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For week ended November 21, 1999 Posted 24 Feb 2001

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3rd-generation Hale takes stage in 'Saigon'

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

3rd-generation Hale takes stage in 'Saigon'
Deseret News 21Nov99 A2
By Ivan M. Lincoln: Deseret News theater editor

Swenson will fly to Seattle for rehearsals with the production's touring company before his December 20 appearance at the Paramount Theater. Swenson is a multi-talented performer who has just finished directing the Hale Centre Theatre's 15th annual production of, "A Christmas Carol."

Will's grandparents, Ruth and the late Nathan Hale, are legends in the world of family theater. Their landmark Glendale Centre Theatre, in Glendale, California has been operating for more than 50 years. Ruth and Nathan co-wrote more than 80 plays. Will's mother, Sally Hale Swenson, is a co-producer at the Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City, Utah.

"All of us kids went through a rebellious stage," Will said speaking of his 27 years of experience. "I wanted to be a football player, then I wanted to go into advertising, but the more I stayed away from theatre, the more it was impossible to stay away from it."

He met his wife, Amy Westerby, while they were both in one of Ruth Hale's family comedies, "Hopsville Holiday." "I was 15 and she was l4, and we both lived in Salt Lake at the time." When Will returned home from a mission in Ecuador for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he returned to school. "Then things got serious when we were both going to BYU," he said.

Amy will be leaving her job as a Utah County reporter for KSL-TV to assist her husband. "I don't even have time to pack; Amy's doing my packing for me," he said. While living in Florida, Amy worked for the CBS affiliate. "I auditioned for Disney when I was at BYU and they offered me a spot there in the spring of 1996," Will said.

Peter Lawrence, a casting director for Johnson-Liff, who hired Will "is floored by the quality of talent in Utah," Will said. Swenson is excited about this new phase of his theater career. "It's just what I love. I love the stage, and my career is going in the right direction. It still doesn't seem real. When they called (to confirm the role), I was ecstatic. Then I called Amy and she cried, she was so happy for me."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information