Saturday's Voyeur 2011

By Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht 

Description

Closing out Salt Lake Acting Company’s 2010/2011 Season is the ever-popular, political musical satire Saturday’s Voyeur, written for us, about us each year by Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht.

Cast & Creative

Austin_ArcherAustin Archer marks this as his first 'official' summer as part of the cast of SATURDAY’S VOYEUR, last year he joined the sold out show for it's week long extension run as Tonto and only partially lost his VOYEUR Virginity as they say. Other SLAC credits include Shye in the NPSS reading of TRENCHCOAT IN COMMON and Haemon in TOO MUCH MEMORY. He is currently pursuing a degree in acting/directing from Weber State University where some of his favorite roles included: Millett in FUDDY MEERS, Slim in COWBOY MOUTH, Lee Harvey Oswald in ASSASSINS, and Aaron Kriefels in THE LARAMIE PROJECT. He recently won a Best of Festival award at the Kennedy Center American College Theater festival for his choreography in Weber State's production of UNDER CONSTRUCTION. When Austin isn't fueling his acting habit, he's either playing music with one of his two bands (another dangerous addiction), or tearing your tickets here at SLAC as part of the house management team. Now sit back, drink up, and enjoy the show!

Alexis_Baigue005Alexis Baigue returns for his 11th summer in SATURDAY’S VOYEUR 2011.  Other credits include: GOODNIGHT DESDEMONA (GOOD MORNING JULIET), ANGELS IN AMERICA: Millennium Approaches, staged readings MOTHER COLLEGE, THE LIVELY LAD, BUNBURY, THE CANCER DIARIES, CHARM, PROPHETS OF NATURE, and ANGELS IN AMERICA: Perestroika (S.L.A.C.), DEAR WORLD (Sundance Summer Theatre), BEYOND THERAPY, THE SEX HABITS OF AMERICAN WOMEN (Pygmalion), THE BOYS IN THE BAND (Wasatch), SURFIN’ SAFARI (Desert Star Playhouse), JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS, SPEAKEASIE (TheatreWorks West), ANASTASIA (StageRight), WIT (Emily Company), NO EXIT (SallyFourth), SUMMER AND SMOKE, CABARET, RHINOCEROS, QUEEN CHRISTINA, ANTIGONE, THE RIMERS OF ELDRITCH, (University of Utah), YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, THE TREE OF LACE (Salt Lake Community College); staged readings: THE UNDERPANTS, THE VIOLET HOUR, THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE, MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE (Utah Contemporary Theatre), WISH UPON, BOX KITE (Avalon Isle), RECTUM!, CUP, (First Unitarian), and THE IMMACULATE ABORTION (U of U).  Q Salt Lake’s readers voted him this year’s Fabby Award winner for Best Performance by a Local Actor.

Randall_EamesRandall Eames just graduated Magna Cum Laude from Weber State University with a degree in Theatre Arts.  This is his first show at SLAC and he is humbled by the opportunity to work with such a gifted group of people.  Some of his favorite roles include:  one of the guys in THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE ABRIDGED, Flute in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, Roy Johnson in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, part of the company of UNDER CONSTRUCTION and Willard in FOOTLOOSE.  Randall would like to thank all of his friends and family for their endless support and the patrons of SATURDAY’S VOYEUR for letting him do what he loves six times a week!

Steven_FehrSteven Fehr is happy to return to the Salt Lake Acting Company for another edition of SATURDAY’S VOYEUR. In addition to performing in the previous two VOYEURS at SLAC, Steven has also performed at Pioneer Theatre Company in such shows as SUNSET BOULEVARD, WHITE CHRISTMAS, DRACULA, ROMEO AND JULIET, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, AND MY FAIR LADY; the Old Lyric Repertory Company in such shows as BLOOD BROTHERS, THE BOYS NEXT DOOR, and THE LION IN THE WINTER; the Egyptian Theatre Company in such shows as SWEENEY TODD and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS; and numerous shows at the Desert Star Theatre, the Great American Melodrama, and the Melodrama Musical Theatre. Steven also played Sal Antonucci in the Las Vegas company of TONY AND TINA’S WEDDING at the Rio Hotel and Casino and had the pleasure of playing Rooster to Sally Struther’s Miss Hannigan in ANNIE at the Nevada Conservatory Theatre.  Steven would like to thank Isaias, Mom, his family, and God for all that they do for him.  Steven is a proud member of Actors’ Equity.

Holly_FowersHolly Fowers is very excited to be a part of SATURDAY'S VOYEUR this summer.  She was last seen at SLAC as Barbara in BOOM.  Local credits include Claire in PROOF, Artie in ELEEMOSYNARY, Friar Laurence in ROMEO AND JULIET with Pinnacle Acting Company and Linda in SEARCHING FOR DAVID'S HEART with Shalom Theatre Company. Other favorite credits include: CLOUD 9 (Balagan Theatre), OEDIPUS, SONG OF SONGS (Akropolis Performance Lab), MACBETH, MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, AS YOU LIKE IT (WA Shakespeare Festival), EDUCATING RITA (Riptide Theatre) and SHAKESPEARE'S R & J (Artswest) in Seattle.

Kent_Harrison_HayesKent Harrison Hayes Ec•sta•sy (n) (Not the drug) 1. The feeling that Kent Harrison Hayes experienced when told he’d been cast in the 2011 production of SATURDAY’S VOYEUR. Indeed, Kent is ecstatic about his return to SLAC and his 5th production of VOYEUR. Some of Kent’s other stage roles include SONGS FROM THE STAGE: A CONCERT IN KAYENTA, MY FAIR LADY, CRAZY EIGHTS, FIDDLERS ON THE ROOF, HMS PINAFORE, GEORGE M!, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, CANDIDE and PIPPIN, as well as recently hosting the fundraiser for the Salt Lake Film Society. Kent has also just wrapped production on his award-winning script for the short film, THE SISTER WIVES, in which he starred, co-produced and co-directed. Kent’s TV credits include featured roles in Star Trek: Deep Space NineRobotech. Work on feature films includes voices for Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles and scoring two animated features for Nickelodeon TV; Peter of Placid Forest and The Adventures of Manx Mouse. Kent’s photo collages have been featured in galleries in Utah and southern California. He is a proud member of AEA, SAG, AFTRA and Songwriters Guild of America.

Kelsie_JepsenKelsie Jepsen loves SATURDAY'S VOYEUR so much she decided she had to temporarily leave New York so that she could spend her summer at Salt Lake Acting Company. Best. Decision. Ever! Previous Salt Lake Acting Company credits include: SATURDAY’S VOYEUR ’09 and SAM I WAS. Other Utah credits: REEFER MADNESS for Dark Horse Company Theatre, MY BIG FAT UTAH WEDDING and NUTCRACKER MEN IN TIGHTS for Desert Star, SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK LIVE! for The Grand, and I OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES for Utah Theatre Artists Company. Kelsie is a native of Sandy, Utah and a proud graduate of the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah. After graduation she moved to Minneapolis, MN to act with The Children's Theatre Company and some of her favorite credits there include: THE BIG FRIENDLY GIANT (BFG), ANTIGONE, TALE OF A WEST TEXAS MARSUPIAL GIRL, SEUSSICAL and THE MAGIC MRS. PIGGLE WIGGLE. Kelsie is a proud member of Actor's Equity

 

Jacob_JohnsonJacob Johnson is ecstatic to return to SLAC for his sixth production of VOYEUR! He was the producer/emcee of the CastPartySLC cabaret series at SLAC. He has been seen at many theatres throughout the Wasatch Front, including Pioneer Theatre Company, Egyptian Theatre Company, Hale Center Theatre, The Grand, Off-Broadway Theatre, Rodgers Memorial Theatre, and many others throughout Utah and California. Favorite credits include: THE SECRET GARDEN (Dickon), FORUM (Hysterium), HOW TO SUCCEED...(Bud Frump), SOUTH PACIFIC (Lt. Buzz Adams), THE FANTASTICKS (Matt), CHARLEY'S AUNT (Jack), DAMN YANKEES (Rocky), and NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS (Psychiatrist). He is a graduate of the University of Utah and is a proud member of Actor's Equity since 2005.

 

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Shannon Musgrave is thrilled to be back for her third VOYEUR. Last year she was privileged to play the tea-drinking wife who beat her husband with a hammer, and the year before she tackled the role of the Mormon mother of the Freebe Family. Shannon also played Hattie, the fabulous pink poodle in SLAC’s first children’s play, GO, DOG. GO! and in this season’s New Play Sounding Series she read the role of Dell in Kathleen Cahill’s COURSE 86B IN THE CATALOGUE. Other local credits include 42ND STREET (Pioneer Theatre Co.), MUSICAL OF MUSICALS and SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK (The Grand Theatre), ROMEO & JULIET and THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Pinnacle Acting Co.) Shannon also choreographed last season’s OLIVER! at the Grand Theatre and has been Dance Captain for the past three years of Saturday's Voyeur. Shannon received her BA in Musical Theatre from Weber State University, and is privileged to work as the Executive Assistant for the Salt Lake Acting Company.

Victoria_Elena_NonesVictoria Elena Nones is thankful to be joining the talented cast and crew of SATURDAY’S VOYEUR for her second year in a row after playing the notorious Sarah P. in last year's production. She is proud to be part of this longstanding tradition, and is excited to be spending her final summer in SLC laughing the days away with her SLAC family. Victoria graduated this spring from the University of Utah with a BFA in Stage Management and a Minor in Gender Studies. Her education also includes being an alumnus of Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts and AMDA Los Angeles. She directed THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES at the U of U 2010 and 2011, as well as directs/owns a local burlesque troupe in SLC (BackDoor Burlesque). Favorite Utah acting credits include: Marys Deity in THE LILY’S REVENGE at Sundance Institute's Summer Theatre Lab, Mayzie La Bird in SUESSICAL! at the Egyptian Theatre, and Lead Singer/Dance Captain for TWIST THE NIGHT AWAY at Zion Canyon Theatre. She is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.

Jeanette_PuhichJeanette Puhich is very happy to return to SLAC after appearing most recently in SATURDAY’S VOYEUR 2010, THE WATER PROJECT, SWIMMING IN THE SHALLOWS and as Haley Walker in BAD DATES.  Other SLAC credits include: GUNMETAL BLUES, NAPOLEON’S CHINA, MERE MORTALS, THE RIDE DOWN MOUNT MORGAN, THE BEARD OF AVON and CABBIES, COWBOYS AND THE TREE OF THE WEEPING VIRGIN, as well as several runs of SATURDAY’S VOYEUR.  Other Utah credits include: Yitzak in HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH for Plan-B Theatre, Rosie in BYE BYE BIRDIE at the Grand Theatre, Janet in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW at the Institute of Terror and ALL IN REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City.  Jeanette is originally from Seattle, Washington where she performed at Pioneer Square Theatre, The Group Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Tacoma Actor’s Guild and The Cabaret de Paris.  Jeanette also works in the television, film and voice over industry. She most recently filmed "Sister Wives” in St George Utah.  Jeanette holds a Bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Idaho.

John_RowlandJohn Rowland is a showman with a knack for eccentric characters with ridiculous voices.  You may have had the opportunity to see and hear some of them recently in GREATER TUNA last January, where John had the honor of acting alongside Salt Lake stage stalwart Charles Frost.  John is thrilled and overjoyed to make his SLAC debut in this year's VOYEUR -- literally a dream come true. John would like to thank all his friends and clients at Ability & Choice Services who daily remind him of the value and power of his heart and constantly supply him with real-world improvisational experience.  Many thanks are also due his fellow cast members -- here's to 4 months together!!

 

 

 

 

Playwrights
Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht

Choreographer/Director
Cynthia Fleming

Musical Director
Kevin Mathie

Stage Manager
Janice Jenson

Assistant Stage Manager
Penny Pendleton

Costume Co-Designers
Peter Terry & Brenda Van der Wiel

Lighting Designer
Jim Craig

Set Designer
Keven Myhre

Sound Designer
Josh Martin

Press & Reviews

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | Salt Lake Acting Company extends their run of Saturday's Voyeur 2011 | August 22, 2011

City Weekly | Salt Lake Acting Company: Saturday's Voyeur 2011 | July 21, 2011

KUER: Dan Nailen | Saturday's Voyeur Gets Political| July 8, 2011

Q Salt Lake | The feral and wacko cast of 'Saturday's Voyeur' | Tony Hobday | July 4, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune | Tea Party-steeped 'Saturday's Voyeur' is a strange brew of Utah quirks | Ben Fulton | June 30, 2011

In Utah This Week | Theater Preview: 'Saturday's Voyeur 2011' | Daisy Blake | June 28, 2011

Gavin's Underground | Saturday's Voyeur 2011 | Gavin Sheehan | June 24, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune | 'Saturday's Voyeur' throws a tea party | Ben Fulton | June 23, 2011

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | Founding fathers take on Tea Partiers in SLAC's Saturday's Voyeur 2011 | Jenniffer Wardell | June 17, 2011

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | Get your bowling shoes on for Salt Lake Acting Company's upcoming fundraiser| Jenniffer Wardell | June 9, 2011

Circle Mirror Transformation

By Annie Baker

Winner of 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play
April 13-May 8, 2011

Director Adrianne Moore

Description

A free-spirited teacher, her hippy husband, a newly single carpenter, a flirty former actress and an over-achieving 16-year-old begin a six-week creative drama class in a small Vermont town.

Ak mak, goulash, hula hoops, and secrets...

