Since graduating from BYU 60 years ago, Jerry Elison has been doing what he loves: directing musicals and plays. His talents will be honored with a Jerry Elison Scholarship Concert at the SCERA Center for the Arts on Nov. 9-10.
"When I was asked if a scholarship could be named after me, I was flabbergasted! I also was very humbled," Elison said. "To have them create this scholarship while I'm still around and ask for my input means a lot."
Directing over 100 plays and musicals, Elison's love for the arts has been evident since he was a young boy. He would write plays in grade school and hold practices with students during recess. Although his dad wanted him to study business in college, Elison couldn't seem to stay away from theatre.
"I have loved theater my whole life. I was fortunate enough to have teachers during my high school years that encouraged me to continue being involved in the arts," Elison said.
Elison has participated in productions in many venues over the years, including school districts in Utah and Idaho, the Sundance Summer Theatre, Hale Center Theater Orem and the SCERA.
For the scholarship concert, cast members from some of Elison's productions will perform selections from favorite musicals, including "Almost Like Being in Love," from "Brigadoon," by Emily Bennett and Steve Diamond; "Bring Him Home," from "Les Miserables," by Chris Higbee; and "She Loves Me," from the musical of the same name, by Rex Kocherhans.
Elison's family has always been willing to be involved in musicals. For the scholarship concert, Elison, his wife Barbara and two of their daughters will provide the pre-show entertainment, including an eight-hand piano rendition of "Tonight" from "West Side Story." Elison's grandkids will also perform "Tell a Handsome Stranger" from Elison's personal favorite musical, "Little Mary Sunshine."
Elison wants to make sure the proceeds will be used where the community feels it is needed most.
"Although the scholarship could be used towards helping a student who needs help to pay for college, it could also be used for local theaters and productions," Elison said. "It is my hope that down the road, enough money will be raised and could benefit more than one cause."
Tickets for the concert are $10 for ages 3 and older and can be purchased at the main office of the SCERA Center, 745 So. State, Orem. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 801-225-ARTS or online at scera.org. For more information, visit SCERA’s website.
Kylie Lewis is an intern for the Deseret News where she writes for Mormon Times and other feature articles. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho, receiving her bachelor's in Communications.