Realizing that writing, like crime, usually didn’t pay, Carl pursued another great interest and received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1975. Four years later he and his wife, Carol, settled in northern Utah Valley where he practiced Family Medicine with Obstetrics until 2001. He was privileged to deliver nearly 1900 babies. From 2001 to the present, he has worked as a locum tenens emergency physician out of state.
In the 1980’s he dabbled in playwriting, with works being performed on BYU’s major schedule and at the American Fork amphitheater. However, the time necessary to devote to his medical practice and large family (ten children) precluded much more than occasionally penciling a few lines or measures. Now semi-retired, he hopes to devote more time to this avocation.
Kymberly's directing credits include the upcoming August: Osage County (Utah Repertory Theatre), this summer's Annie Get Your Gun (Sundance Theatre), Lend Me a Tenor (Hale Orem), The Greatest Love (USF), FeFu and Her Friends, As You Like It (BYU), The Turn of the Screw (Covey Center), The Forgotten Carols, and Steps to Zion. She currently heads the Drama Academy at Pioneer Charter HS for the Performing Arts while free-lance directing, acting and teaching. She is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA. Professionally, she’s been seen in several performances at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, playing roles that include Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, Gertrude in Hamlet, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Mistress Quickly in Merry Wives, and Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other regional theater work includes shows at Pioneer Theatre Company, Writers’ Theatre, Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Jackson Hole Playhouse and Sundance Theatre. Kymberly received Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role, an After Dark Award, and has been named Creative Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Sun Times. www.kymberlymellen.com
Summerisa is thrilled to be a part of bringing Deseret to life! She is a BFA graduate from Brigham Young University in Music Dance Theatre, and while attending toured internationally with the Young Ambassadors. She recently performed as Amber in Hairspray and in Disney’s Aladdin at the Tuacahn Amphitheater. Other credits include You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Sally), Zorro: National Premier (Isabelle), Footloose (Rusty). Thanks to God, my family, and amazing father for pursuing his dreams!
Kimberly Olson Bunker from Fort Worth, Texas, is currently a Music Dance Theatre student at BYU with a minor in Communications. She has recently been seen in BYU’s The Phantom of the Opera (Madame Firmin/Madam Giry u/s) and Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along (Gussie Carnegie). She was privileged to be apart of the BYU performing group The Young Ambassadors while they toured South Africa, Swaziland, and Botswana. Other favorite roles include, Maria (West Side Story), Young Anne (Jane Austen’s Persuasion), The Baker’s Wife (Into the Woods), Bella Kurnitz (Lost in Yonkers), and Sarah Brown (Guys and Dolls). She will be playing Margaret in The Light in the Piazza this Fall at BYU.
Credits include performances as a featured soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Salt Lake Choral Artists, and BYU Singers; most recently, Rex was seen as Emile de Becque in South Pacific at the Hale Theater and Joseph in Savior of the World at the Conference Center Theater. Rex’s international award-winning male quartet Reprise has sung with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the King’s Singers and produced three albums. He performed in Europe, West Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East with the BYU Singers, including concerts at the Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall. Rex is passionate about building a thriving music culture in his home state of Utah, co-founding The Consortium Ensemble, a men’s A capella group, and founding and acting as Artistic Director of the Deseret Chamber Singers, a chamber choir based in Salt Lake City. Rex's voice can be heard on numerous commercial recording projects.
Spencer is very excited to be apart of Deseret after recently graduating from BYU's musical theatre program. While at BYU, he toured for two years with the Young Ambassadors. Previous credits include Hairspray (Nicest Kid), Disney's Aladdin, White Christmas (Dance Captain), Forever Plaid (Jinx), You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Linus), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Gideon). Much thanks to loving and supportive family and to Carl and the creative team for this wonderful train ride.
James is from Provo, Utah and a year ago he returned from Siberia where he served a 2-year LDS mission. His most recent project involved touring across Utah with The Grassroots Shakespeare Company performing as Claudio (Much Ado about nothing), and Hotspur (Henry IV part 1). James has performed all over the local community including training at both UVU and BYU. Stage credits include Nanki-Poo (The Mikado), Javert (Les Miserables), Will Parker (Oklahoma!), and Petruchio (Taming of the Shrew). James loves to sing and dance (specialized in ballroom dance), and has studied with world renown professionals in both areas. He loves to embrace the many other aspects of the performing world including sketch comedy, and voice acting i.e. Beau (Beau and the Beanstalk-Paralight Studios).
Hannah's voice was first heard singing "Gethsemane" on "The Stories of Jesus" CD when she was 8 years old. Since then she has enjoyed writing her own music, some of which has been performed as part of an anti-bullying campaign with On Broadway Academy. She loved her role as The Baker's Wife in Into The Woods with the COPA Theatre Company and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing, which won 1st place at the Utah Shakespeare Competition. Hannah currently studies Musical Dance Theatre at Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts. She is absolutely ecstatic to be playing Mary Beth in the World Premier of Deseret the Musical!
