Playwright Elaine Jarvik on creating BASED ON A TRUE STORY for the 2015/16 Season

BASED ON A TRUE STORY by Elaine Jarvik receives its world premiere February 25-March 6, 2016 featuring Colleen Baum, Jason Bowcutt, Mark Fossen and Nell Gwynn, directed by Cheryl Cluff.  The tiny seed for this play was a photo that my friend Andra Harbold sent me several years ago of a woman wearing aviator goggles. Write a play, she said. And so I began to think about the woman. Where was she going? And why? And the more I thought about her, the more I wondered why she wasconsumed by so many doubts. And I wondered what she looked to for comfort. By then, of course, I was talking about myself. I wondered what would happen if a worried person could travel to the future to see how her life turned out. I wondered why I can sit every Sunday in the church I attend and never be convinced of the big story everyone else believes. So this play is a journey about time and faith, a play where I’m trying to work those questions out. I’ve been fascinated with the notion of time travel ever since reading Robert Silverberg’s “Up the Line” several decades ago. His journeys were to the past, as most time travel fiction is. But I preferred thinking about what would happen if you ended up in the future, caught in a time that wasn’t your own, a refugee of sorts. Of course we’re all trapped in the time we live in, and I wanted to explore that too. I’m excited to see this play come to life under the imaginative direction of Cheryl Cluff. And I’m... read more

Playwright Jenifer Nii on creating KINGDOM OF HEAVEN for the 2015/16 Season

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, with book & lyrics by Jenifer Nii and music & lyrics by Dave Evanoff, receives it world premiere March 31-April 10, 2016. Subscribe to the full season for only $70! Social media is a dangerous thing, and one never knows when the right/wrong people are watching. KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is proof. In a moment of impulsiveness, after evening spent binge-watching a reality television show about drag queens, I posted on my Facebook page something to the effect that “I wanna write a musical.” There was something so joyful about the television show, something surprisingly captivating about its courageous, stunningly creative contestants; something incredibly inspiring about their stories of discovery, determination, pain, and strength. It made me happy, this show. I loved the spectacle, marveled at the way those men transformed themselves into such a heightened state of femininity, and was fascinated how that process helped fulfill the contestants in such personal, individual ways. It had a triumphant, celebratory, inclusive feel to it, which was so refreshing and invigorating and nearly the opposite of what I’d been seeing in the community I live in. Gender issues are still very hot to the touch here, the heartland of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the last few years, women (and men) have been disciplined in an unprecedentedly-public arena for questioning their roles, for organizing to challenge everything from dress codes to women’s participation in leadership and religious rites. In January 2015, high-ranking leaders of the Church gave a rare press conference on gender identity. Elder Dallin H. Oaks acknowledged the Church is now striving to address the pantheon of... read more

Plan-B’s Silver Anniversary

Click here to read QSaltLake’s profile of the past 24 years and our upcoming 2015/16, 25th Anniversary Season! 2010-2015 Click here to read The Utah Review’s wrap-up of our 2014/15 Season. Click here to read The Utah Review’s wrap-up of our 2013/14 Season. Selective Echo’s wrap-up of our 2012/13 season (coming soon). Selective Echo’s wrap-up of our 2011/12 season (coming soon). Selective Echo’s wrap-up of our 2010/11 season (coming soon). 2000-2010 Click here to read Producing Director Jerry Rapier’s history of Plan-B’s second decade (published in 2010 for our 20th anniversary). 1991-2000 Click here to read Managing Director Cheryl Ann Cluff’s history of Plan-B’s first decade (published in 2010 for our 20th anniversary). Awards & Archives Click here to see a list of awards received since 2000 (including 50 Best of Utah ARTs Awards from City Weekly) and click here for archives of every production since 1991 with photo slideshows of (nearly) every one! Radio Hour Click here for the entire 10-episode history (including podcasts)! Subscribe at read more

Are you (or a do you know) a playwright under 35?

