Courageous Pioneer Story Portrayed on BYU Stage

Deseret Dance Theater, in conjunction with the Brigham Young University Theatre Department, will present “Woman in the Wind: The Drusilla Hendricks Story,” on Jan. 10-12 at 7:30 p.m., in Provo, Utah, with a Saturday matinee at 2:00 p.m. on Jan. 12.

Faith and Courage
“Woman in the Wind” is a unique presentation of the life of Drusilla Hendricks, from her birth in 1810 to her 1847 arrival in the Salt Lake Valley. It shows the tremendous persecutions and trials of her life and her courage in dealing with it all. Drusilla and her husband were intimately connected with the Prophet Joseph Smith and with the events of the Restoration.

What are important are Drusilla’s story and the building of faith, which her story produces. What are interesting about her story are her prophetic dreams and her courage in going forward. Drusilla’s story is the story of all those who suffered so greatly and lived so courageously at that period of our history. It is also the story of how each of us can survive the trials of this age.

Viewer’s Response
This musical story-drama was first presented at Utah Valley State College the summer of 2000 as part of a Henry Hendricks Family Reunion.

One of the audience members said, in response to the show, “I wasn’t expecting a professional production.”

Such has been the response from those who have seen the show.

Jerry Johnston from The Deseret News wrote in a review on Aug. 12, 2000 that “Woman in the Wind” is a “powerful production that casts a fresh light on Mormon pioneer heritage.” and that “it has the feel of a small piece that word-of-mouth will turn into a regional classic. One reason is quality, it is a striking combination of new, old, and bold.”

The Key Players
Karla Hendricks Huntsman, a great great granddaughter, wrote the presentation of Drusilla Hendricks and is an adjunct faculty member in the theatre department at BYU. Karla has taught theatre arts and communication skills in high schools and various universities for more than 25 years. One of her creative works received 1st place honors in the State of Idaho Theatre Arts Festival.

She says of the experience, “For some reason, the Lord wants this story to be told. I tried to say ‘no’ a dozen times, but was simply pushed to complete it.”

She was brought together with Kim Yandow, founder and director of Deseret Dance Theater, who created the unique staging of the show, and with Kathy Newton and Machelle Thompson who composed the music. Cast members are from the Deseret Dance Theater Company with 4 guest performers.

Yandow is a former America’s Jr. Miss, she began her performing career in New York City, training at the Jofrrey Ballet School before studying voice and acting. In 1983, she joined the Church and began a teaching career at BYU in 1985, where she taught modern-jazz for 11 years. Her choreography can be seen in the film version of Saturday’s Warrior.

Newton is an accomplished pianist and has a Master of Music Degree from BYU. She has taught Music Theory at BYU, UVSC, and Salt Lake Community College. Her hymn, I’ve Set My Path to Serve Thee,” received 2nd place honors in an LDS church-wide contest.

The costuming and staging of the show, conceived by Yandow, is designed to create in audience members a sense of connection with Drusilla’s story, a sense that her story is a story for “all of us.”

Yandow says, “we watch Drusilla’s life in a seamless, uninterrupted way, which allows us to flow from one moment to the next – blending and connecting our lives with hers.”

Ticket Information
Information for tickets to the production can be obtained by calling the BYU ticket office at (801) 378-4322. “Woman in the Wind” will be shown in BYU’s Pardoe Theatre in the Harris Fine Arts Center. Information about the family and a full transcription of Drusilla’s story can be found at http://www.henryhendricks.org

 


2001 Meridian Magazine.  All Rights Reserved.