Jenifer Nii on her play-in-progress DONNA, opening the 2018/19 Script-In-Hand Series

Jenifer Nii’s play-in-progress DONNA opens the 2018/19 Script-In-Hand Series on October 24 – click here for details and free-but-required tickets. Jenifer has premiered six plays at Plan-B: WALLACE (the first world premiere by an Asian American playwright in Utah history, co-written with Debora Threedy), THE SCARLET LETTER and SUFFRAGE (both nominated by the American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg Award for Best New American Play Produced Outside New York), RUFF! (our third annual Free Elementary School Tour), KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (music by and co-lyricist Dave Evanoff) and THE WEIRD PLAY (a co-production with Sackerson and a recipient of one of inuagural Writers Alliance grants from the Dramatists Guild Foundation). The deadline was looming and, as usual, I had nothing. It was my turn next to present something in The Lab at Plan-B, and…nothing. Which, if you know me, you know isn’t necessarily unusual in itself. I mostly write frantic, last-second drafts, fueled by panic and adrenaline. That said, I usually have something bouncing around in my brain when I know I’ve got something coming due. Little whispers in the corners of my brain, snippets of characters or nuggets of story. Just not this time. Thank goodness for public radio. One afternoon, our local affiliate carried an interview with a man who’d written about Cervantes’s classic Don Quixote. A new translation had recently hit the shelves as well, so the novel was experiencing a bit of a resurgence. Embarrassingly, I realized that my exposure to the story was limited to an alarming community theatre production of the 1965 musical, and about 20 minutes of the film featuring Peter O’Toole in the titular...

Announcing the 2018/19 Script-In-Hand Series

As the only professional theatre company in the United States producing full seasons of new work by local playwrights, we invite you to join us for three public readings of plays-in-progress. Announcing the 2018/19 Script-In-Hand Series! DONNA October 24 by Jenifer Nii A re-imagining of DON QUIXOTE: modern-day women find and face their own windmills – which, it turns out, warrant more than just tilting. SHORT PLAYS FROM THE THEATRE ARTISTS OF COLOR WRITING WORKSHOP at the Edward Lewis Theatre Festival at the City Library (Main Branch) February 10 Plays and playwrights and cast TBA. BALTHAZAR April 3 by Debora Threedy What if Portia’s appearance in court dressed as a man in Shakespeare’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE was not the first time she’d cross-dressed? An exploration of gender, gender rebels and the nature of desire. Click here for details – tickets (free but required) available September...

Subscribe to our 2018/19 Season!

We invite you to join us for our 28th season of unique and socially conscious theatre created by Utah playwrights! A season exploring how truth finds us and what we do with it once it does. A season about sexuality, race and privilege. A season about us, here, now. Click here to subscribe for only $59. a world premiere by Matthew Greene October 18-28, 2018 November 4, 2018 – United Solo Theatre Festival, New York “I’d been loved. And that changes a person.” A gay Mormon faces excommunication a week after marrying the man of his dreams. A solo play about faith, hope and catharsis. Featuring Austin Archer. Designed by Keven Myhre (set), Jerry Rapier (costumes), Matt Taylor (costumes). Stage managed by Jennifer Freed, Morag Shepherd. Directed by Jerry Rapier. From the author of ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA, featuring the author of JUMP a world premiere by Elaine Jarvik February 21-March 3, 2019 “I guarantee you there will come a time when your name won’t ring a bell among the living.” The original worst-ever (and possibly first gay) President James Buchanan and actor-assassin John Wilkes Booth defend their (in)actions before a live studio audience. A dark comedy about race, privilege, sexuality and legacy. Featuring Aaron Adams, Jason Bowcutt, Anne Brings, Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin. Designed by Cheryl Cluff (sound), Thomas George (set), David Rees (lighting), Arika Schockmel (props). Stage managed by Jennifer Freed. Directed by Cheryl Cluff. From the author of RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN., BASED ON A TRUE STORY & MARRY CHRISTMAS a world premiere by playwrights TBA March 28-April 7, 2019 “You won’t be satisfied, you never are.” An evening...

