community Union is transforming the use of ASU’s landmark outdoor football stadium into a multipurpose venue and cultural hub for ASU and the surrounding community — 365 days a year. From breakfast meetings and yoga to concerts and films, Jennings-Roggensack says the idea is to create a place where community members of all ages can participate in various activities when Sun Devil football is not in play.

The ASU 365 Community Union screening of “The Polar Express” will be presented in partnership with iHeartMedia and radio station 99.9 KEZ on Friday, Dec. 14. The G-rated holiday favorite starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $3 and free for children under the age of 2; there are also free tickets for ASU students exclusively on the ASU mobile app. Blankets and seat cushions are allowed and encouraged.

Top photo: ASU 365 Community Union, photo by Tim Trumble.

Suzanne Wilson

Sr. Media Relations Officer , ASU Media Enterprise


Dance student wins IASC video contest

December 6, 2018

Nicole Curry, a graduate dance student in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, recently won a video contest for the International Association for the Study of the Commons.

As part of its virtual conference held in November, the IASC launched a video contest that explores "the commons,” or a broad set of resources, natural and cultural, that are shared by many people. The call for entries asked anyone to submit a video that would communicate commons research to the general public. A screenshot from a video on the commons that shows four girls at a table A screenshot from a video that dance student Nicole Curry created for a contest. Download Full Image

Curry submitted a video that uses dance and movement to help communicate the commons, and a panel of judges selected her submission as the winning video. The judges included researchers from Arizona State University, Syracuse University in New York, University of Osnabruck in Germany, Tsinghua University in China and the National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina.

The prize for the winning entry is $3,000.

Watch the video below or on the IASC website.

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Graduating dancer credits faculty for personal growth

December 1, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2018 commencement. Read about more graduates.

This month, Quinn Mihalovic graduates with a BFA in dance, and he says he owes his success to the School of Film, Dance and Theatre dance faculty, especially Karen Schupp, associate professor and assistant director of dance. Photo of Quinn Mihalovic in a dance pose. Quinn Mihalovic graduates with a BFA in dance. Photo by Carlos Arturo Velarde Download Full Image

“Karen Schupp saw something special in me from the beginning of my studies,” Mihalovic said. “I remember being upset that she wouldn't let me transfer into a different ballet class my freshman year. However, she continued to support, encourage and challenge my dance technique and artistry. I believe it was from this class that I realized that everything I do in college is for me, my body and my artistry, not for the grades.”

That lesson was a clear changing point for Mihalovic.

“My growth throughout my time here has been exponential, and it wouldn't be without her or any dance faculty that have taught me,” Mihalovic said.

As his graduation approaches, Mihalovic is using all he learned to create his own show.

“As a part of my senior project as a dance performance major, I am making my own full-length choreographed work titled “gemini” to showcase my developing artistry as I enter the ‘real world,’” he said.

This show, which is about the contrasting elements Mihalovic recognizes in his own life, takes place Friday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. at Bulldog Hall, previously Physical Education Building East, on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I knew that I was a decent dancer starting in high school. However, I went into college as a kinesiology major, but took a contemporary class my first semester at UW-Madison. This dance was way different from what I had done in high school. It involved the knowledge of the body that I was craving and interested in. From then on, I've simply been obsessed with dance and all aspects of it.  

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: I've learned a lot about balance. From having fun, staying focused on schoolwork, working and paying my own way through college, and also having a social life, I've gone through a lot of realizations about responsibility as a functional human and how I can take these into becoming an artist.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: In truth, I first came down to Arizona to visit my grandparents, as they are snowbirds, floating between Wisconsin and Arizona. I fell in love with the campus, and I knew I wanted to stretch my boundaries away from Wisconsin. I didn't know a whole lot about the dance program going in, but I have sure learned a lot coming out.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: The studio. I feel I can be my best self in the studio, whether I am in technique class, in the studio choreographing, or in the studio doing homework or chatting with friends. I've spent so much time in these rooms, and I wish I could continue to spend just as much time in these studios.  

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I plan to move to New York City next September. I hope to find work doing light design and stage management for dance performances, which will hopefully lead to becoming a dancer for contemporary dance companies in New York. I sure hope I don't freeze after spending the last 3.5 years in paradise.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would first build a black box theater, easily accessible to the entire Phoenix area. Next, I would do my best to get rid of plastic water bottles and straws on ASU campus (or the entire state or country). Reusing is the new NEW.  Let's save this planet, one step at time. 