Cast & Creative Team

shelbyandersonbwSHELBY ANDERSEN (Lauren) is thrilled to be making her debut at Salt Lake Acting Company in Circle Mirror Transformation! Shelby is a junior in the musical theatre department at Weber State University. Some of her favorite roles include Olive Ostrovsky in THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, TiMoune in ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, and Dorine Tenbrook in Jim Christian and Tom Clark's SLEEPY HOLLOW. Shelby has performed at Kingsbury Hall, The Egyptian, Rodgers Memorial Theatre and Babcock Theatre as well as Valenciennes, France and San Diego, California with Youth Theatre at the U. She is so excited about Circle Mirror Transformation and the opportunity to perform at SLAC!

colleenbaumbwCOLLEEN BAUM (Marty) is happy to be back at Salt Lake Acting Company. She was last seen at SLAC in ANGELS IN AMERICA.  Other SLAC credits include GO DOG GO, END DAYS, SEX STING, RABBIT HOLE, KIMBERLY AKIMBO, CABBIES COWBOYS AND THE TREE OF THE WEEPING VIRGIN and THE WATER PROJECT. At Plan-B Theatre Company in the LARAMIE PROJECT: 10 YEARS LATER, AN EPILOGUE, LARAMIE PROJECT, ANIMAL FARM, WAR OF THE WORLDS, AND THE BANNED PLAYED ON, TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY and SLAM; and the Old Lyric Repertory Company in BLITHE SPIRIT, MOUSETRAP, ALWAYS PATSY CLINE, GOODNIGHT DESDEMONA GOOD MORNING JULIET, SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS, BLOOD BROTHERS, POOL'S PARADISE, and THE UNEXPECTED GUEST.  Colleen is a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association.

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MICHAEL TODD BEHRENS (Schultz) is very happy to be returning to SLAC.  Previous SLAC appearances have been Tom inSIX YEARS, Michael in ROUNDING THIRD, Jaisu in POLISH JOKE and Bill in LOBBY HERO, as well as two SATURDAY’S VOYEURS.  Other local credits include PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at Pioneer Theatre Company as well as HENRY V, THREE MUSKETEERS, COMEDY OF ERRORS, PEER GYNT, ST. JOAN AND THE MISER.  Elsewhere Michael has appeared as Hamlet for TheaterWorks West, Lloyd in NOISES OFF, Sydney in LIGHT UP THE SKY, Froggy in THE FOREIGNER, Jane/Lord Edgar in THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP, Durdles in THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, and Clotaldo in LIFE IS A DREAM all for Creede Repertory Theater.  Michael can be seen and heard in countless radio and television spots as well as film.  Michael is a graduate of The University of Utah’s Actor Training Program and is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association.

andraharboldbwALEXANDRA HARBOLD (Theresa) Local credits: SIX YEARS, ICE GLEN (Salt Lake Acting Company), HAMLET (Pioneer Theatre Company), LIVING OUT, FAT PIG (Pygmalion Theatre), and DANCING AT LUGHNASA, THE SEAGULL (Pinnacle Acting Company).   Other credits include: FANTASIO (Theatre Row Theatre/NYC), MRS. KLEIN (NXT/London), and IN PERPETUITY THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE (AFA/Houston). Directing credits: THE PERSIAN QUARTER and NPSS readings of T.I.C., THE PERSIAN QUARTER, and PROPHETS OF NATURE (SLAC), ROMEO AND JULIET, RABBIT HOLE, and THREE DAYS OF RAIN (PAC), Script-in-Hand readings and SLAM (Plan-B).  Education: BA, Middlebury College; Masters in Performance Studies, University of London Goldsmith’s College. Training: SITI Company’s Summer Intensive at Skidmore.

morganlundMORGAN LUND (James) last seen here, as Creon in TOO MUCH MEMORY is very excited to return to SLAC. Morgan and his wife Jinni are the Artistic Director and Producing Director of The OtherSide Players a new professional acting company in residence at the Rio Theatre in Helper Utah. They have just completed their first season which included the plays: THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE…… ABRIDGED, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE, GREATER TUNA AND THE PRICE. Morgan has been a professional actor/writer/producer/director/teacher and artist for 30 years. A union member in three U.S. union affiliations Morgan has worked with LORT Theatres, Film, Television, Radio, Print, Small Business, Corporate America, World Class Opera and Orchestras, Dance Companies, Theme Parks, Universities and Colleges all around the United States and beyond. An actor since 1980 Morgan has appeared in over 200 plays. He has been a resident company member with the prestige’s Hilberry Acting Company (1977-80), The Cleveland Play House Resident Acting Company (1980-88). A freelance actor since 1988 he has worked with companies that include Center Stage, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, New City Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, CAT CO, Shakespeare and Company, Dobama Theatre, Porthouse Theater, Pioneer Theatre Company and many more. He has shared the stage with Arthur Miller, Austin Pendleton, Derek Wolcott, Johnny Bolt, Roger Danforth and Tina Packer to name just a few. As a television and film actor, Morgan has been in some very good and some not so good films. He once had three different feature films running on HBO at the same time, in one of which he died…horribly! He has also been a guest artist with the Sundance Film Lab on many occasions and is currently waiting the release of the German made film REMEMBER I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU.

Press & Reviews

City Weekly | Salt Lake Acting Company: Circle Mirror Transformation | Scott Renshaw | April 21, 2011

UTBA | See yourself in Circle Mirror Transformation | Amber Peck | April 19, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune | Actors go the rounds in SLAC’s superb ‘Circle’ | Ben Fulton | April 16, 2011

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | Laughter, tears and beauty in 'Circle Mirror Transformation' at SLAC | Jenniffer Wardell

Salt Lake City Blogs: Gavin's Underground | SLAC: Circle Mirror Transformation | Gavin Sheehan | April 13, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune | ‘Circle Mirror Transformation’: Finding meaning between the lines | Ben Fulton | April 7, 2011

In Utah This Week | Arts Preview: 'Circle Mirror Transformation' at SLAC | Daisy Blake | April 5, 2011

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | Braving creativity at Salt Lake Acting Company’s Circle Mirror Transformation | Jenniffer Wardell | April 1, 2011

SLAC Sparks

ANNIE BAKER grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her full-length plays include Circle Mirror Transformation (Playwrights Horizons, OBIE Award for Best New American Play, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), The Aliens (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, OBIE Award for Best New American Play), Body Awareness (Atlantic Theater Company, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play/Emerging Playwright) and Nocturama. Her work has also been produced and developed at the Bush Theatre in London, New York Theatre Workshop, MCC Theater, Soho Repertory, The Orchard Project, Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Ars Nova, Huntington Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater, Z-Space/Theatre Artaud, Magic Theatre, The Cape Cod Theatre Project, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Utah and Ucross, Wyoming.  Ms. Baker is a member of New Dramatists, MCC’s Playwrights Coalition and EST, and an alumna of Youngblood, Ars Nova’s Play Group and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab.  Recent honors include a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nomination, a Lilly Award, a Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship, and a MacDowell fellowship.  An anthology of her work, The Vermont Plays, is forthcoming from TCG in 2011.  MFA, Mac Wellman’s playwriting program at Brooklyn College.

Word of Mouth

What people are saying about Circle Mirror Transformation...

"Amazing! Funny, and... I admit very close to some of my own memorable situations... Too close once or twice. Great Job!" - Jayne Maxwell-Butler

"Opening night was great! What a cast, we loved every minute!" - Deena Marie Manzanares

"Loved the show, great work by everyone!" - Jason Bowcutt

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"Salt Lake Acting Company did it again. Must see Circle Mirror Transformation! This play offers something for everyone... Our whole family loved it! Also, this is the time to renew your season tickets. Great entertainment for a great price! You'll love it!" - Joan Brinton

"I was thrilled that Circle Mirror Transformation wasn’t a neat little packaged play that answered all my questions.  It surprised me and made me think." - Amber Peck (Utah Theatre Bloggers Association)

"Great show! A lot of fun!" - Cindi Romney Evans

"This was an excellent play, my favorite of this season!" - Jennifer Stone

In the Room

March 8, 2011

A Celebration of 25 Years of Transformations at Salt Lake Acting Company
In the Room with SLAC Joint Executive Director & Resident Set Designer Keven Myhre

Empty_setSLAC. How did you become a Set Designer? 

KEVEN MYHRE. It all started back in nursery school.  We were living in England at the time.  Because my brothers were in school, they got to go see a play.  I wasn’t old enough yet because I wasn’t in proper school, I was only in nursery school.  So I was taken to see a play of Cinderella; the only thing I remember about it was that the pumpkin turned into a carriage – and it was the most magical thing I had ever experienced in my life.  So then, whenever I had the opportunity to see a play, I would go.  I remember there were times when no one else in my class would go, so my parents would drop me off and pick me up.

In high school, I took some tech classes from Carol LaForge and worked on some shows.  I built my first model for The Miracle WORKER and was just intrigued by the whole process of designing a show. 

Later I was fortunate enough to see a movie called The Day of the Locust, based on a novel by Nathanael West.  It dealt with a theatre designer who went to Hollywood, and I thought, “They have people who do that job.  There’s a job out there.”  It’s a really a dark ’70s movie with Karen Black and Donald Sutherland about everyone flocking to Hollywood to transform their lives.  The movie captures the glamour versus the façade of Hollywood. And I realized that there were people that designed sets for a living.

Then I went to the U, and I was undecided on my major.  I happened to be in a general theatre class, and one of the requirements was that you had to attend a certain number of outside events.  The world-famous opera designer Robert O’Hearn came in to speak at the Babcock.  I don’t know how they got him here or what it was about it, but it just interested me, so I went – and it just clicked – “He’s making a living doing this.  I can, too.”  That was in the spring quarter, so the next year I just went into theatre. 

I took set design classes from Pioneer Memorial Theatre Resident Set Designer Ron Crosby, who was just an incredible artist and stage designer.   I took Beth Novak’s costume class; she suggested that I try designing costumes, so I did that.  Peter Willardson was the Lighting Designer at that time, and I did some lighting design.  I was fortunate enough to get paid for my first design out at the Lagoon Opera House.  I showed Robert Hyde Wilson some of my class designs and he said, “Here’s the script for DAMES AT SEA.  Go ahead and draw up some sketches for me, and I’ll see if I hire you.”  

The CaretakerMy first show with Salt Lake Acting Company was two one acts: BIGFOOT STOLE MY WIFE and MONTANA.  Ron Carlson wrote BIGFOOT STOLE MY WIFE, a comedy of monologues ripped from the tabloid headlines in which the characters came to life on stage.  The second one act was MONTANA by David Kranes, which was about a successful daughter coming home to her mother. 

SLAC.  Were there two distinct sets?

KEVEN. Essentially, the set for BIGFOOT STOLE MY WIFE was a series of slides, which gave the tabloid headline for that particularly character.   For MONTANA, the set was a mountainscape with suggestive cutouts.

SLAC.  Were you an artist prior to becoming a Set Designer? 

KEVEN. I had art classes in junior high.  The art class that I took my freshman year of high school was taught by the football coachThen in college, I took all the art classes I could in association with theatre.  I give credit to Maureen O’Hara Ure for really teaching me how to draw.  Her class was the first time where everything just clicked – that it was a craft.  It both solidified me and just really opened me up. 

SLAC.  Were you designing sets here at SLAC while you were at the U?

KEVEN.  No, while I was in school, I did volunteer work at Salt Lake Acting Company… My first volunteer job here was MULEBONES by Al Brown.  A friend of mine had designed the set for the show.  It was still a new space for SLAC; there was no air conditioning, the seats were folding chairs… The play was set out in the desert, so they wanted sand in the theatre.  I don’t know how long it took.   We got a wheelbarrow and planks and just hauled and hauled and hauled sand upstairs into the theatre.   At the time, SLAC got a cat named Mulebones, who had the run of the building.  That’s why I’m so opposed to having animals in a theatre now; if you give a cat a kitty litter box, it will use it… 

My first paying job at SLAC was when SATURDAY’S VOYEUR featured a spoof with Barney Clark, the first recipient of the Jarvik artificial heart, and they had a heart machine that I helped build as a prop.  I helped build props for shows here and there.  Then in ’86 I did the set design for David Kranes’ MONTANA and Ron Carlson’s BIGFOOT STOLE MY WIFE. 

After that I went to the University of Michigan and got my Masters in Set Design.  I had my ambitions of being a New York-based designer.  I did interviews at Yale and NYU thinking that’s where I wanted to go.  I got accepted at NYU with a minor partial scholarship.  I did not get accepted at Yale.  I did the URTAs to do interviews and to brush up on speaking about my designs in front of groups; the URTAs had a big cattle call where you had five minutes to show your designs and sketches to an audience of professors from around the country.  I was surprised that a lot of the schools wanted a follow-up interview with me.  

The University of Michigan had two designers who were working out of New York City at the time: Laura Crow and Richard Nelson; Laura Crow had BURN THIS on Broadway and Richard Nelson was the designer for Into the Woods with Peter Beudert, a regional Set Designer.  The University of Michigan offered me a full ride.  When I weighed the partial scholarship at NYU and the full ride and connections offered by the University of Michigan, I made the decision to go to the University of Michigan… There was also a real variety of strong performing arts programs, including an incredible opera department.  You could design opera; you could design musical theatre.  They had a mainstage theatre and two smaller spaces. 

Your third year you had an internship away from college, and I was able to get an internship with Victor Di Napoli on Sesame Street and did that for a season, and then I did scene painting work back here, and it just evolved into where I am today.  I had every intention to go back to New York; my stuff was in storage in my aunt’s house in Jersey.  It was there for five years after I had come back and was working here.

SLAC.  What year did you come back?

