LOGAN – Over the years, many thespians have sought to bolster their alleged stage credentials by claiming to “have been born in a trunk.”

There’s even a song from Judy Garland in the score of the 1954 film A Star is Born about being born in a stage trunk.

But who can claim to having been born in a Studebaker?

No one but Nancy Hills, the costume designer for the Lyric Repertory Company here and a associate professor at Utah State University.

The story of Hills’ improbable nativity was one of the highlights of a Vosco Call Spotlight event on June 25 honoring the retiring costume artist after 35 years at USU and the Lyric Rep.

The Vosco Call Spotlight events honor Lyric artistic director Richie Call’s grandfather, who was a legendary actor, one of the pioneers of USU’s modern theater program and founding-director of the Lyric Repertory Company.

Now in the format of a chatty talk show hosted by Richie Call, those events are also used to salute special guests like Ms. Hills.

After spending the 1970s earning theatre arts and costume design degrees from the College of San Mateo in California and the University of Oregon, Ms. Hills finally found at a home at Utah State in 1989.

She is a member of the Costume Society of America, the Costume Society of Great Britain and the U.S. Institute of Theatre Technology.

In addition to her responsibilities for the Lyric and USU, Ms. Hills has also guest-designed costumes for the Grand Theatre in Salt Lake City, the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, the Utah Musical Theatre in Ogden, the San Francisco Opera and the Houston Shakespeare Festival, among others, over the years.

The finale of her more than 30-year tenure at USU was “Dressed in White,” a showcase of meticulously crafted gowns spanning the years from the 1700s to 1954 that was displayed in the Tippets & Eccles Galleries on campus from Mar. 18 to 27.

Also on-hand to honor Ms. Hills were Cory Evans, the USU director of choral activities, and the Lyric’s Spotlight Band, featuring Lizzy Prettyman on keyboards, Kelin Gibbins on guitar, Ben Gittins on drums and Thomas Pratt on upright bass.

Evan sang a couple of solos numbers, including a jazzy rendition of “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.”

The cast of the ongoing Lyric hit Sh-Boom! Life Could Be a Dream were also featured, with the male members of the cast singing the 1958 novelty tune “Beep, Beep” and Marin Robinson singing “Asheville,” from the score of the bluegrass musical Bright Star.

Those songs were followed by Ms. Hills matching wits with Lyric artistic designer Dennis Hassan in an amusing contest, trying to identify relatively contemporary movies from various quotes taken from their scripts.

The evening ended with Dr. Nick Morrison, executive producer of the Lyric and dean of the USU Caine College of Arts, making an appeal for audience support of the performing arts company’s “Applaud the Tradition” fund-raising campaign for continuing restoration of its Caine Lyric Theatre.

More information about that fund-raising campaign can be found at www.give.usu.edu/lyric

Other Vosco Call events slated this season include a July 9 salute to Vanessa Ballam and Stefan Espinosa from the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre and a July 23 tip of the hat to local magician Richard Hatch.

Both of those events will take place at the Caine Lyric Theatre on West Center Street in downtown Logan.

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