Jesse Obremski (he/him) is a native of New York City, a Japanese-American artist, choreographer, singer, educator, curator, and director. Obremski began his studies at The Ailey School, studied at Jacob’s Pillow and Springboard Danse Montreal, and is a graduate of The Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and The Juilliard School. He joined the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company at the age of 19 and has since then worked with Helen Simoneau Dance, Peter Stathas Dance, WHITE WAVE, Kate Weare Company, Brian Brooks Moving Company, The Limón Dance Company (soloist and principal, 2016-2019), and an Artistic Associate with Gibney Company (2018-present), among others. Obremski is a sought-after educator and speaker, is the recipient of the Asian American Arts Alliance’s 2016 Jadin Wong Award, is an Eagle Scout Rank recipient, has been mentioned in the NY Times, NY1, and was named Dance Magazine’s March 2019 Dancer “On The Rise”. From 2022-2023, Obremski was the Associate Executive Director of Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance (EMDOD) after serving on its Board for four years.
In 2018, he founded Obremski/Works, a contemporary dance company and organization with an emphasis on dance films and AAPI Support Fellowships. Obremski’s choreographic work has been presented across the United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Turkey, Germany, Japan, China, and Malaysia through commissions and curations by Gibney Company, Buglisi Dance Theatre, Brigham Young University, EMDOD, Fall For Dance North, and Obremski/Works, among others.
www.jesseobremski.com www.obremskiworks.org @jesse_obremski @obremski_works
In 1971, the small conservative town of Pleasant Grove, Utah was rocked bythe suicide of 16-year-old Alden Barrett, a prominent Doctor’s son. His suicide set in motion an almost unbelievable sequence of events that are as shocking as they are tragic. The profound and far-reaching repercussions create a backdrop for an intensely emotional and poignant story about love, family, mental illness, fear and judgment, extremism and ultimately, forgiveness and healing.
The production is a work two decades in the making. First drafted in 1997 as “A Place in the Sun,” the show played several times in Utah County to sold out audiences. The performance built bridges for a family long torn apart. Twenty years later, the original creative team has returned to Alden’s story with a matured perspective on family, change, and community.
Now "Pleasant Grove” is as beautiful and gentle as it is raw and explosive. The show is a journey from heartbreak to healing, and moves audiences to re-examine their own perspectives, inspiring them to a deeper compassion.
The production could not be more timely, with a national conversation emerging around bullying, mental health, diversity, and the rising forces of disinformation and polarization. In addition, the manipulation of the Barrett’s family tragedy is again under scrutiny in the recently published book, “Unmasking Alice”, by Rick Emerson. “Unmasking Alice” is a scrupulously researched work that digs deep into the published works of “Dr.” Beatrice Sparks, that, through exaggeration and fabrication, triggered the very problems it sought to shame.
Zack is a local actor who has performed all over Utah Valley and Salt Lake. He is the owner of the Utah Valley Players Theatre Company. He has performed at Hale Center Theatre, Sundance, UVU and more! Enjoy the Show!
Bailee Morris is originally from Mesa, AZ but came to Utah to pursue a degree in Music Dance Theater at BYU and never left! While at BYU she performed with the Young Ambassadors to Australia, Scandinavia and Southeast Asia as a featured soloist. Bailee has also performed all over Utah in shows at Hale Centre Theater Sandy, Hale Center Theater Orem and Centerpoint Legacy theater. She is a film actress, model and voice teacher— teaching out of her house and also at both BYU and UVU. She also runs a freelance Photography Business (@tayandbaystudios) but her busiest and best job is being the mom to Zoe, Tilly, Lulu and Brink. Getting to fall in love (again) with her husband, Taylor, in this production is truly a dream come true and she is so grateful to share this story with everyone who comes to see!
