James Arrington to Give Farewell “Here’s Brother Brigham” Performance at SCERA Center for the Arts Nov. 9-14


(Orem, Utah) — When actor James Arrington leaves for Tennessee to serve an LDS church mission in Nashville, he’ll pack an extra suitcase. That’s because, although he will retire his 40th anniversary one-man show “Here’s Brother Brigham” with five final performances at SCERA in November, he will pack his Brigham Young clothing—just in case.

For several decades the recently retired college professor from Utah Valley University has been a Utah cultural icon for his portrayal of the second Mormon prophet as well as his hilarious Farley Family Reunion characters (Arrington will pack a bit of Farley paraphernalia in that same suitcase).

Arrington will portray trailblazer Brigham Young Nov. 9-14 at the SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State St., Orem.  Reserved-seat tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $12 for adults and $10 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older and available at scera.org, by calling 801-225-ARTS, at the SCERA main office 10am-6pm weekdays and Saturdays from 12Noon-6pm.  Six dollar tickets are available for church and non-profit groups of 20 or more if purchased in advance of the show.

His carefully researched show about “The Great American Moses” has taken him throughout the United States. In costume, Arrington bears a strong resemblance to the early leader, a fact not lost on the many reviews that claim he inhabits the historical figure. His portrayal began modestly enough at the Valley Center Theatre when it was housed in a small building near downtown Provo. He then had an opportunity to perform in the Nelke Theatre at Brigham Young University where he played to capacity crowds for a week.

From there he embarked on a robust touring schedule that included not only the West but also England and Canada. Over time he performed in 32 States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Along the way, Arrington had several unique opportunities. One year he served as the grand marshal of Salt Lake City’s Days of ’47 parade when the State celebrated the sesquicentennial of the Mormon pioneers crossing the plains. At the end of the parade, however, no arrangements had been made to return him to his car, but celebrity that he was, he ran into then governor Mike Leavitt, who dispatched his secret service agent to drive Arrington to his vehicle.

Another year he directed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as Brigham Young and describes it as “quite a trip.” He was further honored at the State Capitol with a statue of Brigham Young as an award to recognize Arrington’s achievements for advancing information about the prominent Utah figure.

Arrington eagerly anticipates this final show, because he will be recording a DVD for his children, grandchildren and anyone interested in the prize-winning piece of theatre.  He has not done the show in several years and looks forward to creating a more permanent record.

“I have had some great opportunities with this show,” he explains. “I realized what it really means to me when I heard the music after several years and burst into tears.” Arrington recently performed a warmup to a small audience and says, “I got through it just fine, and they were responsive. A lot of people who say they don’t like history end up liking this show because it contains so many compelling stories about this great leader. I have researched his material meticulously, and have been honored that critics over the years have used such words as ‘groundbreaking,’ ‘remarkable,’  ‘amazing’ and ‘must see’ to describe the show.”

The show highlights President Young’s humanity, humor, intelligence and personal magnetism, and Arrington says these and other qualities are why people called him “Brother Brigham.”

“Mormons called (first prophet) Joseph Smith ‘Brother Joseph’ and applied the same familiarity with President Young,” Arrington explains. “By the time John Taylor became the prophet, that title disappeared. I hope the audience will leave the show believing they have experienced a first-class, eye-to-eye relationship with a man who didn’t pull any punches and told the truth.”

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