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


MFA student named International Performing Arts for Youth’s 2019 Colleen Porter Resident Artist

November 29, 2018

Danica Rosengren, a third-year MFA student studying theatre for youth in the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre, was named the International Performing Arts for Youth’s 2019 Colleen Porter Resident Artist.

The Colleen Porter Artist award supports the development of artists in the field of performing arts for young audiences with a facilitated residency opportunity in honor of Colleen Porter. Photo of Danica Rosengren Danica Rosengren. Download Full Image

The experience is a year-long residency between IPAY Showcase 2019 and Showcase 2020. Through this residency, Rosengren will have the opportunity to be mentored by an international professional both during and after the IPAY Showcase, as well as develop a support network of international artists.


Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Leaders from across US named as 6th cohort of Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership

November 28, 2018

Thirty-seven senior leaders from more than two dozen universities, including University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of California at Merced, have been selected as fellows in the sixth cohort of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, co-hosted by Arizona State University and Georgetown University.

The eight-month program, which began Nov. 12 and takes place at Georgetown and ASU, focuses on preparing the fellows to lead organizational change at colleges and universities. Logo Download Full Image

During four intensive sessions in the District of Columbia and Tempe, Arizona, fellows at the academy will be introduced to the latest thinking and research about change leadership, teaching and learning in a digital age, external challenges facing higher education and the financial sustainability of institutions.

Participants also will apply the principles of “design thinking” to reimagine the future of higher education. A mix of seminars, hands-on workshops, design sessions and fireside chats with leading thinkers from various industries will help the fellows prepare for leading innovation at their own institutions.

Academy faculty members represent a cross section of higher-education scholars and leaders from other sectors of the economy that are facing similar challenges.

This year’s fellows are:

  • Mark J. Antonucci, chief of staff, ASU Foundation
  • Melissa Beckwith, vice president for strategy and innovation, Butler University
  • Carrie A. Berger, associate dean for research, Purdue University
  • Richard J. Bischoff, associate vice chancellor for faculty and academic success leader success, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Pamela Anthrop Cavanaugh, associate vice provost, University of Central Florida
  • Steven H. Davidson, associate dean, Questrom School of Business Boston University
  • Stephen M. Duffy, associate provost, Texas A&M International University
  • Kelly Gagan, vice president for advancement, Nazareth College
  • David Gard, assistant vice president for economic development, Indiana University
  • Erin Golembewski, senior associate dean, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Amy Goodburn, senior associate vice chancellor and dean of undergraduate education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Deborah Helitzer, dean, College of Health Solutions, ASU
  • Jerry Eugene Johnson Jr., assistant vice president, research and sponsored programs, University of Houston-Downtown
  • Adanna J. Johnson, senior associate dean of students and director of diversity, equity and student success, Georgetown University
  • Jean Kelso Sandlin, associate dean, California Lutheran University
  • Ann Kovalchick, associate vice chancellor and chief information officer, University of California at Merced
  • Gwen Landever, academic dean, University of Saint Mary
  • Paul W. Layer, vice president for academics, students and research, University of Alaska
  • Tiffany Lopez, professor and director, School of Film, Dance and Theatre, ASU
  • Maureen Jane MacDonald, dean of science, McMaster University
  • Linda McMillin, provost, Susquehanna University
  • Mary J. Meixell, associate dean, School of Business, Quinnipiac University
  • Shaily Menon, dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Joseph’s University
  • Karen Miner-Romanoff, assistant dean of academic excellence, NYU
  • Amy L. Ostrom, PetSmart chair in service leadership, W.P. Carey School of Business, ASU 
  • David D. Page, vice president for enrollment management, Dillard University  
  • Karen Pedersen, dean, Global Campus, Kansas State University
  • Jeffrey L. Ray, dean, College of Engineering and Technology, Western Carolina University
  • Jack Rice, director, school of education, Loyola University Maryland
  • Jason Schupbach, director, The Design School, ASU
  • Heather J. Shipley, vice provost of academic affairs and dean of University College and interim chief online learning officer, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Lisa L. Templeton, associate provost, Oregon State University
  • Patricia Thatcher, associate vice president of academic affairs, Misericordia University
  • Derrick L. Tillman-Kelly, director, UIA Fellows Program and Network Engagement, University Innovation Alliance
  • Melissa Canady Wargo, chief of staff, Western Carolina University
  • Lynn Perry Wooten, dean, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
  • Abbey Zink, dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sam Houston State University

For more information, go to

Written by Jeff Selingo, executive director of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership and special adviser to President Crow.

