Fab40: Summerisa Bell Stevens

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After graduating from BYU and the Young Ambassadors program, Summerisa and her husband moved to New York where they performed on Broadway for seven years- — she was named “Best Actress in a Musical” for her portrayal of Doralee in “9 to 5.” The couple felt compelled to move back to Utah and start Harrington Center for the Arts. In 2021, HCA directly supported 840 local artists and reached 16,000 patrons — and HCA is constructing a 62,000-square-foot arts center. You may know them for their wildly successful Fork Fest Music & Arts Festival. The curtain never falls on Summerisa, whose title is “personal assistant to the most precocious toddler.”

Draw Four In NYC I balanced a rigorous audition schedule, family, church, owning a dance studio, performing and self care. Now, I’m the CEO of a rapidly growing nonprofit with seven programs, six committees, and a huge restoration project. I’m also pregnant and choreographing “Big Fish” at American Fork High School.

Roll the Dice Being surrounded by successful entrepreneurs in NYC was inspiring, but I was afraid I would have to give up my aspirations to be a mom. Being a mom is so much fun! My daughter provides balance in my life. I’m the 9th of 10 children, so family is important to me. 

Twister People underestimate what I can do — maybe because I’m 5-foot-2. I love setting goals and accomplishing them. Actors are told “no” almost every single day, so it is up to me to be my biggest hype woman.

Turning Point We prayed and got the answer to give up our careers in NYC and everything we had worked hard for and divest all of our focus into our new nonprofit. Our agents thought we were nuts!

Catchphrase “Yes, and” — a pillar of improv. When someone in a scene states something, accept it as truth. The “and” part of this principle means to build on the reality that has been set. This principle has allowed Harrington Center for the Arts to grow rapidly. When someone has a new idea, we embrace the “yes, and.”

Full Hand In college, I organized people’s homes. It was my destressor. I own more organizing containers than the average Joe. I loved living in my small NYC apartment, so our 1,100-square-foot home in American Fork feels just right.

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