Click here for details on our call for submissions, in partnership with The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists, deadline October 1! Just remember: it doesn’t have to be complete; it just needs to show promise and we need to see you know where you’re headed – part of the award is working with our Lab playwrights on the script. The first play produced through this partnership, MAMA by Carleton Bluford, is currently nominated for City Weekly’s Best in Utah ARTs Awards for “Best Local Theatre Production” and “Best Original Play.” The second play produced through this partnership, BOOKSMART by Rob Tennant, opens December 3. Will your play be next? In memory of our dear friend David Fetzer, who created roles in Plan-B’s productions of THE END OF THE HORIZON, THE SCARLET LETTER and THE THIRD CROSSING.    ... read more

Randy Rasmussen’s Set Design Legacy

THE END OF THE HORIZON (2008) Full image ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA (2013) Full image ANIMAL FARM (2004) Full image CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS (2014) Full image SUFFRAGE (2013) Full image HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2003) Full image FACING EAST (2006, 2007) Full image BORDERLANDS (2011) Full image THE TRICKY PART (2008) Full image EXPOSED (2007) EXPOSED (2007) MESA VERDE (2011) Full image HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2012) Full image BLOCK 8 (2009) Full image THE ALIENATION EFFEKT (2007) Full image DI ESPERIENZA (2009) Full image RADIO HOUR EPISODE 5: ALICE (2009) Full image AMERIGO (2010) Full image THE SCARLET LETTER (2012) Full image WALLACE (2010) Full image MACBETH (1991) Full image PATIENT A (2005) Full image MAMA (2015) Full image CLEARING BOMBS (2014) Full image LADY MACBETH (2011) Full image MOLLY SWEENEY (2000) Full image PILOT PROGRAM (2015) Full image THE THIRD CROSSING (2012) Full image NOTHING PERSONAL (2013) Full image THE LARAMIE PROJECT (2001) Full image HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2005) Full image THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (2002) Full image TRAGEDY: a tragedy (2005) Full image A/VERSION OF EVENTS (2015) Full image AMERIKA (2006) Full image SHE WAS MY BROTHER (2010) Full image MIASMA (2006) Full image A PLACE IN THE SKY (2000) Full image BASH: LATTER-DAY PLAYS (2003) Full image 3 (2014) Full image   Randy Rasmussen designed his first Plan-B set for MACBETH in 1991, the second-ever Plan-B production. He worked on and off with Plan-B over the next nine years and has designed nearly every set since 2000. Although he’s departing Salt Lake City on Sunday for an exciting... read more

City Weekly’s Best of Utah ARTs Awards (formerly Arty Awards, formerly Slammy Awards)

BEST OF UTAH ARTS Salt Lake City Weekly 2015 BALLOT …we’re nominated! MAMA …on getting nominated. MAMA Pictured: Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin. A/VERSION OF EVENTS …on getting nominated. A/VERSION OF EVENTS Pictured: Latoya Rhodes. PILOT PROGRAM …on getting nominated. PILOT PROGRAM Pictured (l to r): Susanna Florence Risser, April Fossen, Mark Fossen We at Plan-B Theatre are bursting at the seams to have have been nominated again this year for Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Arts Awards! – Best Local Theatre Production: MAMA by Carleton Bluford – Best Original Play (all three slots went to Plan-B plays): MAMA by Carleton Bluford, A/VERSION OF EVENTS by Matthew Ivan Bennett and PILOT PROGRAM by Melissa Leilani Larson Although we have been nominated every year since 2000 and won 49 previous awards, this is the first year we have swept a category. And it never ceases to be exciting and humbling. Please click here to vote by August 24 to help us win our 50th City Weekly Best of Utah Arts Award! You’ll need to vote in 3 categories so we recommend voting for Latoya Rhodes (who appeared in MAMA and A/VERSION OF EVENTS) for Best Theatre Performance for Wasatch Theatre Company’s THE COLOR... read more