Experience ASU urban arts at free expo

November 28, 2018

A free expo this Thursday offers visitors the opportunity to explore urban arts at ASU, from urban dance music ensembles to hip-hop theater.

The ASU Urban Arts Expo features performances, lecture demonstrations and class research projects on urban arts produced in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. A hip-hop dancer performance at Urban Sol. A free expo on Thursday, Nov. 29 will explore urban arts at ASU. Photo by Tim Trumble. Download Full Image

“This gathering was created as a way for students who study urban arts in the school to exchange what they have learned from the semester with other students with similar interests,” said Marcus White, assistant professor of dance and convener of the expo.

Over the semester students across several different classes studied hip-hop and urban dance forms, including breaking, krump, locking, house, vogue and footwork styles like Chicago Footwork and Detroit Jit. Those who attend the expo will see a variety of these forms through demonstrations as well as experience cypher poems about krump and scenes from “This is Modern Art,” a play about graffiti artists that was produced by the School of Film, Dance and Theatre earlier this year.

In addition to the presentations, student organizations such as the Urban Arts Club, Sun Devils Breakdancing Club and Hip-Hop Coalition will have tables set up at the event.

White, who has said ASU is one of only a few universities in the U.S. where students are able to study urban arts through several academic courses, said the expo is a chance to explore many aspects of urban arts and encouraged anyone interested to attend.

“The dance program led the way in offering hip-hop dance because hip-hop dance, and more importantly the culture, is about celebrating community, honoring history and respecting the multiple modes of individual and collective expression,” he said. “This is a shared theme in most all urban arts and what we encourage students to take with them when they walk away from their experiences here at ASU.”

The ASU Urban Arts Expo will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 29 at Bulldog Hall, previously Physical Education Building East, on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Director of award-winning play credits success to ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre, Phoenix community

November 20, 2018

Five years ago, New York artist Kim Weild directed the world premiere of renowned playwright Charles Mee’s unconventional “Soot and Spit” at Arizona State University. The production moved to New York City with several ASU collaborators, and in September it received the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation's award for Outstanding Performance Art Production.

Weild said she suggested “Soot and Spit” when she was asked what play she wanted to direct that season for the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, saying, “On the page it doesn’t read like a regular play or even like a ‘traditional’ Chuck Mee play, but I see it and I think ASU may be one of the very few places I know of that would be capable of handling it from both the technical and design perspectives.” Photo of 'Soot and Spit' performance “Soot and Spit” premiered at ASU in 2013. Photo by Tim Trumble/Courtesy of ASU’s Herberberger Institue for Design and the Arts Download Full Image

Weild answered a few questions about the award and the people behind this production.

Question: How did you get involved with this play?

Answer: I first read the play in 2011 on Charles Mee’s website. When I read it, I could see the whole play in my mind’s eye. In 2013, Jake Pinholster (director of the school at the time, now associate dean of policy and initiatives for the Herberger Institute) called me to ask if I would be interested in returning to ASU. I had directed “Big Love” there in 2010 and had a great time. I replied with an enthusiastic yes.

Q: Do you think the time spent directing “Soot and Spit” at ASU helped lead to its success and the recent award?

A: Absolutely! One hundred percent without a doubt. The production that was recognized with the award would not exist without ASU. The award belongs to everyone who ever worked on “Soot and Spit.”

Q: Why was the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts an ideal place to premiere this play?

A: Oh, there is so much to say about this. First, it’s no secret ASU has super-talented undergrad and graduate students. I learned this firsthand when working on “Big Love.”

Premiering “Soot and Spit” at ASU also offered remarkable, unparalleled support in the form of time, space and money for the development of an incredibly ambitious new work that was experimenting with form, structure, music and the integration of actors from the outside with different abilities. Jake found the financing that made it possible for us to cast Robert DeMayo, an extraordinary deaf performer who originated the role of James Castle, to have him as an artist-in-residence. That also created the opportunity for Robert to offer the students a unique acting workshop. We also screened a film about his life, which offered students a radically different perspective.

ASU is also uniquely situated within a thriving deaf community, which gave us another kind of support.  Being at ASU meant we were able to collaborate with actors from Detour Company Theatre (a local organization that provides theater training and performance experiences for adults with cognitive and physical disabilities) and include two of their staff members in our rehearsal process.