KEVEN.  I think it was ’90 – or ’91.  A long time ago now. 

SLAC.  So you gave up New York to work at SLAC for 5 cents an hour. 

KEVEN.  What was interesting is that I was designing costumes and sets around town, and I didn’t have anything else lined up.  I was doing costume design for a Babcock show that was going to be ending, and I had a show that I was working on here – Salt Lake Salt Lake.  I had just done NUNSENSE.  I knew the financial situation here wasn’t that good, so I was thinking that I would be going back to New York.  Then Allen Nevins called me at the Babcock PMT Costume Shop and asked me if I had any plans, and if I wanted to work at SLAC starting in January.   They were going to take over the theatre after SALT LAKE SALT LAKE closed.  I said yes.  I’d designed costumes for VOYEUR when it was at the Green Street and had worked with Al and Nancy.  You see those opportunities and you just fall into them – or you grab them.

SLAC.  So you’ve designed for SLAC, the Babcock, Sundance, the Grand…

KEVEN. I filled in for a friend at the Promised Valley Playhouse, but that was before moving away.  I was interviewed by the Hale Theatre at one point...

SLAC.  You’ve designed more than 100 sets for SLAC.  Do you have favorites?

KEVEN.  You know, not really.  Theatre is such a fleeting experience.  It’s all about focusing on what you’re working at that moment.  I’ll occasionally look at pictures and cringe, but pictures don’t really serve the play.  They help to keep a visual record of it, but really it’s all of the sources coming together in that moment that makes theatre.  It takes so many people to do it: the audience, the actors, the playwright who gives that vision or map to go off of, the builders, the painters, to the person you meet when you’re out buying props.   All of those people make that moment possible.  From my own point of view, you have to be able to let go of things immediately, and I think that you have to live your life that way.  It is such an impermanent world.  That’s my philosophy.

SLAC.  You have no models.

KEVEN.  In essence that’s to my own detriment.  I’ll see coffee table books of designers, and I’ll think, “Isn’t that gorgeous work?” 

SLAC is a great experience for me because I get to do so many things, and it’s not just about designing.  I can’t be too obsessive with each design because there are other directions I need to focus my attention in; that also helps me get things done quickly, so I’m not laboring over it.  It’s not that the design isn’t important to me, but there comes a time when it’s all about deadlines.  And that also interests me: I have to be done here – that’s the cut off date – and then I have to move on to the next project.  I give directors a vague notion of what the set will be, depending on whether I’ve worked with them.  A white model is the extent of it, and then I guess that they have to take a leap of faith that I know what I’m doing. Because I’m not simply the designer and only have to care of that aspect, I don’t physically have the time to do more than that, the renderings, etc.   That situation at SLAC is unique, though I’m sure there are other theatres around doing the same type of thing.

Each play is a new experience.  That’s part of the thrill.  Every eight weeks there’s a brand new thing to work on that you’ve never worked on before.  Who wouldn’t want that in their life, that total turnaround?  “I’m done with that, now I get to focus on this for eight weeks.”  Each play is totally new.  I have repeated a couple of shows.  There was such a contrast between the two ANGELS IN AMERICA;  it just spoke to me differently the second time than it did the first.  That’s what’s great about Salt Lake Acting Company, too; the plays demand that you dig into them and find out how you transform a poetic script into a physical structure.

SLAC.  If the script doesn’t spell out what the world needs to look like, does it just come to you? 

KEVEN.  I don’t know what I’m going to do until I do it – even if it is spelled out.   Creativity is about letting go and trusting that you know what you’re doing.  At that point when I’m sitting down to design, I know the script, I have guidance from the director, I have guidance from the playwright, I know what our physical theatre can hold, and I’ve done the research for the play.  I just sit down and go at it.  Things will come, and if I’m lost, I’ll just ride it out.  I may see something and think, “That’s it.”  It may be a color, it may be a piece of wood, it may be a piece of pottery, whatever – but I’ll know, that’s the set.

SLAC.  Do you think you approach a script with a designer’s mind?  You’ve had so many roles here – as both director and designer – do you have a particular mindset when you read a script?

KEVEN.  No, I just read.  If the play transports me, it’s good.  The characters have to transport me, not the space.  The characters inform where I go.  It’s the language that transports you.

SLAC.  You’re also on a budget.  Would you be designing differently if you had more money?

KEVEN.  It’s interesting.  When you are in school, you do theoretical projects where you have an unlimited budget and you come up with all these ideas and usually you don’t have a director who helps you.  You do your grand vision, and it’s a fine process to start figuring out what you need as a designer. 

It was so great for me as a student at the U to work with Ron Crosby and Beth Novak.  Ron was an artist and would come up with whatever and make it work.  Beth gave me a structure: taking this artistic view and giving me a grounding of how to get from A to B to C to the final result.  That helped click in both of those worlds, that there has to be a practical side to theatre as well as the artistic side.  From my point of view, if you can’t design a simple set well then you’re not going to be able to design a grand set well.   If you can’t make your vision simply, adding more to it isn’t going to help make it an interesting production.   It doesn’t have to be a big set to be interesting, but it has to be the right thing.  It’s no different from finding a good chair and mattress for the Persian Quarter; if that’s what the set is, then they have to be right. 

The audience comes to see the play.  Any space, any budget is going to determine what the play is.  My whole objective is to make the play feel like it’s the only natural thing for this space at this moment, and then the audience goes home.  I don’t want to see anything that distracts from that.  I’m just trying to create part of the whole overall experience for the audience. 

SLAC.  It’s all about serving the play for you. 

KEVEN.  It’s collaborative…  The main thing is that it’s not just me.  Theatre is a collaborative art.  When I turn over plans or talking thru a script with a director, that’s the interesting part.  What it takes to get to the moment with the audience there – laughing or crying or hopefully being moved in some sense of the word – that’s what theatre is, and that’s what set design is for.  It’s just one spoke in the wheel.

Part of the allure of theatre is that it is scripted; it is mapped out with a beginning, middle, and an end – that’s different than anything else we experience.  I believe that stories transform us and affect the way we live our lives.   We learn who we are through stories. 

SLAC. Thank you Keven.

Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

By Tony Kushner

Director: Keven Myhre

Company: Alexis Baigue, Alexander Bala, Colleen Baum, Lucas Bybee, Sean J. Carter, Charles Lynn Frost, Nell Gwynn, Christy Summerhays

Part 1: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES | October 6-31, 2010
Part 2: PERESTROIKA (Staged Reading) | November 5-7, 2010

Description

An intimate, epic play about American life in Salt Lake City and New York City in the mid 80's, ANGELS IN AMERICA is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Drama.

"In the spirit of honoring the past, we examined SLAC's 40 year history and asked: What is the benchmark play that epitomized SLAC?  Tony Kushner's ANGELS IN AMERICA is a defining, relevant play for theatre worldwide as well as for SLAC in particular.  SLAC was fortunate enough to be one of the first regional theatres in America to produce it, to critical acclaim.  Opening the 2010-2011 season with ANGELS IN AMERICA will allow us to honor, reconnect, and share this theatre's history with our artists and our audiences."

- Executive Producers Keven Myhre and Cynthia Fleming

Cast

ALEXIS BAIGUE (Louis Ironson) has appeared in: ten summers of SATURDAY’S VOYEUR, GOODNIGHT DESDEMONA (GOOD MORNING JULIET), staged readings of Alexis_Baigue_bw_croppedMOTHER COLLEGE, THE LIVELY LAD, BUNBURY, THE CANCER DIARIES, CHARM, PROPHETS OF NATURE (Salt Lake Acting Company), DEAR WORLD (Sundance Summer Theatre), BEYOND THERAPY, THE SEX HABITS OF AMERICAN WOMEN (Pygmalion Productions), THE BOYS IN THE BAND (Wasatch Theatre), ANASTASIA (StageRight Theatre), SURFIN’ SAFARI (Desert Star Playhouse), SPEAKEASIE, JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS (TheatreWorks West), NO EXIT (Symeon Studio), WIT (Emily Company), SUMMER AND SMOKE, CABARET, RHINOCEROS, QUEEN CHRISTINA, ANTIGONE, THE RIMERS OF ELDRITCH, LOYALTIES (University of Utah), YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, THE TREE OF LACE (Salt Lake Community College), readings of THE UNDERPANTS, THE VIOLET HOUR, THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE, MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE (Utah Contemporary Theatre), WISH UPON, BOX KITE (Avalon Isle), RECTUM!, CUP, (First Unitarian Church), THE IMMACULATE ABORTION (U of U), films SLOW MOE, SINGLE TRACKS, THE VAPID LOVELIES, and voice-over for FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.  Q Salt Lake’s readers voted him “Most Faaabulous Actor”.

Alex_BalaALEXANDER BALA (Joseph Porter Pitt, Prior One, Eskimo) is honored to be making his SLAC debut.  He most recently appeared in Pygmalion Productions mounting of SORDID LIVES as Ty Williamson.  Other Pygmalion shows include STOP KISS as George, THE MAIDEN’S PRAYER as Taylor, POPCORN as Bill, BEYOND THERAPY as Andrew, CAKEWALK as Buddy, and WELCOME HOME, JENNY SUTTER as Hugo.   Other favorite roles include Paul in BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, Tom in THE GLASS MENAGERIE, Sam Craig in OUR TOWN, Wayne in INSPECTING CAROL, and Swift in ALL IN THE TIMING.  Alex is a graduate of the University of Utah with a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Theater.  Other training includes one year at The William Esper Studio in NY, NY.

Colleen_Baum

COLLEEN BAUM (Hannah Porter Pitt, Rabbi, Henry, Ethel Rosenberg) is happy to be back at Salt Lake Acting Company. She was last seen at SLAC in GO, DOG, GO! Colleen just finished a summer season at the Old Lyric Repertory Company in BLITHE SPIRIT, MOUSETRAP and ALWAYS, PATSY CLINE. She has been seen at Pioneer Theatre Company in OUR TOWN, THE HEIRESS, LOST IN YONKERS and YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. Other theatre credits include END DAYS, SEX STING, RABBIT HOLE, KIMBERLY AKIMBO, CABBIES COWBOYS AND THE TREE OF THE WEEPING VIRGIN and THE WATER PROJECT at Salt Lake Acting Company as well as the LARAMIE PROJECT: 10 YEARS LATER, AN EPILOGUE, LARAMIE PROJECT, ANIMAL FARM, WAR OF THE WORLDS, AND THE BANNED PLAYED ON, TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY and SLAM at Plan-B Theatre Company; GOODNIGHT DESDEMONA GOOD MORNING JULIET, SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS, BLOOD BROTHERS, POOL'S PARADISE, and THE UNEXPECTED GUEST at the Old Lyric Repertory Company.  Colleen is a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association.

Lucas_Bybee_color

LUCAS BYBEE (Prior Walter, Man in the Park) I was born and raised in Cache Valley Utah. I have always had a love for film, theatre and German Shepherds. Soon after high school I realized jobs such as construction and gardening really weren't for me. So I attended Utah State University. While there I studied Journalism but was quickly allured to the theatre arts, which I eventually made my major. I have always been a somewhat shy person which surprises most people that knew me when I was younger when I tell them I'm an actor, yet here I am years later playing Prior in ANGELS IN AMERICA. I can't possibly express how lucky I feel to get to play this part, thank you so very much S.L.A.C., my little sister Leslie and the rest of my great family.

Sean_CarterSEAN J. CARTER (Belize, Mr. Lies) is ecstatic about making his SLAC debut, and in such an amazing piece! He has been seen in various theaters across the Wasatch Front, and most recently appeared in the regional premieres of THE WEDDING SINGER: THE MUSICAL (Hale Centre Theatre) and THE AWESOME 80’S PROM (Egyptian Theatre Company). Some of his favorite theater credits include Miss West Coast in PAGEANT (talk about your type-casting for Belize!), Papa Ge in ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, and a Protean in …FORUM. Sean had the unique opportunity of performing internationally as part of the Air Force’s TOPS IN BLUE expeditionary entertainment program in 2006 while on active duty.  Sean would like to thank God for his talents and the blessings in his life; the production staff, cast and crew for making this such a memorable and educational experience; and last but not least his friends and family across the country for the continued support.

Charles_L_FrostCHARLES LYNN FROST (Roy Cohn, Prior Two) AEA,SAG, is a Utah native, Actor, LGBT activist, director, coach, business leader, and civic volunteer. Mr. Frost most recently conceptualized, created, and performed in THE PASSION OF SISTER DOTTIE S. DIXON, for Pygmalion Theatre Co. The play & character have received numerous accolades including; Best Performance, Production, Original Play—City Weekly ARTY’s 2009, Best Actor, Best Production Q-Salt Lake 2010. 2009, Best Actor-Deseret News.  Mentioned amongst Best Actor Performances--IN This Week Magazine 2009. Sister Dottie was also named BEST UTAHAN—City Weekly Magazine 2010. Grand Marshal-Utah PRIDE Festival 2010. Written up in THE NATION Magazine, THE HUFFINGTON POST, and THE ADVOCATE Magazine.  Recognized in Salt Lake Magazine’s BEST OF THE BEEHIVE AWARDS-2010, as a “One Person Artistic Force.” Sister Dottie guest appears monthly on X-96’s Radio From Hell—with Kerry, Bill, & Gina on The Painful Circle.