Brianna is thrilled to be a part of this production! She received her BFA in Musical Theater from UVU and loves to perform and teach. Brianna has enjoyed performing in the valley with Hale Center Theater Sandy, Hale Center Theater Orem, Pygmalion, and others! She has also toured as a vocalist with Changing Lanes Entertainment Group. Favorite roles include Sally Bowles (Cabaret) Kathy (The Last Five Years), Margo (Bright Star), Jo (Little Women), Desdemona (Tragedy Averted).
Taylor's credits include: Film - Rob Gardner’s Lamb of God: The Concert Film, HCT - Daddy Long Legs, An American in Paris, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Little Mermaid, HCTO - Blink, Damn Yankees, and BYU - The Count of Monte Cristo and Young Ambassadors. Taylor has a BFA in Music Dance Theatre and a Master's in Public Administration from BYU where he currently works as an Artist Manager in Performing Arts Management.
Abram is an actor based in Los Angeles and thrilled to be back in Utah for this showcase. Previous stage credits include Tale of Two Cities (Ens.) Bright Star (Stanford), Phantom (Inspector Ledoux), The Scarlet Pimpernel (St. Cyr), and Joseph…Dreamcoat (Issachar) at Hale Centre Theatre, as well as HCTO’s Newsies (Davey) and Peter and the Starcatcher (Peter), and An Other Theater Company’s Next Fall (Luke).
Abram has a degree in Theatre Arts from BYU with an emphasis in dramaturgy. At BYU, he helped develop scripts and is excited to be a part of a new work once again. “Bringing new works to stage is such a fulfilling experience and I feel very fortunate to be a part of Pleasant Grove, The Rock Opera with this amazing creative team and wonderful cast!”
Amanda is excited to be a part of PGRO with an incredible team and cast in this creative process to tell a profound story. She is a Utah native and earned a BFA in Music Dance Theatre from Brigham Young University. While there, she toured with Young Ambassadors for two years to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. After graduating she moved to Southern California where she was a professional dancer at Disneyland and Legoland Resort. Some of her credits include Ariel in Footloose, Kitty in Drowsy Chaperone, Zaneeta and u/s Marian in The Music Man, Eileen in Wonderful Town, Witch in Into the Woods, The Little Mermaid, Hairspray, West Side Story.
Lucas, the man of many talents, hails from the bustling world of business systems analysis in the picturesque city of Vancouver, Canada. With a fascination for IT, and a knack for spreadsheets that can put anyone to sleep faster than a lullaby, Lucas was the go-to guy for all things tech and data-related. He was the one who made sure your email didn't mysteriously disappear into the digital abyss, and he had an uncanny ability to turn complicated algorithms into something even your grandma could understand.
But then, like a plot twist in a B-grade movie, Lucas found himself in a whole new world—Utah, to be exact. And not just Utah, but the glamorous world of the Pleasant Grove Rock Opera. How on earth did this mild-mannered business systems analyst end up belting out tunes under the dazzling stage lights?
Well, it all started when Lucas decided to take a little vacation, seeking refuge from the endless rows of spreadsheets and server rooms. Utah seemed like a nice, quiet place to unwind, or so he thought. Little did he know that his path would cross with a group of talented misfits putting together a Rock Opera of epic proportions.
With his trusty laptop in hand (because, let's face it, he can't go anywhere without it), Lucas was thrust into a world of wailing guitar solos, sequined costumes, and dramatic lighting. He went from analyzing business systems to analyzing the emotional depth of his character's ballads.
Lucas now splits his time between coding and crooning, crunching numbers and belting out high notes. He's the guy who can troubleshoot your database one minute and hit the highest note in the chorus the next. It's like watching a computer whiz transform into a rock god right before your eyes.
So, if you find yourself in Utah and in need of a business analyst who can also rock your socks off, look no further than Lucas. He may be from the world of ones and zeros, but he's proving that even in the most unexpected places, a star can be born. Just don't ask him to write a database query in the middle of a power ballad; he's got priorities now!