Peter Layland, from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, is a theatre major at BYU. Favourite credits include The Dentist (Little Shop of Horrors/BYU), Charlie (Merrily We Roll Along/BYU), Ross/Gomm (The Elephant Man/BYU), and Boaz/Adam (The Plan/The Covey Center).
Shandra (Shani) is excited to be a part of Deseret and perform once again with her hubby! She graduated from SUU in Musical Theatre in 2010. She recently finished work as a VISTA volunteer with the BYU A.R.T.S. Partnership helping bring more arts to our elementary schools. Some of her favorite roles include Smitty in How to Succeed..., Chiffon in Little Shop of Horrors, Beth in Little Women, Marta in Company and performing in Nauvoo as a Young Performing Missionary. When not working or performing, Shani enjoys training for triathlons and being outdoors.
Joshua has loved being immersed in the creative world since he was little. As a child he was always daydreaming he was Superman or Spiderman or Gandalf—you name it, his life was filled with magic. Then came classical piano training, performances in musicals such as Grease and South Pacific, a few years playing in rock and roll bands, and seven years singing in chamber and show choirs. More recently Joshua’s creative energies have turned to writing fantasy novels for children and writing and managing the New Era magazine. Joshua is ecstatic to be back on stage—this time with his entire family! It’s a dream come true.
Dana fell into acting first on film a decade ago and has had the pleasure to be represented by TMG almost as long. Since exploring theater, her favorite roles include Aunt March in Little Women the Musical, Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray, and Miss Skillon in See How They Run and has enjoyed working with this talented cast and crew. She enjoys karaoke, being in nature, and can play expert on all Rockband instruments. She dedicates every performance to her parents watching from above.
Alana is from Boca Raton, FL. She is a sophomore in music dance theater BFA at BYU. Her credits include Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Juliana Tesman in Hedda Gabler, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Rusty in Footloose, and Lagoon’s Broadway show Shubert Alley.
After a seventeen year hiatus, ToriAnn is excited to be back on the stage in Utah again—and performing with her entire family has exceeded her wildest dreams. In a past life, her performing highlights have included Anne in Anne of Green Gables, Sally Smith in Me and My Girl, Tansy McGinnis in The Nerd, and Zanetta in Music Man. When she’s not running her home, tending her garden, or homeschooling her children, ToriAnn is a professional storyteller who tells throughout Utah Valley.
Alison is having fun being back on stage with the great cast of Deseret - The Musical. She graduated from BYU in 1987 with a degree in theater management. There she toured with the A Cappella Choir and was involved with music dance theater and ballroom dance. Her favorite role was Fiona in Brigadoon. Most recently she played Buttercup in HMS Pinafore. She is the ONLY wife of Samuel Smith and mother to six amazing kids. She is a homeschooler, professional blogger, public speaker, and website designer.
Scott holds a BA in Theater from Linfield College and MFA in Theater Directing from the University of Utah. Scott, a long time actor and director, has performed and directed, in the US and Europe. He has appeared in touring productions of the Man of La Mancha and Godspell, appeared with Virginia’s Commonwealth Musical Stage in Anything Goes, performed at Pioneer Theater in Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Widow, The Vagabond King, Kismet, Brigadoon, How Succeed in Business…, Arsenic and Old Lace; SCERA shell in The Music Man and as John Adams in 1776. Most recently Scott appeared in Hale Center Theater Orem’s production of Lend Me A Tenor.
Kyle is currently a student at BYU studying music education, choral emphasis, with a minor in theatre education. He has been married to the love of his life, Shani for 3 years and is grateful for her constant support, patience and love! Kyle has been in three operas at BYU, The Magic Flute, The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance, and recently performed in the SCERA’s production of Little Shop of Horrors as the voice of Audrey II and in HCTO’s production of The Civil War as a Union Soldier. When he is not performing, Kyle loves training for triathlons and spending time with family.
Matt Jones graduated in 2010 with his Bachelor's in Vocal Performance from Capital University in Columbus, OH. Most recently Matt had the honor of being in Hale Theater’s performance of The Civil War and Guys & Dolls. He has also taken the stage as Dickon in The Secret Garden, Tommy in Brigadoon, Marius in Les Misérables, Jasper in Drood, The Baker in Into The Woods and John Brook in Little Women. Matt would like to thank his family for all of their support through the years and his wife, Amber, for her continued love and encouragement.