A Review of RUFF! by 7-year-old Lydia Riesen

“I just saw RUFF!. My Mom asked me which part I liked. I liked all the parts. I liked the whole thing! I liked the hats they wore for dog ears. I liked how soft one of the dog hats was. I got to feel it. I liked how the mean dog turned into the nice dog at the end.” Free performances of RUFF! continue Friday, August 7 at Noon and 1:30pm and Saturday, August 8 at Noon and 1:30pm downstairs at the Sprague Library (2131 S. Highland Drive). Tickets are free but required – they are available for both shows beginning at 11am each day. Part of the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival.... read more

The Downwinders of Utah

The online launch of this interactive geospatial timeline coincides with the staged reading of Mary Dickson’s EXPOSED this Sunday Beginning in 1951, the era of nuclear weapons testing was a time of tremendous change at both national and local levels. In the name of national security, a variety of thermonuclear weapons were tested in a remote area of the Nevada desert known as the Nevada Test Site. Fallout and radiation from these tests have affected communities across the nation, in many cases resulting in the loss of property, health and life. The Downwinders of Utah project presents an in-depth study of the nuclear detonations, radioactive fallout and events, which resulted in devastating effects for Utah’s Downwinder population. Through the creation of an interactive timeline, detailed information on nuclear detonations from the Nevada Test Site and fallout statistics for all Utah counties are presented through cartographic maps, animated reconstruction models, interactive motion charts and a variety of graphics related to testing methods, cloud heights and dispersal patterns. In addition to these components, this project includes historic photographs of nuclear detonations, archived newspaper articles depicting impacts and government deception imparted to residents as well as anecdotal oral histories of the era from a few of Utah’s surviving Downwinder. Click here to view the project online. For additional information regarding this project, please email Justin Sorensen, GIS Specialist, J. Willard Marriott Library or Caitlyn Tubbs, Data Visualization Specialist, J.Willard Marriott Library. Additional materials and interactive components will be added to this project as they become available. Click here and scroll down to reserve your free tickets to the Script-In-Hand Series staged reading of Mary Dickson’s EXPOSED this Sunday, August... read more

Post #416 is a re-post of the first-ever Plan-B Blog entry: Playwright Mary Dickson on writing EXPOSED

As we look ahead to the free Script-In-Hand Series reading of Mary Dickson’s EXPOSED (Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 6pm – click here for free tickets), we thought we’d digitally dial back 415 posts to the very first on the Plan-B Blog, which happens  to be by Mary, written as EXPOSED was about to receive its world premiere in 2007 (this post was also published in the October issue of Catalyst Magazine). I didn’t intend to write a play. I was writing a book about the human consequences of nuclear testing that blended my personal story as a downwinder with powerful documentation. In the summer of 2005, I was invited to spend a month as a writer-in-residence at the Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes, California to work on the manuscript. One day my book would be included on the bookshelf alongside those of previous residents – Terry Tempest Williams, Gray Brechin, Peter Barnes and so many other environmental writers I admired. I returned home that summer with a 275-page manuscript. Then, I met L.A. actress/activist Mimi Kennedy, who was in Salt Lake to speak at a political fundraiser. I told her about my thyroid cancer and my work on behalf of downwinders. It turned out she had family members in New Jersey with thyroid problems. That’s when I showed her part of my manuscript that documented how widespread fallout from nuclear testing was. I showed her how areas in New Jersey and across the country were hot spots, how thyroid problems including cancer like mine were common among people who had been exposed to fallout as children. Later that... read more

What We’re Doing This Summer (aka Three Press Releases, One Blog Post)

Jenifer Nii’s RUFF! receives its world premiere with six free public performances as part of the inaugural Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival August 6-8, 2015 Noon and 1:30pm (no performances August 9) Running time: 35 minutes Admission: Free tickets available at the door beginning at 11am on performance days Location: Sprague Branch, City Library, 2131 S. Highland Drive (downstairs) RUFF!, created specifically for grades K-3 (but accessible to children of all ages!), is a metaphorical “tail” of two shelter dogs. Axel (a shelter regular played by Tyson Baker) and Buddy (a shelter novice played by Latoya Rhodes). Together they discover what’s possible when dogs and their people learn to see past stereotypes and summon the courage to be the best they can be. Directed by Jerry Rapier. Intermountain Therapy Animals will have therapy dogs present at each performance. The use of therapy dogs, trained to interact with all humans calmly and equally, is to ensure that each human-canine interaction is a positive one. Read more from playwright Jenifer Nii in the July issue of Catalyst Magazine. RUFF! will then tour as Plan-B’s Free Elementary School Tour to more than 10,000 elementary students from Weber to Juab County, funded in part by Community Foundation of Utah, Salt Lake City Arts Council and an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Mary Dickson’s EXPOSED receives a Script-In-Hand Series reading in partnership with Utah Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (UCAN) Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 6pm Running time: 90 minutes Admission: Free, click here for tickets Location: Jeanne Wagner Theatre at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W 300 S EXPOSED places a... read more