Born and raised in the valley, Ashlee grew up singing, dancing and touring the country with her dance academy. Her love of performing and being on stage grew to include acting and theatre, and she feels grateful to still be doing what she loves as a wife and momma to 2 beautiful little boys. She’s happy to be a part of telling the story of Pleasant Grove Rock Opera with this very talented cast and crew. Her recent show credits include Fräulein Kost in Cabaret, Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Oz in We Will Rock You and Whatsername in American Idiot.
Michael has been consistently performing in the Salt Lake valley and beyond for the last 10+ years. Recent stage credits include Cliff Bradshaw in Cabaret, Aaron in First Date, Britney Spears in We Will Rock You and Will in American Idiot. When not performing Michael is a father, husband (to the beautiful Ashlee Howell with whom he’s sharing the stage tonight!), guitarist/songwriter (@leaveluna) and podcaster (@mmstpodcast). “Thank you for supporting local artists telling this amazing and important story. Enjoy the show!”
Michael Greenberg (he/him) is a dancer and choreographer from New York City. He began his training at the Ailey School in 2004 and went on to study dance at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School. At LaGuardia, Michael worked with many choreographers, mentors and teachers including Gregory Sinacori, Pedro Ruiz and Bryan Arias. Upon graduating from LaGuardia High School he received the Presidents Award for exemplary student in dance as well as the Eleo Pomare scholarship in Choreography. Michael received his BFA from NYU Tisch in 2017 and has worked with choreographers including Karole Armitage, Stephanie Batten Bland, Sean Curran, Ori Flomin, Larry Keigwin, Loni Landon, and Crystal Pite. He also attended NYU's study abroad program at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD) as well as other summer programs with The Ailey School, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Gaga Tel Aviv. Since his graduation, Michael has performed with Loni Landon Dance Projects, Nicole Von Arx and Guests, Kinesis Project Dance Theater, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance, Obremski/Works, and White Wave Dance Company. He has been choreographing professionally since 2018 and is the founder of N E 1 4 Dance. In 2019 Michael joined the First National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof with choreography by Hofesh Shechter. Michael joined NW Dance Project in Portland in the spring of 2023 and performed original works by Joseph Hernandez and Ihsan Rustem. He is currently freelancing in New York City.
Alex Seager (she/her) is a performer, choreographer, teacher, and movement artist based in Salt Lake City, UT. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Performance and Choreography and a minor in Film, Animation, & New Genres from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. During undergrad, she collaborated with and performed in the works of artists such as Dani Kuepper, Emma Draves, Maria Gillespie, and Daniel Burkholder. From the summer of 2019 through her graduation, she also worked as a research student under the direction of Simone Ferro, conducting movement practices and artistic outreach throughout Milwaukee. For four years, she performed as a main company member of Water Street Dance Milwaukee, having traveled to showcase repertoire in cities such as San Francisco, CA, New York, NY, St. Louis, MO, Madison, WI, Milwaukee, WI, and Chicago, IL. She has also performed as a member of the Gina Laurenzi Dance Project. Last year, she performed with SALT2 and currently works with FLEET as a freelancer in Salt Lake. Her drive for artistic exploration has also taken her beyond the United States ----in June of 2019, she lived in Brazil for a month while studying African influence in Brazilian art and culture. More recently, Alex traveled to Moncalvo, Italy to work with Juliano Nunes and duo FLOCK for their 2022 summer creation program at Orsolina28, and this past summer traveled to Berlin, Germany to perform at b12 Research Festival. She has shared her love for dance as an instructor at numerous studios in Wisconsin and Utah and adores the ever-changing journey dance has provided and continues to allow.
