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The Wizard Behind the Scenes

January 2018

Bradlee Hager

Most 10-year-olds at Disneyland just enjoy being there, but young Bradlee Hager wanted to know how it all worked. Now, as she graduates from BYU, she has become a behind-the-scenes wizard who makes onstage magic happen.

“Behind every Taylor Swift concert, every Broadway play, and every amusement park, there are a hundred or more people who don’t care about getting their names out there and who just want to tell the best story possible,” says Hager, who worked on at least 10 different productions at BYU ranging from the onstage versions of Chariots of Fire to live concerts for BYU Vocal Point.

Hager points to hands-on experiences as the key to her growth at BYU. While she was working on sets for The Count of Monte Cristo production, for example, her professor brought in an interactive-projection expert to mentor her and her fellow students. Later, Hager got to participate in a backstage workshop at Disneyland, where she created some of the magic that sparked her interest in stagecraft.

“Without the funding for these trainings, conferences, and lectures, there’s no way I’d be doing what I’m doing today,” says Hager, who plans to attend the University of North Carolina for a master’s degree in stage automation.

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