By developing this piece in an academic setting, certain resources were easier to obtain, and when the piece moved to New York for further development, I was able to keep three of the original designers on the project. Hayley Peterson, who was herself nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Costumes, Boyd Branch, who created the media, and Dan Puccio, who created the arrangements and original compositions for the premiere. In a perfect world I would have brought them all, but financially it wasn’t viable for our small company.  I was also able to have Shay Webster, an original cast member, in one of the development productions that happened over one of her summer breaks.  Having the premiere at ASU also afforded me the time and space to figure some things out about that piece that under a traditional and more compressed new-work process might not have been possible.

Q: How does it feel seeing “Soot and Spit” get recognized?

A: Immensely gratifying, and more than anything I am proud of every single person who has contributed to “Soot and Spit” since its first inception starting with ASU and Detour.

Q: What advice do you have for theatre artists in school now?

A: Dream big. What makes you uniquely you is what no one else can do, and that is going to be what distinguishes you from others. Follow your interest.

Be organized. If you’re not inclined to be organized, figure it out, even if it is a messy organized. This will make or break careers.

Listen. Really listen, even when it may cause you discomfort. It’s OK if you don’t have all the answers. You are not alone in this. Remember to have fun. 

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


image title

ASU to fully stage the controversial, elaborate 'Mass' by Leonard Bernstein

November 14, 2018

Hundreds of performers will mark the centennial of the legendary American composer's birth

The United States was polarized, reeling from violence, its citizens protesting their leaders and questioning the very foundations of the country.

It was 1971.

That year, an audacious and wholly unique artwork debuted at the opening of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; it was so controversial that President Richard Nixon stayed away from the performance.

“Mass: A Theater Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers” — which uses the Roman Catholic Mass as a framework to explore the cultural crisis of the late 1960s and early 1970s — was created by Leonard Bernstein, one of America’s greatest composers.

The piece included hundreds of performers, overlapping singing voices, cacophonous musical passages and moments of confusion. There had been nothing like it.

And now “Mass” is getting a rare, fully staged presentation in two shows at Arizona State University this weekend to mark the centennial of Bernstein’s birth.

“Mass” will include nearly 300 people on stage at ASU Gammage, including four dance groups, the Phoenix Boys Choir, a rock band, a blues band, a marching band and renowned baritone and guest artist Jubilant Sykes in the lead role of the Celebrant. There are another 100 designers, artists and crew members bringing the show to life.

Students surround stage director David Lefkowich (center) as they rehearse stage direction and singing for "Mass" at the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre building Nov. 5. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

“Mass” has been performed many times this year, but even big-city productions have not been fully staged, according to David Lefkowich, the stage director.

“With this piece, we have an obligation to make it as spectacular as possible,” he said.

“The combined efforts of ASU are going to be on that stage and you’ll see exactly how powerful and how incredible this school is. Almost everyone comes from here except me, the Phoenix Boys Choir and Jubilant Sykes,” said Lefkowich, a New York-based stage director and choreographer.

“I’ve worked at a lot of universities and I don’t know any university that could even attempt something like this, let alone pull it off the way ASU is doing.”

The performers will include the ASU Symphony Orchestra and Choirs, ASU Music Theatre and Opera and dancers and designers from the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

“The scope and scale of ‘Mass’ can best be realized in a setting like the Herberger Institute, given the culture of collaboration and the broad talents of the faculty and students,” said Brian DeMaris, artistic director of ASU’s Music Theatre and Opera program.

“It is a work that showcases all we do and how we, as artists, intersect with current issues.”

Senior music theater student Erin Kong rehearses "Mass" by Leonard Bernstein, which will performed Nov. 17 and 18 at ASU Gammage. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Many people know Bernstein as the composer of the score to the Broadway show “West Side Story.” A decade after the movie version, Bernstein wrote “Mass” at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in honor of John F. Kennedy, the nation’s first Catholic president. Bernstein worked on it during the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. and the killing of four young protesters at Kent State University.

Lefkowich had not liked “Mass” when he first heard it years ago, but after he was asked to direct it at ASU, he realized the themes of disconnection and faithFor the text of “Mass,” Bernstein collaborated with Stephen Schwartz, who had created “Godspell,” a musical based on the Gospel of St. Matthew. are relevant today.

“I had a roommate who loved it and would put it on, and I would say, ‘Please turn this mess off. I don’t want to hear this,’" he said.

“We’re in a time period where not much has actually changed from 1971 and the premiere. We don’t have the Vietnam War, but we’re grappling with our identity and the role of religion.”

Lefkowich has given the staging a contemporary feel, in part by incorporating projections. As they arrive, the audience sees a starscape projected on stage, but each star is actually a social-media bubble.