Our 25th Anniversary Season

This blog post might read like a press release because, well, it’s a press release.  But don’t hold that against us! PLAN-B THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES FIVE EXCITING WORLD PREMIERES FOR ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY, 2015/2016 SEASON Award-winning theatre celebrates a quarter century of success with a rich lineup of world premieres celebrating music, diversity and human relationships. (Salt Lake City, UT) – Continuing our unique legacy of producing new plays by Utah playwrights, Plan-B Theatre Company announces its 25th season with a slate of world premieres. The season offers a peek into the mind of a madman and the music that created it, a haunting radio play, a humorous look at the dreariness of holiday retail, a journey through relationships past and future, and Plan-B’s first-ever new musical that features a housewife who dreams of something more. “Plan-B is committed to telling stories from a local point of view. Our 25th season takes that a step further, exploring how comfortable we feel inside our own narratives,“ says Jerry Rapier, Plan-B’s producing director. The season begins October 18, 2015, and runs through April 10, 2016. Season tickets, only $70 (a 20% savings) are available now at Plan-B’s website. THE KREUTZER SONATA by Eric Samuelsen October 18–November 9, 2015 (Also November 4, 2015, at New York’s United Solo Theatre Festival) The season opens with a harrowing exploration of the mind of a murderer, of a man driven mad by Beethoven’s music. “Music, like marriage, is but a violence and a falsehood,” says the madman (Robert Scott Smith) and both torment him to the point of no return. This cautionary tale is interwoven with a... read more

Mark Fossen on juggling two wives in PILOT PROGRAM

Mark Fossen has previously appeared in Plan-B’s THE ALIENATION EFFEKT, EXPOSED, AMERIGO, THE SCARLET LETTER, CLEARING BOMBS and the Script-In-Hand Series readings of THE NORMAL HEART, 8 and MARRY CHRISTMAS. I’ve had the chance to play some wonderfully challenging roles in my time with Plan-B: a prizewinning economist, a machiavellian schemer, a genocidist, and more. Who would think that one of the most challenging characters to inhabit would be a man who lives a few miles from where I do now, is my age, and is married to a woman who looks suspiciously like my real-life wife? PILOT PROGRAM is about a lot of things: polygamy, loneliness, family. However, the biggest step for me was the question it asks about what you would do for your faith. I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and never have been. I grew up in areas of the country where the Church is not prominent, and the first members of the Church I think I knew were when I met my wife’s family. Since moving to Utah, I understand the basics, and am familiar with a lot of the terminology, theology, and culture. But, of course, understanding is very different than a lived experience. My biggest hurdle was in the very basic premise-before-the-premise of PILOT PROGRAM: “What if you were called to serve in the restoration of polygamy?” While “polygamy” is the eye-catcher in that sentence, it was the “called” that was my biggest challenge, the thing I could not understand. While I can imagine the personal religious revelation that could inspire polygamy, I cannot imagine... read more