Charles also originated the role of Alex McCormick in Carol Lynn Pearson's FACING EAST for its two Utah runs, as well as a month long run Off-Broadway at The Atlantic Theatre Company II, and Theatre Rhinoceros in San Francisco. He was named Best Actor by Q Salt Lake, and was honored with the other cast members as Best Ensemble by Salt Lake City Weekly for FACING EAST. Frost has been seen in Plan B’s THE LARAMIE PROJECT for which he was awarded "Best Actor 2001" by Salt Lake City Weekly. He has been seen regionally in productions of GREATER TUNA, (SLAC) A TUNA CHRISTMAS, GOD'S COUNTRY, (SLAC) THE FOREIGNER, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, SEMMELWEISS, directed by Ed Sherin, THE IMAGINARY INVALID, and THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE.  Charles has been active his entire life in the arts; with degrees in Film and Theatre Directing, Instructional Design and Adult Learning, Theatre Education, and Psychology, he has been involved in numerous organizations at many levels.

Mr. Frost has been President, Vice President and Board Member for the Educational Theatre Association, where he won the prestigious President's Award, and is in the EDTA Hall of FAME. As a leader in the LGBT community he has served as President/Chair, Board Member and Advisory Board for The Utah Pride Center, as well as Board Member for Equality Utah. He has been involved as an actor, board and committee member with The Sundance Playwright’s Laboratory, The Utah Arts Council, The College Board, The Kennedy Center Educational Arts Advisory Board, and the Getty Foundation.

Mr. Frost has been seen in numerous regional, national, and local commercials, and has also done extensive voice work for various clients. He was in ConAir and several of the Hollywood Detective Series on HBO, as well as several episodes of Touched by an Angel, and Everwood. Frost is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and works as a business leadership coach, change management consultant, systems analyst, and curricular and media director, having won numerous TELLY awards.

He resides in Salt Lake City, Utah devotedly passionate--working for and performing in projects that advocate civil rights. He strongly believes Utah is one of the vital front line trenches of a global transformation that is occurring. Charles is the proud father of four wonderful adult friends, four splendid granddaughters, and a querulous west highland white terrier, named Deacon Bono.

He is the committed partner Douglas Lott, with whom he has been in a committed relationship for eight years.    Mr. Frost will be an Equity Visiting Guest Artist for Wasatch Theatre Company’s—2010-2011 season, where he will be playing 11 characters in GREATER TUNA, and playing Saul in TRUE WEST. 

Nell_GwynnNELL GWYNN (Angel, Nurse Emily, Sister Ella Chapter, South Bronx Woman ) is thrilled to make her debut at SLAC and is proud to be a new member of SLC's creative community.  NYC credits include; Candy & Dorothy (GLAAD New Media Award Winner, Best Off-Off Broadway), Kiss & Cry (Innovative Theatre Award Nomination, Best Supporting Actress, GLAAD New Media Award Nomination, Best Off-Off Broadway) Counselor at Law (Lucille Lortel Award Winner, Best Revival), The Oresteia, Charles Mee's Big Love, Piecework, and The Big Funk, to name a few.  Regional Shakespeare credits include; Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Adriana in Comedy of Errors, Celia in As You Like It, Lady Macbeth, Maria in Twelfth Night and Regan in King Lear.  Film, Voiceover and other fun stuff at www.gwynnactress.com Many thanks and much love to Dan.

Christy_SummerhaysCHRISTY SUMMERHAYS (Harper Amaty Pitt, Martin Heller) has worked with many local theatre companies including Pioneer Theatre Company, Plan B, and of course the wonderful Salt Lake Acting Company.  Christy is happy to be back at SLAC after some time away and is especially thrilled to do so in such a beautiful and challenging piece, working with so many extraordinary artists.  When Christy is not acting, she directs the occasional play or television commercial and is currently putting the finishing touches on her first short film.

 

TONY KUSHNER (Playwright) In “After Angels,” a profile of Tony Kushner published in The New Yorker, John Lahr wrote: “(Kushner) is fond of quoting Melville’s heroic prayer from Mardi and Voyage Thither (“Better to sink in boundless deeps than float on vulgar shoals”), and takes an almost carnal glee in tackling the most difficult subjects in contemporary history – among them, AIDS and the conservative counter-revolution (ANGELS IN AMERICA), Afghanistan and the West (HOMEBODY/KABUL), German Fascism and Reaganism (A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY), the rise of capitalism (HYDRIOTAPHIA, OR THE DEATH OF DR. BROWNE), and racism and the civil rights movement in the South (CAROLINE, OR CHANGE). But his plays, which are invariably political, are rarely polemical. Instead Kushner rejects ideology in favor of what he calls “a dialectically shaped truth,” which must be “outrageously funny” and “absolutely agonizing,” and must “move us forward.” He gives voice to characters who have been rendered powerless by the forces of circumstances – a drag queen dying of AIDS, an uneducated Southern maid, contemporary Afghans – and his attempt to see all sides of their predicament has a sly subversiveness. He forces the audience to identify with the marginalized – a humanizing act of the imagination.”

Born in New York City in 1956, and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Kushner is best known for his two-part epic, ANGELS IN AMERICA: A GAY FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES. His other plays include A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY, SLAVS!, HYDROTAPHIA, HOMEBODY/KABUL, and CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, the musical for which he wrote book and lyrics, with music by composer Jeanine Tesori. Kushner has translated and adapted Pierre Corneille's THE ILLUSION, S.Y. Ansky's THE DYBBUK, Bertolt Brecht's THE GOOD PERSON OF SEZUAN and MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN; and the English-language libretto for the children’s opera BRUNDIBÁR by Hans Krasa. He wrote the screenplays for Mike Nichols’ film of Angels In America, and Steven Spielberg’s Munich. His books include But the Giraffe: A Curtain Raising and Brundibar: the Libretto, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; The Art of Maurice Sendak: 1980 to the Present; and Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon. His latest work includes, a collection of one-act plays, entitled TINY KUSHNER -- featuring characters such as Laura Bush, Nixon’s analyst, the queen of Albania and a number of tax evaders -- (Fall 2009), and THE INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL'S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM & SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES (which premiered at the Guthrie Theatre in May 2009 and will premiere in New York City in spring 2011). During the 2010-2011 season, a revival of ANGELS IN AMERICA will run off-Broadway at the Signature Theater in New York.

Kushner is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, an Oscar nomination, an Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Mid-Career Playwright, a Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and a Cultural Achievement Award from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture, among many others. CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, produced in the autumn of 2006 at the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, received the Evening Standard Award, the London Drama Critics’ Circle Award and the Olivier Award for Best Musical. He was also awarded the 2009 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for lifetime achievement.  He is the subject of a documentary film, Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner, made by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock. He lives in Manhattan with his husband, Mark Harris.

KEVEN MYHRE (Director, Set Design, Executive Producer) was chosen to receive the Mayor’s Artist Award in the Performing Arts for 2009. Keven was awarded the 2008 City Weekly Award for directing THE CLEAN HOUSE and MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS at Salt Lake Acting Company. His other directing credits at SLAC are THE OVERWHELMING, RABBIT HOLE, I AM MY OWN WIFE, BAD DATES, KIMERBLY AKIMBO, GOING TO ST. IVES, WATER LILIES, THE MEMORY OF WATER, TWO-HEADED, THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE, GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE, C’EST MOI  in  MERE MORTALS, and THREE DAYS OF RAIN. Keven has designed all of SLAC’s sets and many of the costumes for the last sixteen years. He also designed sixteen sets for The Grand Theatre, including ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE, JOHNNY GUITAR, MY FAIR LADY, SONG OF SINGAPORE, MORNING’S AT SEVEN, and GODSPELL. ACCORDING TO COYOTE, WEST SIDE STORY, CROW AND WEASEL, and SOUTH PACIFIC were designed for Sundance Theatre. His designs have also been seen at Pioneer Memorial Theatre, Utah Musical Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, Kingsbury Hall and the Babcock Theatre. His work for the Utah Arts Festival includes site design for the 20th Anniversary. He received a BFA from the University of Utah and a MFA in Theatre from the University of Michigan.

JAMES M. CRAIG (Lighting Design) has designed the lighting for 35+ shows at SLAC since 1997, most recently for SATURDAY VOYEUR 2010, CHARM, THE CARETAKER, MASTER CLASS, SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2009, END DAYS,
SIX YEARS, BILLION DOLLAR BABY, ICE GLEN, THE WATER PROJECT. James has also designed lights for Plan-B Theatre, Utah Contemporary Theatre, Utah Musical Theatre, The Egyptian Theatre Company, Peery’s Egyptian Theatre, Odyssey Dance Theatre, The Grand Theatre, Weber State University, The Emily Company, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Virginia Stage Company, The Generic Theatre, Little Theatre of the Rockies, Lyric Opera Ensemble, Coachella Valley Theatre and Theatre Inc.  Currently James is the Technical Director for the Park City Performing Arts Foundation. James holds a B.S. in Theatre from Weber State University, and is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.

K.L. ALBERTS (Costume Design) Previous designs at Salt Lake Acting Company include TOO MUCH MEMORY, GO, DOG. GO!, THE OVERWHELMING, BILLION DOLLAR BABY, DARK PLAY, MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS, I AM MY OWN WIFE, SEXSTING, RABBIT HOLE, THE BEARD OF AVON and GROSS INDECENCY. For Pioneer Theatre Company, K.L.’s designs include 42ND STREET, MISS SAIGON, THE PRODUCERS, LES MISERABLES, METAMORPHOSES, RAGTIME and the world premieres of LAUGHING STOCK and DUMAS’ CAMILLE. For Meat and Potato Theatre K.L. has designed INFANTRY MONOLOGUES and SHADOWS OF THE BAKEMONO and for the Utah Shakespearean Festival K.L. has designed GREAT EXPECTATIONS-THE MUSICAL, AH WILDERNESS!, HAY FEVER, THE MATCHMAKER and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Upcoming projects include BOOM for SLAC and WHITE CHRISTMAS for PTC.

CYNTHIA L. KEHR REES (Sound Design) is thrilled to have the opportunity to design ANGELS IN AMERICA PART ONE: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES for Salt Lake Acting Company, for whom she has designed for ten years.  She previously designed ANGELS IN AMERICA PART TWO: PERESTROIKA for the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and has always wanted to design the first half of this amazing series. Other theatres where you may have heard Cynthia's work include Arena Stage, The National Theatre in Washington D.C., Seaside Music Theatre, The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Grand Theatre,  Park City Egyptian Theatre Company, and Utah Musical Theatre. Cynthia received her MFA in Sound Design from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, the national theatre designers union.

ADRIANNE MOORE (Dialect Coach) has served as dialect coach on many previous SLAC productions including CHARM, THE CARETAKER, END DAYS, CLEAN HOUSE, SKIN IN FLAMES, BOY, I AM MY OWN WIFE, MAN FROM NEBRASKA, POLISH JOKE, LOBBY HERO and MEMORY OF WATER. She also directed HOLD PLEASE for SLAC and is looking forward to directing CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION in the spring. For Pioneer Theatre Company she coached the dialects for MY FAIR LADY, THE HEIRESS, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Other dialect credits include DISTANT MUSIC, TALKING WALES (Utah Contemporary Theatre), PETER PAN, PAGEANT, CABARET (The Egyptian Theatre Company) FROZEN (Pygmalion Theatre), The FOREIGNER, RELATIVE VALUES, NOISES OFF, THE RIVALS, SYLVIA and PEG O’ MY HEART (Old Lyric Repertory Company) and the film THE REDEMPTION OF SARAH CAIN. Recent directing credits include THE MIKADO for the Utah Festival Opera and ALWASY PATSY CLINE for the Old Lyric. A native of New Zealand, Adrianne worked as a director and actor in New Zealand, Australia and England before coming to the U.S. She is currently a professor of Voice and Directing at Utah State University.

JENNIE SANT(Production Stage Manager) has worked at Egyptian Theatre Company as the AEA Stage Manager on PAGENT and THE MUSIC MAN. Pioneer Theatre Company as the 1st ASM on LES MISERABLES, PAINT YOUR WAGON, DOUBT, A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM, THE FOREIGNER, VERTICAL HOUR, and THE PRODUCERS. Other credits Stage Managing include ANGELS IN AMERICA parts I & II at the Babcock Theatre, TRUE WEST in Studio 115, HENRY V and MEASURE FOR MEASURE for Salt Lake Shakes and TALKING WALES II for Utah Contemporary Theatre. Many thanks to her family for all their love and support.                                                   

ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION (AEA), founded in 1913, represents more than 45,000 actors and stage managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. The Equity emblem is our mark of excellence. www.actorsequity.org.

Press & Reviews

Word of Mouth

Read what people are saying about SLAC's productions of Angels in America. See the show and join in the conversation. Email your thoughts to   SLAC_20101002_0042

A beautiful letter from Kennan Beckstrand:

"I had the pleasure of seeing Angels In America this evening at SLAC. I cannot believe that people make a pilgrimage to Broadway to see plays when right here in Salt Lake City they can see acting comparable, if not superior to, what they would see on Broadway.

Angels in America is perfection on a small intimate stage. The acting is beyond description in its excellence. Every member of the cast was exceptional. The emotions that they evoke in the audience are amazing. You feel overwhelming pain as the actors express their life situations that we all relate to, you laugh as the humor in our Mormon culture is poked fun of, you feel the love that is pure and expressed by many of the participants towards each other.

One of my favorite scenes is the coffee shop with Alexis and Sean. The ease that lines are delivered with such believability is amazing. Charles was frightening, passionate and amazing in his performance as Roy Cohn. The ghosts (priors)are delightful with their mannerisms and accents. You want to have spirits like that visiting your dreams. Every single performer is PHENOMENAL!

Every single detail is masterfully done. The lines are not done by any of the actors as if they are memorized dialogue. They are truly channeling the character and you feel as if you are a voyeur watching a real-life situation in front of you. At times you feel as if you are intruding in their private lives and other times you want to be there to comfort, encourage, or laugh with them.