Amber Scott Jones is excited to be making her debut performance in Utah with Deseret - The Musical. A native to Ohio, Amber graduated from Capital University, with her Bachelor of Arts in Religion. In her past performances, Amber has taken the stage as Sugar in Sugar, Sandy in Grease, Little Red in Into The Woods, Amy March in Little Women & Little Becky Two Shoes in Urinetown. She would like to thank her family for all of their support. Lastly a big thanks to her wonderful husband Matt for his unconditional love! "To thine own self be true" - Shakespeare
Giovanna Velazquez was born in Tuxtla Gutierrez Chiapas, Mexico. She is a member of the prestigious Ballroom Dance Company at BYU. While being in the company, she was chosen to be part of the 2008 Cultural Olympics in Beijing, China and also had the pleasure to be two time U.S. Latin Formation Team champion. After a lot of hard work and determination, in 2009 she became the National Pre-championship Latin Champion and that same year won the Amateur Rhythm Title. In 2011, she became the Amateur Latin State Champion. After graduating from college, Giovanna had the opportunity to become a Director for the BYU Youth Ballroom Program of one of the pre-teen, junior and Youth teams winning titles for their team division. Giovanna is not only excited for the opportunity to be part of "Deseret - The Musical", but she feels privileged to work with such a talented cast.
Monica is delighted to be part of the new musical, Deseret! Since first appearing onstage in Oklahoma at 11 years She hasn’t been able to get enough! A junior at Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts in the Music Theatre Academy, her favorite performances include Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls,” Babette in “Beauty and the Beast,” and soloing on FOX13’s “Big Budah” segment. She took 2nd place for her solo performance at the Musical Theatre Competitions of America in California last April. Now a part of On Broadway’s Principal Company she cannot wait to start performing with them!
McKenzie Harris is excited to be performing in the world premier of her grandfather's dream. She is a sophmore at American Fork High School and is in the Music Dance Theater program. She debuted as narrator in Much Ado About Nothing with American Heritage School in 2010. Her last on stage performance was a daughter in Pirates of Penzance with American Fork Junior High. She wants to follow in her Aunt Summerisa's footsteps.
Lilian is excited to do her second stage performance with the rest of her family in Deseret - The Musical. Last year, Lilian performed in City of Joseph at the Pardoe Theater at BYU. While she has no trouble hamming it up in front of a crowd, Lilian’s first love is animals—particularly soft, white bunnies and friendly garden snakes that live in her backyard. She also plays the violin, and loves to read books and write stories.
Thomas loves performing, and he is no stranger to the stage. He just wrapped up his performance as Kurt in The Sound of Music at the Scera Shell. In 2012, he appeared in City of Joseph at BYU and as a guest performer with BYU Dance Department's fall dance preview, eviDANCE. For the past five years, he has performed with BYU's Young DanceMakers Company. When he's not performing or dancing, Thomas likes to draw, compose on the piano, and entertain his siblings with stuffed animal shows.
Eleanor is so excited to be performing in Deseret—The Musical. This is her first performance on a stage, but not the first time she has regaled her family and friends with a performance. She loves musicals and recently wrote her own musical, What to Do, with her best friend. Eleanor also loves horseback riding, drawing, and singing.
John loves to grab people’s attention and is looking forward to his first performance so that everyone can adore him on stage. He is a natural people person, and if he isn’t your friend—it’s just because he hasn’t met you yet. When he’s not commanding center stage, John will build with anything he can get his hands on, particularly cardboard, tape, hot glue, paper, and string. He wants to be an inventor when he grows up.
Having lived the first ten years of her life in New York, musicals are forever in Kenya's heart! Her favorite thing to do in the city was to see Broadway shows--playbills from those shows now decorate her bedroom. Kenya performed in her first production, Seussical, when eight years old, followed by The Secret Garden, Hansel and Gretel, and 12 Dancing Princesses. She currently studies music, dance, theatre at On Broadway Academy.
Tahlia was born in the Bronx, New York, where like her older sister, Kenya, she developed a love for Broadway. When she was seven years old, she lit up the stage with her smile and sweet voice in her stage debut in The Secret Garden. She loves singing and harmonizing with her sisters, so being a part of Deseret The Musical is a pleasure!
Victoria is excited to join her two big sisters in her first on-stage appearance after performing in hundreds of her sisters' at-home productions. She sparkles in whatever she is doing from singing to soccer.
“Samson” is excited to be in Deseret. Last year he was one of the Wikersham Brothers in Seussical and performed with the Extreme Ballroom team. He is a brown belt in karate, likes riding his ripstick, and loves surfing. He’s a chess fiend who loves board games, especially Heroscape and Heroica. He is the proud owner of two parakeets. This year he’ll be performing with Scera’s Triple Threat.
Caleb is nine years old and loves being in Deseret. His favorite part of the show is T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Last year he was one of the Wikersham Brothers in Seussical and on the Extreme Ballroom team. He likes Cub Scouts, playing with friends, amazing people with magic tricks, and his aquarium. This year he’ll be part of Scera’s Triple Threat.