BYU has a such a great abundance of talent and leadership in the arts. It’s an exciting, inspiring place to work, and I hope to share many adventures with BYU in the years to come.
Frank Wildhorn is a prolific composer and producer known for writing a variety of Broadway hits. While studying history and philosophy as an undergraduate at University of Southern California, Wildhorn began co-writing Jekyll & Hyde with Steve Cuden. The show became a cult phenomenon in the succeeding years and launched Wildhorn’s career.
In the next 25 years, Wildhorn composed, produced, or contributed to 20 other productions and accomplished the feat of having three of his works premier on Broadway simultaneously—a distinction no American had held for 22 years. His works included The Scarlet Pimpernel, Dracula, the Musical, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Wonderland.
In January 2015, Brigham Young University will host the English-language premiere The Count of Monte Cristo marking the first time that the musical will be performed on an American stage. The opportunity came about when Wildhorn taught a master class in the College of Fine Arts and Communications in 2013. He was so impressed with the students’ talent that he approached BYU about doing the premiere at the Harris Fine Arts Center.
“I thought it would be a fun way to get it started here in the United States with my great relationship with BYU, and I’m excited to see what will happen now,” Wildhorn said.
Not only did Wildhorn select BYU to premiere his most famous production, he spent hours with Shae Robins and Preston Yates, the two student leads.
“It’s amazing to work with somebody of that caliber when you’re still in college,” Yates said. “To learn from Frank Wildhorn, who’s done so much—I didn’t expect to get this opportunity while at school.”