The costumes are PHENOMENAL! Every character has such amazing costumes and they are done with amazing detail. From the RC on Roy’s bathrobe to the white carnation in Alexis’s tux lapel, there is not one detail overlooked. The scenery in its simplicity is exceptional as it transforms each environment into the actual setting. Simple pieces of metal transform the stage into hundreds of settings and environments.

I will never be able to express my gratitude for the hours of work that the performers have put into perfecting this production. It is a masterpiece and sensational in every aspect. I thank each and every member of the cast, crew and directors. This is a life changing play and will be one that I will never forget and will always use it as a basis for judging other productions.

I thank you. I loved every single second of the play. THANK YOU!"

SLAC_20101002_0070

 

"Tuesday night I was fortunate enough to attend the preview - the production is BEYOND WORDS!!! EVERYTHING ABOUT IT!!! I will be telling everyone in the land of zion!" - Rhett Barney

 

"GO SEE IT. It is wonderful" - Jonathan Scott McBride

 

"It was amazing. I laughed, cried, and was uplifted all at the same time." - David Beach

 

"Just want you to know how much I enjoyed Angels in America.  Please tell all the cast and crew what a fabulous job they all did.  That is the best play I think I have seen since Sylvia the Goat.  Thanks to all of those who are associated with SLAC, you are  the best." - Marie Ashworth

In the Room

SLAC. What drew you to ANGELS IN AMERICA?

DIRECTOR KEVEN MYRHE.  Kushner’s play is epic, but it is also very intimate. Most of the scenes are two person scenes. ANGELS IN AMERICA is essentially a play of personal relationships – about where the characters are going and what they are carving out in their lives through those relationships. It is a play about disenfranchised people who are all set on a journey – whether it’s being in a loveless marriage, or dealing with illness, finding out your son is not who you raised him to be and having to work through that, whatever pushes you on… What interests me is that anytime that you read or watch Kushner’s play, depending on where you are at in that particular moment, you will follow different characters. You will take their lead or their point of view as you follow these lives as they weave in and out of one another. In ANGELS IN AMERICA, the characters are helping with each others’ struggles – whether they are provoking the realization that this is not the life they are supposed to be leading and propelling them onto that life or they are just there to make sure that they get to the hospital or that the law is working out to their side… Hannah has a wonderful line: An angel is anyone who holds you… We’re all looking for that Bethesda Fountain to go to and be healed.  I want that moment.

SLAC. Could you speak about your scenic design for ANGELS?

Mr. MYHRE.  What makes ANGELS IN AMERICA an epic piece of theatre is that these various people from different economic backgrounds, from different social settings, from different parts of the country, all cross paths.  The play begins with the rabbi giving a eulogy for Sarah Ironson, who traveled from Lithuania to America, coming to a melting pot where nothing has ever melted together.  America is built on these individual dreams, where it is a struggle to have them all melt together.  So America is constantly in a state of transformation, and that’s apparent today – how do we accept people into this nation?  All of this is still ongoing, and America will continue to deal with these issues. For me, this play is dealing with these people on the move. They are trying to find out what home is and trying to find home, so the world of the play is like a storage room – a baggage claim area – stacked from floor to ceiling. The set is a unit set with various pieces that come in and out, which allows for that sense of movement. These people have packed things up, but during the course of the play, the baggage is being opened and examined – and they are moving on with their lives.

SLAC. You have an incredible cast for ANGELS IN AMERICA – all of whom are local actors.

Mr. MYHRE. Yes, we have a wonderful mix of people who have not performed on our stage and those who have been in numerous productions over the past 20 years. And likewise, we have a solid core with the other designers – with Adrianne Moore as Dialect Coach (Director of SLAC’s upcoming CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION), Lighting Designer Jim Craig, who has been with the company since ’97; Costume Designer Kevin Alberts, who first started designing for us in ’99; and Sound Designer Cynthia Kehr-Rees, who began designing at SLAC in 2001.

SLAC. SLAC first produced ANGELS IN AMERICA in 1995.   Is this production a revival or a re-envisioning of the play? How has the passage of time impacted your sense of Kushner’s play?

Mr. MYHRE. ANGELS IN AMERICA has been noted as one of the great plays of the 20th century; we were fortunate enough to be one of the first regional companies to produce it back in 1995.   For Salt Lake Acting Company’s 40th Anniversary, we looked back through the plays that SLAC had produced since 1970, trying to find the one that encapsulated SLAC’s mission to produce vibrant new work in contemporary theatre.  We selected ANGELS IN AMERICA as the play that defined that moment in our history.  However, this is not a remount of the 1995 production. It is a vastly different world.  A lot has changed in America since 1995 – within this company, within theatre, within everyone’s lives…  The production will remain true to the play, but you can’t produce it again the way it was done initially; it is a whole different experience than our previous production or than the HBO series. From an audience perspective, it will be a new experience. Wherever you are in your life, you follow the play differently; different things affect you, and that, of course, is what a true masterpiece does – whether it’s visual art or music, opera, anything. That’s what makes it stand the test of time – being able to see the piece from different perspectives and through different audiences.

SLAC.  Thank you Keven!

Salt Lake Acting Company’s ANGELS IN AMERICA: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES runs October 6-31, 2010.  The reading of ANGELS IN AMERICA: PERESTROIKA runs November 5-7, 2010.

boom

By Peter Sinn Nachtrieb

November 3 - December 5, 2010 in the Chapel Theatre

Directed by: Robin Wilks Dunn

Company: Emily Burnworth, David Fetzer and Holly Fowers

Description

A quirky, sci-fi, not-so-romantic comedy, boom follows Jo, a female journalism student, and Jules, a male marine biologist, on what appears to be an erotic “casual encounter.” But there's nothing casual whatsoever about this particular evening. Will meaningless sex have meaning? What's going on in the fish tank? And who is that woman, Barbara, pulling levers in the corner? Something is about to explode.

Cast

Emily_Burnworth_headshotEMILY BURNWORTH (Jo) is grateful to be making her Salt Lake Acting Company debut in BOOM.  Recent credits include Shelby in STEEL MAGNOLIAS (Pinnacle), Bitsy Mae Harling in SORDID LIVES (PYGmalion), Grace in DOGVILLE (Experimental Platform) and Sandy in GREASE! the musical (Jackson Hole Playhouse).  She can also be seen in the upcoming film Unicorn City.  Originally from central Pennsylvania she ventured out west for an Acting/Linguistics degree (BYU) and good powder days.  In her spare time she is a dialect coach for both stage and screen.  Recent coaching credits include the upcoming HCTO production of THE SCARLET PIMPERNELL and the role of Jean Baptiste in the film For Robbing the Dead.

David_Fetzer_headshot_croppedDAVID FETZER (Jules)  After a four year gap, David is excited to be back on the SLAC stage.  Other SLAC credits include KIMBERLY AKIMBO, THE GOAT, and BOY.  David most recently appeared as Everett Ruess in Plan B’s END OF THE HORIZON.  This summer, David co-starred in the feature film Must Come Down which will enter the festival circuit this fall.  David is the founder and producing director of the New Works Theatre Machine, SLC’s only experimental theatre company.  NWTM’s inaugural show, GO TO HELL, opens this December at the Utah Pickle Factory. www.thenewworkstheatremachine.com

Holly_Fowers_Headshot_croppedHOLLY FOWERS (Barbara) is thrilled to be making her debut at SLAC.  Recent Salt Lake City credits include ELEEMOSYNARY and ROMEO AND JULIET with Pinnacle Acting Company, SEARCHING FOR DAVID’S HEART with Shalom Theatre, and readings of SUNLIGHT and PROPHETS OF NATURE at SLAC.  Some of her favorite Seattle credits include Edward/Lin in CLOUD 9, Rita in EDUCATING RITA, Judith in SONG OF SONGS, Mistress Quickly in MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, and Romeo in SHAKESPEARE’S R & J. 

Peter-Nachtrieb-1PETER SINN NACHTRIEB (Playwright) is a San Francisco-based playwright whose works include Boom (TCG's most produced play 2009-10), T.I.C. (TRENCHCOAT IN COMMON), HUNTER GATHERERS (2007 ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award, 2007 Will Glickman Prize), COLORADO, and MULTIPLEX. His work has been seen off-Broadway and across the country including at Ars Nova, SPF, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Seattle Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Public Theatre, Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Dads Garage, and in the Bay Area at Encore Theatre, Killing My Lobster, Marin Theatre Company, Impact Theatre, and The Bay Area Playwrights Festival.   His newest plays are BOB, a South Coast Rep commission (and set to premiere at the 2011 Humana Festival for New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville) and LITTER, a commission for A.C.T.,  Peter holds a degree in Theater and Biology from Brown and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.  Peter is a member of New Dramatists, a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco and often writes at Z Space Studio in San Francisco.   He likes to promote himself online at www.peternachtrieb.com.

ROBIN WILKS-DUNN (Director) is thrilled to be part of SLAC’s 40th celebration and many of her favorite theatre moments since moving to Salt Lake in 1988 have been at SLAC.  Her previous SLAC credits include premieres of PEARL as part of THE WATER PROJECT, ONE LAST DANCE and NAPOLEON’S CHINA and New Play Sounding Series readings of COURTING DISASTER and CHARM.  Robin has directed around the Salt Lake Valley for over 20 years.  Other favorite directing credits include SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK LIVE!, ALL MY SONS, MAN OF LA MANCHA, KASPAR and FOOL FOR LOVE.  Robin is also a script reader for Sundance Theatre Labs and will be directing Eve Ensler’s THE GOOD BODY for Pygmalion Theatre Company in Spring 2011.  She has taught locally at University of Utah, Westminster College and Weber State University.  She would like to thank her family, friends and colleagues for making her 30 years in theatre possible.

KEVEN MYHRE (Set Design/Executive Producer) was chosen to receive the Mayor’s Artist Award in the Performing Arts for 2009. Keven was awarded the 2008 City Weekly Award for directing THE CLEAN HOUSE and MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS at Salt Lake Acting Company. His other directing credits at SLAC are ANGELS IN AMERICA: PARTS 1 & 2, THE OVERWHELMING, RABBIT HOLE, I AM MY OWN WIFE, BAD DATES, KIMERBLY AKIMBO, GOING TO ST. IVES, WATER LILIES, THE MEMORY OF WATER, TWO-HEADED, THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE, GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE, C’EST MOI  in  MERE MORTALS, and THREE DAYS OF RAIN. Keven has designed all of SLAC’s sets and many of the costumes for the last sixteen years. He also designed sixteen sets for The Grand Theatre, including ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE, JOHNNY GUITAR, MY FAIR LADY, SONG OF SINGAPORE, MORNING’S AT SEVEN, and GODSPELL. ACCORDING TO COYOTE, WEST SIDE STORY, CROW AND WEASEL, and SOUTH PACIFIC were designed for Sundance Theatre. His designs have also been seen at Pioneer Memorial Theatre, Utah Musical Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, Kingsbury Hall and the Babcock Theatre. His work for the Utah Arts Festival includes site design for the 20th Anniversary. He received a BFA from the University of Utah and a MFA in Theatre from the University of Michigan.

JAMES M. CRAIG (Lighting Design) has designed the lighting for 35+ shows at SLAC since 1997, most recently for ANGELS IN AMERICA, SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2010, CHARM, THE CARETAKER, MASTER CLASS, SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2009, END DAYS, SIX YEARS, BILLION DOLLAR BABY, ICE GLEN, and THE WATER PROJECT. James has also designed lights for Plan-B Theatre, Utah Contemporary Theatre, Utah Musical Theatre, The Egyptian Theatre Company, Peery’s Egyptian Theatre, Odyssey Dance Theatre, The Grand Theatre, Weber State University, The Emily Company, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Virginia Stage Company, The Generic Theatre, Little Theatre of the Rockies, Lyric Opera Ensemble, Coachella Valley Theatre and Theatre Inc.  Currently James is the Technical Director for the Park City Performing Arts Foundation. James holds a B.S. in Theatre from Weber State University, and is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.

K.L. ALBERTS (Costume Design) Previous designs at Salt Lake Acting Company include ANGLES IN AMERICA, PART 1: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES, TOO MUCH MEMORY, GO, DOG. GO!, THE OVERWHELMING, BILLION DOLLAR BABY, DARK PLAY, MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS, I AM MY OWN WIFE, SEXSTING, RABBIT HOLE, THE BEARD OF AVON and GROSS INDECENCY. For Pioneer Theatre Company, K.L.’s designs include 42ND STREET, MISS SAIGON, THE PRODUCERS, LES MISERABLES, METAMORPHOSES, RAGTIME and the world premieres of LAUGHING STOCK and DUMAS’ CAMILLE. For Meat and Potato Theatre K.L. has designed INFANTRY MONOLOGUES and SHADOWS OF THE BAKEMONO and for the Utah Shakespearean Festival K.L. has designed GREAT EXPECTATIONS-THE MUSICAL, AH WILDERNESS!, HAY FEVER, THE MATCHMAKER and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Upcoming projects include CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION for SLAC and WHITE CHRISTMAS for PTC.

CYNTHIA L. KEHR REES (Sound Design) is very excited to be designing BOOM. Cynthia has been a Sci-Fi fanatic since she first saw Captain Kirk seduce a green lady but until now she has never had the opportunity to work on a Sci-Fi production. Some of Cynthia's favorite designs for Salt Lake Acting Company include MADAGASCAR, DUST EATERS, SEEING THE ELEPHANT, the recent ANGELS IN AMERICA and POLISH JOKE. Other theatres where you may have heard her work include Arena Stage, The National Theatre in Washington D.C., Seaside Music Theatre, The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Grand Theatre, and Park City Egyptian Theatre Company. Cynthia received her MFA in Sound Design from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, the national theatre designers union.

