KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
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
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.
From the Playwright | Press
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*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.
I tend to think we all have something we hold dear that, once challenged, would throw us into a tailspin.
I had no idea what a Drag King was.
I didn’t know that they even existed.
How is that possible?
In Jenifer Nii’s play, MaryJane, the central character, has an iPad and Garage Band and has discovered a knack for writing music.
MJ finds confidence performing as a drag king; it helps her begin to see herself as she truly is. Isn’t that what we all want? For our family and friends to look at us and see our authentic selves?