KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

World Premiere
Book and Lyrics by Jenifer Nii
Music and Lyrics by David Evanoff
March 31-April 10, 2016
Th & F @ 8, Sat @ 4 & 8, Sun @ 2
SOLD OUT!

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The first original musical in our history is a quest for self-acceptance in a culture focused on perfection and one Mormon housewife’s desire to do it in drag.

Marriage, motherhood, and faith were enough for MaryJane (Jeanette Puhich, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS)—until one day she opens her mouth to sing and finds her true self. Now her newfound direction threatens to alienate her husband (David Hanson) and closest friend (Susanna Florence, PILOT PROGRAM) and destroy the life she’s worked so hard to build. A poignant portrait of one woman who realizes her true nature and has the courage to give it a voice. Directed by Jerry Rapier.

From the author of WALLACE (co-written with Debora Threedy), THE SCARLET LETTER, SUFFRAGE and RUFF! and the musical director of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH and the composer of six RADIO HOUR episodes. 

Photos | Bios

THE COMPANY

*AEA  ^ SDC  **USA

David Evanoff (Music & Lyrics/Musical Director/Sound Engineer) has partnered with Plan-B as musical director of three productions of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH and several installments of AND THE BANNED PLAYED ON, as well as the composer of six RADIO HOUR episodes. KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is his first original musical. Owner of Sound Design Studios, David has produced and written award-winning music and soundtracks for film and television and special events including Disneyland, Universal Studios and the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Susanna Florence (Brenda) is thrilled to be returning to Plan-B after appearing in PILOT PROGRAM and the Script-In-Hand Series reading of CARAVAN at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. She has also been seen recently in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS at Pioneer Theatre Company. Susanna is a company member of the Davis (CA) Shakespeare Festival, where she has recently appeared in TWELFTH NIGHT, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, MACBETH and SHE LOVES ME. She holds an MFA from The National Theatre Conservatory. Much love to GK, Van, Josie, Coco and Augie.

Jennifer Freed* (Stage Manager) is proud to be part of Plan-B’s 25th season. She has managed nearly every production since 1998: favorites include GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!, SUFFRAGE, MESA VERDE, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (all three productions)! and MAMA, to name just a few. “Big thanks to Jerry and Cheryl for letting me continue working with Plan-B!”

Thomas George (Set Designer) previously designed Plan-B’s BASED ON A TRUE STORY. A former Adjunct Instructor of Theatre at the University of Utah, he holds an MFA from UCSD and a BFA from the U of U. Other designs include CLIMBING WITH TIGERS (Salt Lake Acting Company), SELMA ’65, MOCKINGBIRD and HELLMAN V. MCCARTHY (PYGmalion Theatre Company), A FLEA IN HER EAR, THE ADDING MACHINE and REASONS TO BE PRETTY (U of U guest designer), TWELFTH NIGHT and YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN (Salt Lake Shakespeare), HAMLET (Brooklyn Gallery Players), YOU ARE HERE (Gene Frankel Theatre in New York), THE MISANTHROPE (Mandel Weiss Forum Theatre, UCSD) and AS YOU LIKE IT (Potiker Theatre, UCSD).

David Hanson (Joe) is a newcomer to Plan-B’s stage. His recent local credits include YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES and THE CRUCIBLE (Grand Theatre), SWEENEY TODD ( A.R.T.E.) ’and the U.S. premiere of NOT THE MESSIAH. David has also directed recent shows such as THE LAST FIVE YEARS (Grand Theatre), FIVE LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE (Silver Summit Theatre Company), WAIT UNTIL DARK (Covey Center for the Arts) and THE MUSICAL COMEDY MURDERS OF 1940 (Springville Arts Council).

Phillip R. Lowe (Costume Designer) has designed for Plan-B for more than a decade, most recently BASED ON A TRUE STORY and THE KREUTZER SONATA. He is currently Director of Costumes and Wardrobe for Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Performing Arts at Weber State University. Phil also serves on the design respondents panel for Region 8 of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He is a member of USITT and an MFA graduate of Utah State University.

Jenifer Nii (Book & Lyrics) previously premiered her plays RUFF!, WALLACE, THE SCARLET LETTER and SUFFRAGE at Plan-B. She is a two-time nominee for American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg Award for Best New American Play Produced Outside New York for the latter two. She considers it a tremendous honor to have created KINGDOM OF HEAVEN with Dave Evanoff. When she is not writing, Jen is a professional dog trainer and animal rescue advocate.

Jesse Portillo** (Lighting Designer) has designed for Plan-B since 2007. His favorite Plan-B productions include HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, BLOCK 8, EXPOSED, AMERIGO, ERIC(A) and SHE WAS MY BROTHER. He has also designed Lighting for Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake Acting Company, Salt Lake Shakespeare, PYGmalion Theatre Company, Grand Theatre, LOOK Musical Theatre, Baylor University, Mobile Opera and Millikin University. Proud member, USITT and United Scenic Artists Local 829.

Jeanette Puhich* (MJ) is very excited to return to Plan-B, where she has been seen in CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS, SLAM (the first one ever) and two productions of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. Her many Salt Lake Acting Company credits include BAD DATES, SWIMMING IN THE SHALLOWS, MERE MORTALS, GUNMETAL BLUES, SATURDAY’S VOYEUR, CABBIES, COWBOYS AND THE TREE OF THE WEEPING VIRGIN and RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN. Jeanette has also worked locally for The Grand Theatre, Park City’s Egyptian Theatre, PYGmalion Theatre Company and Utah Contemporary Theatre. Originally from Seattle, she performed at Pioneer Square Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Tacoma Actors Guild, The Group Theatre and The Cabaret de Paris before moving to Salt Lake City. She has also been very involved in Utah’s television, movie and voiceover industry, where her credits include Touched By An Angel, Promised Land, Everwood, Mobsters & Mormons and Gentleman Broncos. Jeanette holds a BS in Theatre Arts from the University of Idaho.

Jerry Rapier^ (Director) saw his first Plan-B production, ANCIENT HOUSE, in 1998. In a crazy turn of events, he became the company’s Artistic Director in 2000 and has since directed MOLLY SWEENEY, THE LARAMIE PROJECT, MY LEFT BREAST, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (x3), ANIMAL FARM, PATIENT A, AMERIKA (also Toronto’s Fringe Festival), FACING EAST (also off-Broadway), EXPOSED (also Utah tour), GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!, (x2), THE TRICKY PART, BLOCK 8, DI ESPERIENZA, WALLACE, AMERIGO, SHE WAS MY BROTHER, BORDERLANDS, LADY MACBETH, THE THIRD CROSSING, ERIC(A) (also United Solo), NOTHING PERSONAL, DIFFERENT=AMAZING, MAMA, PILOT PROGRAM, RUFF!, THE KREUTZER SONATA (also United Solo) and BOOKSMART. He is grateful every day for Plan-B, his husband Kirt and their son Oscar.


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...

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...

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