April Fossen on polygamy, monogamy and PILOT PROGRAM

April Fossen has previously appeared in Plan-B’s MIASMA, SHE WAS MY BROTHER, MESA VERDE, LADY MACBETH, SUFFRAGE and NOTHING PERSONAL; many a SLAM; and the Script-In-Hand Series readings of 8, MARRY CHRISTMAS. I admire polygamists. Not the Warren Jeffs variety, but the modern, Big Love-type folks. Consenting adults who are doing what we all do—working jobs, raising kids, doing their best to be good people—just with more than one wife. Okay, yes, I struggle with the patriarchal aspects of polygamy. But…those women. Here’s the thing: marriage is complicated. I never call it “hard” because I don’t think it is, just complicated. Juggling the disparate needs and wants of two people, or two people plus kids—that’s complicated. Adding god into the mix? What he/she/it wants/expects of you? That’s a whole new level of complication. And on top of that, add more wives? It’s mind-boggling. But that’s not even the reason I admire them—I guess with a good calendaring system a lot of things are more possible. What I admire is the self-sacrifice. The generosity of spirit. I guess this is where I’d have to admit that I also admire people who can maintain open marriages or polyamorous marriages. I DO NOT know how they do it. Be willing to share your partner? Do it with love and understanding? Put the needs of your partner so far above your own? I honestly can’t wrap my brain around it. And I’ve tried. I’ve been thinking and talking about these aspects of marriage pretty much nonstop (apologies, friends and loved ones) for the past year, since I first read a draft of PILOT... read more

Playwright Melissa Leilani Larson brings the awkward to PILOT PROGRAM

Melissa Leilani Larson makes her Plan-B debut with PILOT PROGRAM. An award-winning writer from Provo, Utah, her plays MARTYRS’ CROSSING (IRAM Best New Play) debuted at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Association for Mormon Letters Drama award) enjoyed a sold-out run at Brigham Young University last March. Her screenplay FREETOWN, presently filming in Ghana, will be in cinemas in April 2015. Other plays include LITTLE HAPPY SECRETS (Association for Mormon Letters Drama award), A FLICKERING (Trustus Playwrights Festival finalist), STANDING STILL STANDING (Mayhew award), and LADY IN WAITING (Lewis National Playwriting Contest for Women winner). Dramatists Guild ambassador for Utah, BA in English from BYU, MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop. I’m rather good at being awkward. The other night I went to a screening of a film I worked on. It’s probably been one of the biggest things I’ve done so far, just by sheer audience size: 750 people saw that one screening. That’s more than whole runs of shows of plays I’ve produced. A little depressing if you think about it, actually—but amazing at the same time. After the film, the filmmakers moved to the lobby where a vinyl backdrop emblazoned with the film’s title had been set up. The producer, director, distributor, composer, and myself posed for photos in front of the title backdrop. Because everyone wants to get a photo taken with a first time screenwriter, right? At one point I stepped up to take a photo with the director—just him and me. We’re friends, so I didn’t have any qualms about giving him a hug or putting an arm around him... read more

How To Love UT Give UT, Plan-B Theatre Style

WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT PLAN-B AS PART OF #LoveUTGiveUT? We asked three friends – Utah State Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Former Utah State Representative/Salt Lake City Mayoral Candidate Jackie Biskupski and actress Anne Decker – to share their thoughts about supporting Plan-B. WE INVITE YOU TO LUGU, PLAN-B STYLE: In 2013 we were supported by 118 donors at $10 each. In 2014 that number more than doubled to 250 donors at $10 each. In 2015 we hope to double that again to 500 donors at $10 each! Last year Utah FACES and Plan-B Theatre placed 1st and 2nd among Small Nonprofits, sharing $7,500 in prize money. Rather than compete with each other this year, we thought we’d work together and ask you to help us place 1st and 2nd again and share $15,000 in prize money (or even help us create the first ever LUGU tie)! The total number of unique donors, not the total amount raised, matters most. Click here to make your donation to Plan-B – your gift of $10 or more by Thursday at 11:59pm will directly support Plan-B’s work with local playwrights for the remainder of the 2014/15 season and the first half of the 2015/16 season. And click here to make your donation to Utah FACES in support of their spay and neuter program. Split $20 between us! Whether you give in advance or on the very day, please plan to  hang out with us online @planbtheatreco on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, YouTube & Facebook throughout the day to see what we’re up to and catch the announcement of our 2015/16 season – our 25th anniversary! – and/or join us and Utah FACES to... read more

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