VICTORIA ELENA NONES (Production Stage Manager) will be graduating from the University of Utah in 2011 with a BFA in Stage Management and a minor in Gender Studies.  She is an alumnus of Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts and AMDA Los Angeles. She is a stage manager/actress who recently made her SLAC debut in SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2010 as Sarah Palin. She is thrilled to have BOOM as her stage managing debut at SLAC. What a year! Thanks to Kev and Cyn! Stage management credits include: BLOOD WEDDING, TAKING STEPS, THE MERCY SEAT (University of Utah), THE LILY'S REVENGE (Sundance Theatre Institute), and TOUCH(ED) (Pioneer Theatre Company). Victoria is the Assistant Entertainment Director & Production Stage Manager for the Utah Pride Festival, and the Special Events Chair for the University of Utah ASUU.  She directed THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES at the U of U in 2010, as well as directs/owns a local burlesque troupe in SLC (BackDoor Burlesque).

Press & Reviews

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | A real-life sci fi trip can be yours at Salt Lake Acting Company’s boom | Jenniffer Wardell (November 14, 2010)

KUER | boom: Big Questions, Funny Play | Dan Nailen (November 12, 2010)

Deseret News | Romantic notions explode in SLAC's 'boom' | Erica Hansen (November 10, 2010)

City Weekly | boom | Rob Tennant (November 10, 2010)

Utah Theatre Bloggers | Fish, sex and the lady in red: 'boom' at SLAC | Allan David (November 9, 2010)

Q Salt Lake | SLAC's 'boom' | Tony Hobday (November 8, 2010)

Salt Lake Magazine blog | Play review: Boom at SLAC | Lara Rosenbaum (November 8, 2010)

Salt Lake Tribune | Blind date with biological destiny | Ben Fulton (November 6, 2010)

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | Sex, fish, and the end of the world at Salt Lake Acting Company’s boom | Jenniffer Wardell (November 6, 2010)

In Utah This Week | Boom, Baby - Arts Preview: boom at Salt Lake Acting Company | Daisy Blake (November 1, 2010)

Deseret News | SLAC will bring popular 'boom' to local stage | Erica Hansen (October 30, 2010)

Salt Lake Tribune | Survival of the Dramatist | Ben Fulton (October 28, 2010)

In the Room

BOOM_rehearsal1Playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Director Robin Wilks-Dunn 

Robin Wilks-Dunn.  We love this script; your voice is so unique and funny.

Peter Sinn Nachtrieb.   I love writing comedy.  I think everything I’ve written so far is generally funny – with ranging bits of darkness in it.  I’m interested in that kind of way of getting people entertained and laughing, which allows you to be very visceral and intimate with an audience and approach deeper, more profound questions.

Robin.  There are these key phrases that stand out to me as a director, and I direct toward those moments.  One in particular in this script that jumps out at me and seems to have bigger meaning is, “Why am I here?”  As a playwright do you build the rest of the script around these bigger questions?

Peter.  The play is hopefully dealing with small personal changes, how people grow, and it’s also about how a planet evolves.  How huge events out of our control can change the course of our lives.  I’ve always been interested in biology, about how the evolution of species in the world is not something that happened sort of gradually and at a steady rate, but that there are these moments in time where there are radical events that change things, often followed by a huge extinction or a rapid period of evolution – of things expanding and changing and becoming new things. There’s something about that that resonates with me.  On that evolutionary scale, that’s really fascinating: a comet hits, and that’s actually an opportunity.  What’s happening there with life over time is also something that I think is easily said about our personal lives – how can we be going on a trajectory in our day to day lives, and there are these events that turn everything on it’s head or push us into a new direction, and we don’t necessarily have a lot of control over? That’s a BOOM_rehearsal2question of the play, too: how much control do we actually have over the directions of our lives? How do they interact with each other -- free will and bigger events that can’t be ignored? I think that there’s this natural misunderstanding between Jo and Jules; one person taking things to a grand, epic scale and the other person dealing with things on a more personal level.

Robin.  I expect audiences to have very different reactions based on their own history.  Could you speak to the level of physicality in the play?  Has it really varied between the different productions of boom?

Peter.  It’s definitely always physical.  I feel like that’s just part of the play,  I think that every actress that’s played Jo that I’ve talked to has shown me all the bruises that she’s gotten from the production.

Robin.  You do some acting right?

Peter.  I started as an actor -- and still do some low-grade acting.

Robin.  (Laughing) Have you ever played Jules?

Peter.  No… I’ve performed in comedy sketches that I’ve written, and I kind of did the classic gateway drug of the actor/writer, which is solo performance.  I’ve performed in those, but I’ve actually not performed in any of the multi-character plays that I’ve written.

Robin.  Would you ever consider it?

Peter. (Laughing) I’ve thought about it, but not too seriously. I like being separate.  At some point I think I’ll write something for myself again.

Robin.  The actors were curious how many productions of boom you have seen?

Peter.   I saw eight or nine of them last season.  Every production I’ve seen has been different as far as pacing and the comedy.  The most successful blend of the play is not just funny but also grounded, and we’re able to get on board with the characters’ journey.  That’s the challenge of the play – playing the comedy as well as the stakes.

Robin.  When you watch your plays, do you sit there and mouth the words?  Do you know when people are off?

Peter.  (Laughing) I do mouth the words – and I’ve had this experience where because the play got passed around before it got published, I’d see a production that was not the final version.  That was always surprising.  “Oh! They’re doing the part where I didn’t cut that line out…”  And then I just keep my mouth shut. 

Robin.  I’m having a hard time getting Dorothy [the fish] to take direction.  I would like you to give me some feedback on Dorothy and how I should approach her.  When I read the play, I get really excited about Dorothy, and in my mind, she’s doing things – which, of course, I can’t get her to do.  How much do you see her as a character in the play?  And do most productions use real fish?

Peter. (Laughing) Most productions have actually used live fish and yes, she is a real character.  I mean, she is the one who wins in the end, really.  As far as directing fish… Yeah, that’s hard.

Robin.  It’s been a real pleasure to work on this.BOOM_rehearsal3

As we say in Utah, “We ‘preciate you so much”!

Top L to R: Holly Fowers (Barbara), David Fetzer (Jules), Emily Burnworth (Jo)
Middle Emily Burnworth, David Fetzer
Bottom L to R: Director Robin Wilks-Dunn, Stage Manager Victoria Elena Nones

The Persian Quarter

By Kathleen Cahill 

February 2 - February 27, 2011

Director: Alexandra Harbold

Company: Nell Gwynn, Deena Marie Manzanares, Shane Mozaffari, Joshua Thoemke

Description

SLAC proudly presents the World Premiere of The Persian Quarter by Kathleen Cahill (playwright of last season’s Charm.)

“…both a story told on a Persian carpet, and a piece of political history.”

In Kathleen Cahill’s THE PERSIAN QUARTER, a diplomatic crisis and a chance encounter trigger revelations of a shared past. The play unfolds on the final day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980 Tehran with Anne, an American hostage and Shirin, an Iranian revolutionary student who is one of her captors. Thirty years later in New York City, their daughters, Emily and Azadeh, meet accidentally in an empty classroom at Columbia University during the visit of Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

Cast

Nell_GwynnNELL GWYNN(ANN, EMILY) made her SLAC and regional debut playing the Angel and others in ANGELS IN AMERICA, and is proud to also have the opportunity to bring this world premiere to life. Many thanks to the creative team behind this play! NYC credits include; CANDY & DOROTHY (GLAAD New Media Award Winner, Best Off-Off Broadway), KISS & CRY (Innovative Theatre Award Nomination, Best Supporting Actress, GLAAD New Media Award Nomination, Best Off-Off Broadway) COUNSELOR AT LAW (Lucille Lortel Award Winner, Best Revival), THE ORESTEIA, Charles Mee's BIG LOVE, PIECEWORK, and THE BIG FUNK, to name a few. Regional Shakespeare credits include; Beatrice in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Mistress Ford in THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, Adriana in COMEDY OF ERRORS, Celia in AS YOU LIKE IT, Lady Macbeth, Maria in TWELFTH NIGHT and Regan in KING LEAR.  Dan, you are the best! 

Deena_Marie_Manzanares_hsDEENA MARIE MANZANARES(SHIRIN, AZADEH) is a graduate of the Atlantic Theater Co. Acting School in NYC. Training also includes NYU's CAP21 and Juilliard. Among NYC credits are Witch/Mom in AMAZING ADVENTURES OF ARTHUR (Atlantic Theater Company) and Darlene in BALM IN GILEAD (Atlantic 453).  Deena Marie returns for her fourth SLAC production having previously been seen as Blue Dog in GO, DOG. GO!, Ida in SKIN IN FLAMES, Sara in BOY, as well as the staged readings of THE THUGS and THE PERSIAN QUARTER.   Local credits include Plan B, Egyptian Theatre Co., Pygmalion Productions, Pioneer Theatre Co, Meat & Potato, Hale Centre Theatre and others. Recent highlights include Sheila in HAIR (ETC), Sor Juana in AMERIGO (Plan B), and Olivia in INFANTRY MONOLOGUES (Meat & Potato). You may have also seen her as various characters or filling in as a feature reporter on the KUTV2 morning show. Deena Marie writes and performs sketch comedy on the web and has been featured on G4TV's "Attack of the show: Hottest Women on the Web" and MTV's "It's on with Alexa Chung". She also makes weekly videos for the Salt Lake City Weekly website.  Recipient, Salt Lake Magazines Best of the Beehive (The Comedienne), and City Weekly's Best of Utah (Media/Politics). She is a proud member of Actors Equity.  www.deenamarie.biz

Mozaffari_web

SHANE MOZAFFARI (RUMI, IRANIAN POOL ATTENDANT) Shane Mozaffari returns to acting and SLAC after appearing in productions such as THE HEIDI CHRONICLES and 1102 & 1103 twenty plus years ago.  As a BFA student at the University of Utah Shane remembers words spoken to him by professor Ann Cullimore Decker that he would “always find himself involved in the theatre” regardless of other life pursuits.  Stage credits, film, television, radio and print work include a handful of supporting rolls.  One of his fondest memories was participating in the Sundance 1991 Playwrights lab.  His appearance as RUMI in this production is deeply appreciated as one more opportunity to help develop another original script.  Currently married 14 years and father of 3 he works in telecommunications as a contractor for the FAA and is a partner with his wife as an associate broker in Real Estate.  He’s looking forward to letting his freak flag fly once again!

Josh_Thoemke_hsJOSH THOEMKE (MIKE, KERMIT)  Josh Thoemke received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University prior to relocating to Southern California.  There he became a founding member of the award winning Theatre Banshee, and could be seen on assorted, canceled television series.  Having performed on both the East and West coasts, Josh made the natural progression to the Inner Mountain West, where he made his Salt Lake City debut in Meat & Potatoes' production, SHADOWS OF THE BAKEMONO.  His last Salt Lake Acting Company appearance was in PROPHETS OF NATURE.  When not acting, Josh can be seen singing and playing guitar along side his lovely wife, Rebecca, in their Celtic band, Bad Colleen.

Kathleen_Cahill_hsKATHLEEN CAHILL(Playwright) Ms. Cahill has received many awards for her work, including the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, a Connecticut Commission on the Arts Playwriting Award (twice), a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Award, a Rockefeller Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts New American Works Grant, and a Drama League Award. Her plays include THE STILL TIME (Georgia Rep/Porchlight Theatre, Chicago), WOMEN WHO LOVE SCIENCE TOO MUCH (Porchlight), HENRI LOUISE AND HENRY (Cleveland Public), SLAM (Plan-B Theatre, UT), and the screenplay DOWNTOWN EXPRESS, a film for David Grubin Productions in NY. With composer Michael Wartofsky she wrote the book and lyrics for THE NAVIGATOR and FRIENDSHIP OF THE SEA; with Deborah Wicks LaPuma she wrote DAKOTA SKY (Olney Theatre), WATER ON THE MOON (Signature Theatre readings), and CAPTIVATED (Kennedy Center New Works Festival). Other musical works include the opera CLARA, FATAL SONG, and A TALE OF TWO CITIES: PARIS AND BERLIN IN THE TWENTIES (all Maryland Center for the Performing Arts). Her play CHARM (directecd by Meg Gibson) received its world premiere at SLAC last season and went on to Kitchen Dog Theatre in Dallas and Orlando Shakespeare.

ALEXANDRA HARBOLD (Director, Artistic Literary Associate) At Salt Lake Acting Company, Andra has directed New Play Sounding Series readings of T.I.C. (TRENCHCOAT IN COMMON), THE PERSIAN QUARTER and PROPHETS OF NATURE; she acted in SIX YEARS and ICE GLEN and is now an Artistic Literary Associate and a member of SLAC's Communications & Audience Development team.  Local directing credits: ROMEO AND JULIET, RABBIT HOLE, THREE DAYS OF RAIN (PAC), and SLAM (Plan-B). Other local credits: DANCING AT LUGHNASA (Pinnacle Acting Company), HAMLET (Pioneer Theatre Company), LIVING OUT, FAT PIG (Pygmalion Theatre), and THE SEAGULL (Pinnacle Acting Company).  She received two City Weekly Staff Pick Artys for her work in ICE GLEN/FAT PIG and in LIVING OUT; IN This week included RABBIT HOLE for Best Plays of 2009 and Harbold for Best director.  Education: BA, Middlebury College; Master’s in Performance Studies, University of London Goldsmith’s College. Training: SITI Company’s Summer Intensive at Skidmore.  Upcoming projects include CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION (Salt Lake Acting Company). 