“In the first number, ‘Kyrie Eleison,’ the social media starts to intensify, and it gets more and more crazy and the images start to go by quicker and the Celebrant comes into that,” he said.

“You see him overwhelmed by this tidal wave of social media, and then he just pauses it and he sings that beautiful ‘Simple Song.’ And the audience goes, ‘Oh, this is not a 1971 idea. This speaks to right now.’"

Not only will the audience see themes from modern life in the show, they’ll become part of it. Lefkowich designed the production to take in the audience at the end.

“I often ask my audience to sit back, relax and let the music wash over them. But in this piece, you can’t,” he said.

By the end of “Mass,” the performers are out among the audience, who will be on their feet, joining in — something he thinks they really want to do anyway.

“We want to take a picture of ourselves, tag our friends, put it on social media and say ‘Look at what I just did. I did something unique,’" he said.

A staging of this magnitude is complicated, as dozens of performers are entering and exiting the stage. In addition, even though the performers have been working on their parts since the summer, only two rehearsals will include everyone.

“As a director, I’m excited by the challenge. As a human, I have a lot of anxiety,” he said.

“Mass” will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone.

“What’s exciting about the ASU production is that you will see everything that Bernstein has asked for,” he said.

“This is not a piece that comes along very often, and there’s not anything else like it — so for anyone who thinks ‘I’ll catch the next one,’ you can’t.”

Find performance and ticket information on ASU Events.

Top photo: Choir members lift up their arms at the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre on Nov. 5 during rehearsals for "Mass," which will include more than 400 singers, dancers, musicians, designers, artists and crew members in two performances this weekend. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Lynne MacDonald, communications specialist for the School of Music, contributed to this story.

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


image title

Sparky goes to the movies

Ready for a night out at the movies? ASU offers many film screenings for free.
October 18, 2018

ASU students can expand their cultural horizons through cinema with screenings around campus

Nothing brings people together like a night out at the movies — watching the big screen with friends and strangers and popcorn.

What some students may not know is that there are many film screenings here at Arizona State University — for free.

A wide variety of special events, weekly movie series and panel discussions provide a moviegoing experience for everyone.

Whether you are looking to learn something new, gain insight into the natural world or just see the latest Hollywood movies, ASU has you covered.

The events vary in setting from intimate venues with commentary from experts to the unique experience of watching a film at Sun Devil Stadium. While there are new events popping up every day, here are a few coming up at a campus near you:

Cronkite Night at the Movies

Every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the First Amendment Forum at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, students, faculty and the public gather to watch a journalism-themed movie. Ranging from "Anchorman" hilarity to "Spotlight" gravity and from drama to documentary, every event is followed by a discussion with key experts, faculty and, sometimes, the journalists the movies are based on. The next screening is "All the President's Men," starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, on Oct. 24. Check out the full series schedule.

Film Spark Movies On the Field

This series is a unique presentation of movies in a truly ASU setting: Sun Devil Stadium. The lineup is feature films, including "The Meg" and "Sorry to Bother You." The movie series is presented by Film Spark, a groundbreaking collaboration between ASU and professionals in the film industry including actors, directors and producers. The program’s outreach is based at the ASU California Center in Santa Monica and aims to accelerate student careers in the field, innovate new approaches to the industry and deepen outreach between students, faculty and the industry. Tickets are free to students on the ASU app; others can purchase tickets for $3 each

Spanish Film Series

The School of International Letters and Cultures is presenting a Spanish film series that is free and open to the public. The next screening is the film "Sin Rodeos" at 3 p.m. on Oct. 19.

Arabic Film and Poetry Series

Join the School of International Letters and Cultures for an engaging night of art, culture and faculty-led scholarly discussion at the screening of 2017 Lebanese drama "The Insult" at 6 p.m. on Nov. 6. The film was nominated for a best foreign language film Oscar.

Individual screenings

Colleges across ASU also host individual screenings of movies, some with expert analysis, for students to enjoy and learn.

Not all screenings are free, though many are offered at a discounted rate for students. There are regular screenings of astronomy documentaries at the Marston Exploration Theatre that are presented in 3D using Planetarium technology. Screenings are Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday afternoons at 2 p.m.

The Downtown Phoenix and West campuses have periodic “Movie on the Lawn” events that involve getting cozy under the stars and watching a movie outside. Next up, students at the West campus can gather on the Fletcher Library Lawn on Oct. 19 to check out Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible — Fallout."

Keep an eye out for other regularly updated events on ASU Events.  

Isaac Windes

Reporter , Media Relations and Strategic Communications