Courtney Mazeika is a movement artist, maker, and educator. She received her BFA in Dance from the University of Texas at Austin; then trained at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. As an independent artist, she has had the opportunity to perform in original works by Tom Weinberger, Bobbi Jene Smith, David Harvey, Christian Burns, Lone King Projects, Alex Ketley and more. Her independent choreography has been shared internationally, and she served on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program, and served as director of the SALT Pre-Professional Training Company for 2 seasons. She worked as a rehearsal assistant for Tom Weinberger’s original creations at Staatstheater Kassel (DE), SUNY Purchase, Arts Umbrella (VBC), and more. From 2018 to 2022, she was a company artist with UNA Productions. She danced for Norrdans (SE) this 2022-2023 season. www.courtneymazeika.com
Joey Anderson’s (he/him) journey in dance began at BYU where he earned his BA in dance. After graduating, he was an apprentice with SALT Contemporary Dance for their 2021-2022 season under the direction of Joni McDonald. After his time with SALT, Joey started to engage in various projects in Salt Lake City such as RDT’s annual Regalia, 801 Salon, and a self-choreographed solo show, “Where Love Lived First.” Joey has also participated in many workshops across Europe through festivals such as b12 and Impulstanz, where he has worked with Damien Jalet, Antonin Rioche, Akira Yoshida, and many more artists. He has also performed in both Berlin and Prague. Joey is currently a member of the collective, FLEET Co-Op, which is a project-based group in Salt Lake City that integrates dance with other mediums. He is also teaching at multiple studios and schools in the Salt Lake Valley.
Kelsey (she/her) grew up in her home state of Indiana training in dance forms such as ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, acrobatics, tap, and clogging. She continued her dance education and is a graduate of Indiana University with a BFA in Contemporary Dance. During her time in school, she received the opportunity to spend 6 months studying Gaga at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in Israel. During her career, she has worked with renowned choreographers such as Bill T. Jones, Juel D. Lane, Ohad Naharin, Joshua Manculich, Joni McDonald, and Elijah Labay. After college, Kelsey moved to Utah to perform with SALT2 for a year while building her fitness community, Vital to Movement. Since then, she has stayed in Utah to perform with Fleet CoOp & other freelance opportunities.
Bryan is a multi-talented artist and musician who has dedicated his craft to bringing Pleasant Grove Rock Opera to life. Motivated by the importance of such adeep and moving story, Bryan has followed his artistic guidance to create this cinematic theater experience. Originally moved to write "A Place in the Sun" as a classic rock opera in the late 90s, Bryan began redeveloping this work in 2017 and has embraced this labor of love as a commission to truth through art. Bryan lives with his wife and children in Orem, UT, where he is an active part of his faith community and a quirky, eccentric, and delightful neighbor.
Jack is vocalist, and bass player for Bay of Pigs and was one of the original creators of the rock opera, “A Place In The Sun,” in the mid-1990s. He is one of the producers and creators of Pleasant Grove Rock Opera. Jack founded Peak Media & Consulting, managing projects for clients in Europe, Canada and throughout the US. He has co-directed and produced award-winning feature-length documentary films. He currently lives at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah with his wife and youngest son. He spends free time with family and chasing adventures as a backcountry skier, biker, runner, and naturalist.
Winston was a member of Grain, the first iteration of the current Bay of Pigs. He performed in the original versions of Pleasant Grove Rock Opera back in the 1990's. Winston is a classically trained pianist who has the heart of a rock and roller. He owned and operated Lee Music in Heber City for over twenty years.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: This show is important to me because it demonstrates many problems that exist in our present society in regards to acceptance, mental illness, gossip, and propaganda. It's also important that the truth of Alden Barrett be told after so many years of false beliefs about his life and suicide.
Jaime Jespersen grew up in Sandy Utah and has played and taught drums professionally for 25 years. He is a multi-faceted drummer with an extensive history of success in the world of music, such as winning Utah’s Best Drummer in the 2001 Bashers Brawl all the way up to creating and receiving a patent for his invention Guru Drumsticks. He has performed with many different artists throughout the years, including Jon Batiste, Sophia Dion, and the Stay Human band at the Sundance Film Festival. Jaime continues to strive for musical excellence as he joined the Pleasant Grove Rock Opera in May of 2021. He is excited showcase his abilities as a member the Bay of Pigs and hopes to bring comfort to those who may be struggling by telling the true story of Alden Barrett through the beauty of music and theater.