BRONWEN BEECHER (Yoga Consultant) began training with Ana Forrest to focus on the healing aspects of yoga. Also having done private sessions D'ana Baptiste for over a year to work with her own past issues with trauma and addiction, Bronwen learned how to speak the language of the body, heal herself, and as a result help others to heal their own bodies and spirits. She is now one of only a few qualified Forrest Yoga Teachers in Utah and has emerged from her intensive training with a deep appreciation of yoga she calls, "ugly yoga." Ugly yoga is how she describes the journey into those deep dark places we like to hide or avoid in the mind/body/emotion parts of ourselves. It is through holding hands with our "ugly" parts through the physical poses that we can achieve the indescribable freedom that can be found in yoga and in life.  Bronwen created "Yoga in the Warehouse," which is a community built around Forrest yoga classes she teaches in (you guessed it) a warehouse in Salt Lake City. Check out the blog, www.uglyyoga.com. "Like" Yoga in the Warehouse on Facebook and sign up for the mailing list on that page or send a request for information to and, of course, come to class Saturday mornings at 10:15.  A. Bronwen Beecher www.bronwenbeecher.com

JOHN GRAHAM(Fight Choreographer) has worked at venues including: the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (Cincinnati, OH), Thunder's Mouth (Brisbane, Australia), Plan-B Theatre (SLC), California Theatre Wing (Oakland, CA), Madison Repertory Theatre (Madison, WI), and Stage One (Louisville, KY). Most recently John played Tom in THE GLASS MENAGERIE at The Grand Theatre, and directed DANCING AT LUGHNASA for Pinnacle Acting Company. John received his BFA from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Utah Valley University. John is a proud member of the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD).

CYNTHIA L. KEHR REES (Sound Design) is thrilled to have the opportunity to work on another play by Kathleen Cahill with Salt Lake Acting Company after having had the wonderful experience of designing CHARM last spring. Some of Cynthia's favorite designs for Salt Lake Acting Company include MADAGASCAR, DUST EATERS, SEEING THE ELEPHANT, the recent ANGELS IN AMERICA and POLISH JOKE. Other theatres where you may have heard her work include Arena Stage, The National Theatre in Washington D.C., Seaside Music Theatre, The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Grand Theatre, and Park City Egyptian Theatre Company. Cynthia received her MFA in Sound Design from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, the national theatre designers union.

KEVEN MYHRE (Set Design, Executive Producer) was chosen to receive the Mayor’s Artist Award in the Performing Arts for 2009. Keven was awarded the 2008 City Weekly Award for directing THE CLEAN HOUSE and MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS at Salt Lake Acting Company. His other directing credits at SLAC are ANGELS IN AMERICA: PARTS 1 & 2, THE OVERWHELMING, RABBIT HOLE, I AM MY OWN WIFE, BAD DATES, KIMERBLY AKIMBO, GOING TO ST. IVES, WATER LILIES, THE MEMORY OF WATER, TWO-HEADED, THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE, GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE, C’EST MOI  in  MERE MORTALS, and THREE DAYS OF RAIN. Keven has designed all of SLAC’s sets and many of the costumes for the last sixteen years. He also designed sixteen sets for The Grand Theatre, including ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE, JOHNNY GUITAR, MY FAIR LADY, SONG OF SINGAPORE, MORNING’S AT SEVEN, and GODSPELL. ACCORDING TO COYOTE, WEST SIDE STORY, CROW AND WEASEL, and SOUTH PACIFIC were designed for Sundance Theatre. His designs have also been seen at Pioneer Memorial Theatre, Utah Musical Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, Kingsbury Hall and the Babcock Theatre. His work for the Utah Arts Festival includes site design for the 20th Anniversary. He received a BFA from the University of Utah and a MFA in Theatre from the University of Michigan.

MEGAN NOYCE(Research) Megan Noyce is a proud, new owner of a degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Puget Sound. And after a summer as an Education Intern/Teaching Artist at Lexington Children’s Theatre, she returns to Utah to put her degree to use. After spending most of her college career enchanted by acting, she began to study other aspects of theatre. This led her to dramaturgy, directing, teaching and playwriting. Her directing credits include THE SECRET IN THE WINGS, the one-act play NIGHT VISITS, and assistant directing THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH. Her play EINE LANGE REISE recently received a staged reading as part of Wasatch Theatre Company’s Page-to-Stage Festival. Megan currently works as an Assistant Teacher for the University of Utah Youth Theatre.

JESSE PORTILLO (Light Design) is happy to work with the Salt Lake Acting Company again, having previously designed IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE, GO, DOG, GO! and TOO MUCH MEMORY. Recent productions include SHE WAS MY BROTHER and AMERIGO with Plan-B Theatre Company, OLIVER at the Grand Theatre, and KISS ME KATE for Light Opera Oklahoma. Locally Jesse has also designed for Pygmalion Theatre, the Egyptian Theatre Company in Park City and the Babcock Theater at the University of Utah, where he is on the faculty of the Department of Theatre.

JENNIE SANT (Production Stage Manager) is excited to be back at SLAC after Stage Managing ANGELS IN AMERICA this season. Past work has included Egyptian Theatre Company as the AEA Stage Manager on PAGENT and THE MUSIC MAN. Pioneer Theatre Company as the 1st ASM on LES MISERABLES, PAINT YOUR WAGON, DOUBT, A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM, THE FOREIGNER, VERTICAL HOUR, and THE PRODUCERS. Other credits Stage Managing include ANGELS IN AMERICA parts I & II at the Babcock Theatre, TRUE WEST in Studio 115, HENRY V and MEASURE FOR MEASURE for Salt Lake Shakes and TALKING WALES II for Utah Contemporary Theatre.

SANDRA SHOTWELLl (Dialect Coach) is a professor with the University of Utah Department of Theatre, teaching acting, voice, speech, and text. A professional actress and dialect coach, she received an M.F.A. in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, an Advanced Diploma in Voice and Speech from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and is a Certified Laban-Bartenieff Movement Analyst. She has dialect coached for Pioneer Memorial Theatre, including: BLACK COMEDY, TWELVE ANGRY MEN, Charles Morey's THE YELLOW LEAF, HUMBLE BOY, THE VERTICAL HOUR, James Joyce's THE DEAD, THE REAL THING, DANCING AT LUGHNASA, ROUGH CROSSING, PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE, THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD, LAST NIGHT AT BALLYHOO, SOUTH PACIFIC, WEST SIDE STORY, O PIONEER!, and ST JOAN. Her film-television appearances include Touched by an Angel, Night Sins, The Long Road Home, Detention High, The Luck of Irish and Anya's Bell; she is the voice of TRAX for the north-south line. Sandra loves volunteering foster care for dogs with the Humane Society of Utah.

BRENDA VAN DER WEIL (Costume Design) as always, Brenda is happy to be working for SLAC. Brenda is part of the design faculty for the University of Utah Theatre Department. She designs regularly for that department as well as for Pioneer Theatre and for SLAC. Recent works include CHRISTMAS STORY, NOISES OFF, THE FOREIGNER and YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU for Pioneer Theatre Company; TROJAN WOMEN, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO and COMEDY OF ERRORS for Alabama Shakespeare Festival; THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE for the Babcock Theatre, and IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE, CHARM, MASTER CLASS, SIX YEARS, THE CLEAN HOUSE, ROUNDING THIRD and END DAYS for SLAC. She also designed several of the recent SATURDAY'S VOYEUR productions, including SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2009 and SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2008, and all but one of the University of Utah's Classical Greek Festival productions for the last eighteen years. Before moving to Utah, Brenda also worked at the Seattle Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, and the Utah Shakespearean Festival.

Press & Reviews

Salt Lake Magazine | Review: "The Persian Quarter" at SLAC | Jeremy Pugh | February 14, 2011

Salt Lake City Weekly | Salt Lake Acting Company: The Persian Quarter | Scott Renshaw | February 10, 2011

Utah Theater Bloggers Association | "The Persian Quarter" at SLAC: I am not a writer. Kathleen Cahill is. | Dave Mortensen | February 8, 2011

Deseret News'Persian Quarter' is worth staying for | Travis Poppleton | February 7, 2011

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | Tangling hearts and history in SLAC’s moving, disappointing The Persian Quarter | Jenniffer Wardell | February 6, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune | Review: ‘The Persian Quarter’ weaves history and culture with Persian magic | Ben Fulton | February 5, 2011

KUER 90.1 RadioWest with Doug Fabrizio | The Persian Quarter  | February 2, 2011

In Utah This Week | Arts Preview: 'Women Seeing Women' at SLAC | Daisy Blake | February 1, 2011

In Utah This Week | Theater Preview: 'The Persian Quarter' at SLAC | Daisy Blake | February 1, 2011

UVU Review | Generations of International conflict converge in The Persian Quarter | Nadia Ashtawy | January 31, 2011

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | The pleasure of learning with SLAC and Reading Lolita in Tehran | Jenniffer Wardell | January 29, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune | Making dramatic art of Persian poetry | Ben Fulton | January 27, 2011

Payvand Blog | Theater - The Persian Quarter by Salt Lake Acting Company | January 24, 2011

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | Bringing Heart to History with SLAC's The Persian Quarter and the SLC library | Jenniffer Wardell | January 19, 2011

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | History, poetry, and life in Salt Lake Acting Company’s The Persian Quarter | Jenniffer Wardell | January 15, 2011

Word of Mouth

What people are saying about The Persian Quarter...

Saturday, 05 February 2011 11:10 posted by David Moore

"The premier last night was magnificent, thoughtful, engaging and stimulating. May your production and the play itself have a long fruitful life." David Moore

TPQ_Ann_Rumi

"Another wonderful gift from Kathleen Cahill, expertly executed. Kathleen is simply a genius. We're so lucky to have her here and writing world class theatre in little old SLC. SLAC is a treasure!" - Thom Gourley

"Incredible play...don't miss it!" - Cindi Romney Evans

"Best thing to be seen in SLC this year. Amazing writing, brilliant performances, transported to past events and current issues that leave you exhaling with impact!" - Charles Lynn Frost

"Miss this essential play at your own peril." - Ben Fulton, Salt Lake Tribune

"I did see this production the first night and it is beautiful." - David Andreason

"Like it was written by the hand of deity--to send a message about todays world. Nothing, anywhere is more relevant for this moment!" - Jim Dabakis

"Yes, see this show. In fact, I’d make that a standard decision for any Cahill text. Thanks SLAC for supporting great new works in Salt Lake City." - Dave Mortensen, Utah Theatre Bloggers Association

SLAC_20110129_141"What an incredible thought-provoking play on our ideas of freedom, patriotism and sense of history. If you haven't seen it yet, book your tickets fast!!" - Dylan Schneider

"I've seen this play 3 times! Love it!" - Lauren Manzanares

"The Persian Quarter at Salt Lake Acting Company was one of the most brilliant shows I have seen in a long time!!" - Jason Langlois

"Loved it!! Thank you so much!!" - Naydean Parsons Reed

"It was great! We really enjoyed this one." - Brett Neilson

"My daughter, Eva, and I saw the show last night. Superb writing, superbly played. Thank you for this important production. We came home and I had to dig out my copies of THE ILLUMINATED RUMI and... ALL THE SHAH'S MEN." - Barbara Bellows-Terranova

For Tickets: Call 801.363.7522 or click here.
The Persian Quarter runs until Feb. 27, 2011.

SLAC Sparks

Spark noun. a trace or hint | inspiration or catalyst | an ignited or fiery particle, something that sets off a sudden force | anything that serves to animate, kindle, or excite 

The Essential Rumi
introduction by Coleman Barks
The ecstatic, spiritual poetry of Rumi

Blood and Oil: A Prince's Memoir of Iran, from the Shah to the Ayatollah by Roxane Farmanfarmaian and Manucher Farmanfarmaian
Iran was the first country in the Middle East to develop an oil industry, and oil has been central to its tumultuous twentieth-century history. A finalist for the PEN/West Award, Blood and Oil tells the epic inside story of the battle for Iranian oil. A prominent member of one of Iran's most powerful aristocratic families--so feared by Khomeini that the entire clan was blacklisted--Prince Manucher Farmanfarmaian was raised in a harem at the heart of Iran's imperial court. With wit and provocative detail, he describes the days when he served as the Shah's oil adviser and pioneered the partnership that resulted in OPEC. Beautifully written and epic in its scope, this scintillating memoir provides a fascinating history of modern Iran.

Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey From Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution by Ssattareh Farman Farmaian
As founder in 1958 of the Tehranok/per book School of Social Work, Sattareh naively believed, "If one only avoided politics, one could achieve something constructive." After two decades of humanitarian efforts in Iranian family planning, day care, vocational programs and aid to the poor and prisoners' families, she was arrested in 1979 by Khomeini's machine-gun-toting teenage minions. Branded an "imperialist," she narrowly escaped execution and now lives in the U.S. The 15th of 36 children, Sattareh revered and feared her "all-powerful" father, a prince and governor. This dramatic if restrained autobiography, written with freelancer Munker, describes her patriarchal upbringing and her education at UCLA. She belatedly realized that "keeping our mouths shut let the Shah do what he wanted." Her memoir is actually most effective as a political document. She powerfully condemns the Eisenhower-backed coup that toppled democratic premier Mossadegh and installed ruthless dicatator Reza Shah Pahlavi, whose fascist secret police were trained and financed by the CIA. The Shah's corrupt, unjust regime, she graphically demonstrates, fueled explosive resentment that found an outlet in Khomeini's fanaticism.