Playwright Elaine Jarvik on AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN #GiveOUTDay

Playwright Elaine Jarvik premiered MARRY CHRISTMAS, a celebration of the one-year anniversary of same-sex marriage in Utah, at Plan-B in 2014. Her latest, AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN, premieres as part of our 2018/19 season. Click here to make your #GiveOUTDay donation today. “How would you like to write a play about our first gay president?” Plan-B Theatre’s Jerry Rapier asked me in the summer of 2016. And so I began researching the life of a man I knew little about, one of those presidents who fall somewhere in the vague middle, one of those indistinguishable men with a high collar and a grim mouth. And what I discovered, of course, is that there is always more to the story. James Buchanan was the only president to live out his White House tenure as a bachelor. So there were rumors then and there are assumptions today. But the facts are slim: his best friend was Sen. William King of Alabama, who was also a bachelor, and they lived in the same rooming house in Washington; some said then that King was Buchanan’s “better half;” they were referred to as “Miss Nancy” and “Miss Fancy.” And, finally, Buchanan once wrote a letter to a friend in which he bemoaned the fact that Sen. King had been appointed minister to France: “I am now ‘solitary and alone,’ having no companion in the house with me,” he wrote. “I have gone a-wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them.” And that’s pretty much it: some innuendoes and a few letters, which we filter through our 21st century understanding...

Actor Robert Scott Smith on #GiveOUTDay

Robert Scott Smith has played gay characters for Plan-B in BASH: LATTERDAY PLAYS, MARRY CHRISTMAS and, most recently, THE ICE FRONT. Click here to make your #GiveOUTDay donation today. One of my jobs as an actor is to create a believable character under imaginary circumstances. There is no requirement that I have to have experienced, in real-life, that character’s particular given circumstances. Now, I could choose to be Daniel Day-Lewis and immerse myself into the role by becoming a carpenter or I could just use my imagination. This same imagination that I have to use all the time when it comes to playing straight. I’ve gotten so good at it that many people say to me, ‘you sure you aren’t straight?’, to which my internal response is, ‘I think that’s supposed to be a compliment.’ Over my 17 years as a professional actor I have only played six LGBTQ+ identified characters, three of them at Plan-B. One of those was actually closeted and played right into the trope that closeted gay men often gay bash. LGBTQ+ characters have come a long way since that role and one such role was Anders in THE ICE FRONT by Eric Samuelsen, produced this season by Plan-B. During the rehearsal process I was speaking with our director, Jerry Rapier, about the relief I felt as an actor that I could just play this role without having to play into the narrative, ‘Are you sure you aren’t straight?’ I’ve spent my entire life always having to look over my shoulder, following an instinct to protect myself, to act straight. It’s a constant. In this...

Playwright Matthew Greene on GOOD STANDING #GiveOUTDay

Playwright Matthew Greene premiered his play ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA at Plan-B in 2013; it then played the New York International Fringe Festival. His latest, GOOD STANDING, opens our 2018/19 season and will also play the United Solo theatre festival in New York. Click here to make your #GiveOUTDay donation today. It’s possible that if I hadn’t spent so many years in the proverbial closet I never would’ve become a writer. It’s the oldest story in the book, isn’t it? Creativity born out of private pain. I spent my days playing the perfect Mormon, slipping that ill-fitting costume on over the self I’d learned to loathe and trying my best to walk a path that was, frankly, killing me. My solace in those dark days was the pen and the page. In the fictional worlds I crafted, nothing could stop me from exploring the tantalizing gray areas and questioning tenets of belief that were supposed to be taken as gospel. I was an undergrad at Brigham Young University (that’s right, Mormon Mecca) when Proposition 8 rocked California and, in turn, the world. Desperate to make sense of the divisive and disturbing rhetoric I heard every day, I wrote a play called ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA, exploring what the gay marriage debate did to two friends, one openly gay and the other openly Mormon. After nearly getting me kicked out of school, the play received its world premiere at Plan-B Theatre in 2013. People were quick to identify Adam, the devout church member, as my onstage stand-in, but who, they all seemed to ask...

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