The Hand of Poetry: Five Mystic Poets of Persia, lectures by Inayat Khan
Poems by five Persian writers are accompanied by a discussion of the poems and the background of each poet

All The Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer
With a thrilling narrative that sheds much light on recent events, this national bestseller brings to life the 1953 CIA coup in Iran that ousted the country's elected prime minister, ushered in a quarter-century of brutal rule under the Shah, and stimulated the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Americanism in the Middle East. Selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and The Economist, it now features a new preface by the author on the folly of attacking Iran.

The Ayatollah Begs to Differ by Hooman Majd
The grandson of an eminent ayatollah and the son of an Iranian diplomat, journalist Hooman Majd is uniquely qualified to explain contemporary Iran's complex and misunderstood culture to Western readers.
The Ayatollah Begs to Differ provides an intimate look at a paradoxical country that is both deeply religious and highly cosmopolitan, authoritarian yet informed by a history of democratic and reformist traditions. Majd offers an insightful tour of Iranian culture, introducing fascinating characters from all walks of life, including zealous government officials, tough female cab drivers, and open-minded, reformist ayatollahs. It's an Iran that will surprise readers and challenge Western stereotypes.  In his new preface, Majd discusses the Iranian mood during and after the June 2009 presidential election which set off the largest street protests since the revolution that brought the ayatollahs to power.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books By Azar Nafisi
Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi's living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.

Understanding Iran: Everything You Need to Know, from Persia to the Islamic Republic, from Cyrus to Ahmadinejad by William R. Polk
William R. Polk provides an informative, readable history of a country which is moving quickly toward becoming the dominant power and culture of the Middle East. A former member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Council, Polk describes a country and a history misunderstood by many in the West. While Iranians chafe under the yolk of their current leaders, they also have bitter memories of generations of British, Russian and American espionage, invasion, and dominance. There are important lessons to be learned from the past, and Polk teases them out of a long and rich history and shows that it is not just now, but for decades to come that an understanding of Iran will be essential to American safety and well-being.

Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iranby Roxana Saberi

On the morning of January 31, 2009, Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist working in Iran, was forced from her home by four men and secretly detained in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. The intelligence agents who captured her accused her of espionage—a charge she denied. For several days, Saberi was held in solitary confinement, ruthlessly interrogated, and cut off from the outside world. For weeks, neither her family nor her friends knew her whereabouts.  After a sham trial that made headlines around the world, the thirty-one-year-old reporter was sentenced to eight years in prison. But following international pressure by family, friends, colleagues, various governments, and total strangers, she was released on appeal on May 11, 2009. Now Saberi breaks her silence to share the full account of her ordeal, describing in vivid detail the methods that Iranian hard-liners are using to try to intimidate and control many of the country's people.

In this gripping and inspirational true story, Saberi writes movingly of her imprisonment, her trial, her eventual release, and the faith that helped her through it all. Her recollections are interwoven with insights into Iranian society, the Islamic regime, and U.S.-Iran relations, as well as stories of her fellow prisoners—many of whom were jailed for their pursuit of human rights, including freedom of speech, association, and religion. Saberi gains strength and wisdom from her cellmates who support her throughout a grueling hunger strike and remind her of the humanity that remains, even when they are denied the most basic rights.  Between Two Worlds is also a deeply revealing account of this tumultuous country and the ongoing struggle for freedom that is being fought inside Evin Prison and on the streets of Iran. From her heartfelt perspective, Saberi offers a rich, dramatic, and illuminating portrait of Iran as it undergoes a striking, historic transformation.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrapi's best-selling, internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips.
Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.
Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom--Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.

Persian Mirrors: The Elisive Face of Iran by Elaine Sciolino
As a correspondent for Newsweek and The New York Times, Elaine Sciolino has had more experience covering Iran than any other American reporter. She was aboard the airplane that took Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Tehran in 1979 and was there for the Iranian revolution, the hostage crisis, the Iran-Iraq war, the rise of President Khatami, and the riots of the summer of 1999. In Persian Mirrors, Sciolino takes us into the public and private spaces of Iran and uncovers an alluring and seductive nation where a great battle is raging -- not for control over territory, but for the soul of its people.

Additional links

The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi, Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett on NPR, December 13, 2007 [53:00 audio]

Shadi Ghadirian's images, featured in 2007 Telegraph interview Confusion in sharp focus
Qajar Gallery

Turbulent 1998 two-screen video installation by Shirin Neshat

Roxana Saberi website

Window on Iran: Explorations of Persian culture and politics. blog by Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz

Persepolis (Film)

Women Without Men, A Film by Shirin Neshat in Collaboration with Shoja Azari

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In the Room

SLAC’s In The Room Conversation with THE PERSIAN QUARTER’s Playwright Kathleen Cahill and Director Alexandra Harbold.

KATHLEEN. What was I doing writing this play?  You stand at the mirror and look at yourself, and you can assess yourself, and you can assess your appearance, but you can’t see what’s inside – you can’t see what’s inside yourself.  This play is actually trying to look inside myself.  To look at an experience that I had 35 years ago.  When I was 22, I went overland to Iran for adventure and to teach English.  I didn’t know anything about Iran.  Nothing.  Zero. I didn’t even know how to count to ten in their language. I remember I was taking the train from Istanbul to Iran, and there were Muslims on the train who unrolled their carpets five times a day and prayed to Mecca; I had never seen that before – I had never even heard of Mecca.  One of them taught me to count to ten in Farsi, which I still remember.  So I arrived in Tehran, and then I took an airplane to Shiraz and a taxi from the airport, and I cannot tell you – it was like arriving on another planet.  It’s a different year because they count the calendar from Mohammed not from Jesus, so it’s seven hundred years earlier; the days of the week are different – the Holy day isn’t Sunday, it’s Friday – Jomai – so it’s a six day week with Friday off, so those two things, just to begin with, threw me.  Then I was wearing this little light Sunday dress with a little short skirt, and there were these tribal women around where the taxi dropped me off, and they started doing that yuyulating thing with their voices – because of my skirt.  So it was all quite astonishing, and that was my introduction to Iran.

I lived there for ten months, and a lot of things happened, and I saw a lot of things, but I didn’t understand what I was seeing because I was uninformed and naïve.  But I never forgot the experience, and when the elections came up in the news in 2009, and I saw the women in the streets protesting, I just thought, “What is this about, and what happened to me then, and how do those things connect over 35 years?”  So I started to think about it, and I started to read a lot, and it was amazing because a lot of memories – and I know this is true of every other person – you think you have forgotten, but if you start thinking back, it will come.  More and more memories come.  The language came back – I remembered sentences – like I remembered how to say, “So and so is amusing us.” (Laughter) Memories, memories, memories started to come back, and I tied those memories to what I was learning from my reading.  I was also understanding things for the first time that I did not understand thirty-five years ago, and out of that came THE PERSIAN QUARTER.

How long were you there? 

shah_uniform
Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, emperor of Iran 1941, overthrown 1979

KATHLEEN.Ten months.  And at the time, they were our number 1 allies in the Middle East.  We allowed the Shah in Iran to buy as many weapons as he wanted, and he wanted a lot of them.  So being Western was the ‘in’ thing; everyone wanted to be and had to be to please the authorities.  The women used to wear miniskirts with transparent chadors. That was in ’76.  Then the Iranian Revolution comes, and everything changes.  And I started to notice that the young students who were interested in politics, who felt like this American dominance of their culture wasn’t right were starting to put on chadors as an act of rebellion.  Wearing a chador actually became a sign of independence.  Then.  It became something else, but that’s what it was then.

ANDRA. THE PERSIAN QUARTER is about crisis of recognition, crisis of understanding.  The 1979 Hostage Crisis is also called the Diplomatic Crisis – and because Kathleen has me obsessed with the elasticity of language, I started wondering about the word crisis and how the difference in naming the event transforms the perspective.  In the Greek, krisis means the turning point in a disease.  And that felt really right to me.  It implies that fevered state and then that moment when or that possibility that the fever might break.  And that we come to that moment of recognition, that turning point, through turmoil, through struggle. We’re often not put in those moments of recognition if the status quo continues.  The sense of patriotism is equally strong in Ann and Shirin, but it’s a totally different beast.  What that means.  Having someone else quote our nation’s history back at you as an outside observer is very different than having another American speak to you.  Perhaps because there’s a shared complicity because of our shared past.   When someone from another country criticizes your country, it’s interesting what fires in your system.  And there’s that crisis of recognition.

arrival
American hostages returning home

We become foreigners through the play.   In the first act of the play, we are dropped into Iran, and we are foreigners as much as Ann and Mike are.  And Ann and Mike have very different ways of dealing with being foreigners.  There’s that one sense of being like tissue paper and absorbing everything ~ and it colors your life and your mind forever after.  And there’s that part where your identity is about what’s familiar and known, and that pulls closer and tighter, and I think that narrowing is what Ann fights – where it feels like you can’t absorb anything because it threatens that core sense of identity.  That crisis of recognition, that crisis of understanding, feels like the core of the play to me.  And then you have Rumi, who keeps pointing to, “Yes, from this perspective this is the picture, but what happens if you change your perspective?”  And that’s what feels magical about THE PERSIAN QUARTER for me – it contains political and historical realities, but then you’ve constantly got Rumi saying, “Why don’t you look at it from here?”

 

 

rumi-medium
Rumi

KATHLEEN. For Iranians, poetry is very much woven into their daily lives.  They name their supermarkets after poets.  They name their hospitals after poets.  A friend of mine when I lived in Iran 35 years ago worked for a family planning organization in Tehran, and instead of memos, the doctors were writing poems.  They were publishing pamphlets that were poems.  I can’t even explain what poetry is there.  I can’t even explain what poetry is there.  On a high plane, it’s a recognition that there is another reality than this daily life thing.  There’s a higher ether all around us, and they’re recognizing that all the time – from the most mundane rhyming couplet all the way to Rumi.  Rumi is like Buddha.  Rumi tells you how to live; he keeps reminding you that there’s another plane of existence where this mishigas stuff (laughing) disappears – it just doesn’t exist.  It’s immaterial.  So Rumi’s in the play to represent that spirit in Iran of poetry, which is thereall the time.  It’s the common language in a way of all Iranians.  And that’s something you never hear about in the news.  Nobody ever talks about that mentality that has this poetic spiritual quality to it all of the time.  In an ordinary way.  It’s there in ordinary life.  It’s in the daily life, and that’s why Rumi is in the play.

So when you talked about hearing about the elections and reading, was it about politics or culture.  Where did you start?

KATHLEEN. Actually, I started back with a book called All the Shah’s Men (Stephen Kinzer), which is about how we, the United States, overthrew the only democratically elected Prime Minister that Iran has ever had.   I remember hearing about that when I was in Iran, and I also remember hearing about what the CIA did.  The Shah had a twin sister who apparently showed up with this fur coat lined with money to give out in the bazaar to get people to rise up against Mosaddegh.  I heard these stories, and I thought, no, that can’t be true.  It’s just impossible – that can’t be true.  But this book, All the Shah’s Men, is about how that was true.  

MOHAMMAD_MOSSADEQ_
Mohammad Mosaddegh

Mosaddegh is a very important person, and we don’t even know his name.  He was on the cover of TIME Magazine in 1952 as Man of the Year, and then we proceeded to overthrow him.  So I read about that.  And then I saw the Iranian women taking to the streets in protest and risking their lives.  I read some fabulous biographies of older women going back to the days of the harem.  So I started with the politics, and then I went back into the social history.

I was thinking about writing this play, and whenever I’m thinking about writing a play, I have to have the universe speak to me.  I was in the Sweet Library, and I saw a sign for the Rumi Poetry Club, and it was like (in an awed whisper), “That’s there for me.”(Laughter) And then I was in Los Angeles walking on the beach with my husband, and I saw a spray-painted sign that said RUMI LIVES.  And I thought, Oh God, this is really the universe talking to me.

ANDRA. What I love about Kathleen’s work is that you get immersed in what’s really beautiful about the Persian culture, the Iranian culture.  It’s your gateway in.  It changes your state of mind.  It’s so vivid.  What we hear on the news gets us so blinkered and unable to see another culture beyond conflict.  You immediately get transported through Kathleen’s writing.  And then it gets mixed up with history and politics.  But you end up with this sort of longing for language, a longing for music and saturated experience that isn’t naturalistic, and then you get the humor of the play that subverts your expectation – whatever you think is around the corner isn’t what’s around the corner.  I keep thinking immersion and inversion.  Dunk you in and turn the world upside down.  The play, Kathleen’s writing, change your inner state.

What about the whole generational question in the play – particularly the mothers and daughters?  The American daughter 30 years later – so real, so true.  Could you speak to that choice?

KATHLEEN. I was being a little bit harsh, but I think it’s also true.  I feel like our culture is becoming even more brutalized.  The mother was a true believer.  She was a patriot.  She was religious – an ex-nun.  Although she has in her the feminist desire to be her own woman, so she was an ex-nun.  Then the daughter believes in her career – and almost nothing else – she doesn’t know any history, doesn’t know any poetry.  And I feel like that’s the case; I feel like that is what’s happening to our culture.  I was watching Wynton Marsalis on 60 Minutes last night, and he was saying the same thing.

So Ann didn’t pass it on?

KATHLEEN. No, because Ann was seriously wounded.  It’s implied that there’s not a good relationship; she didn’t pass that on.  And the daughter has rejected that, and said, that was you, not me.  What the culture then gives a person like that is go and pursue your career, and that’s all.  It’s an empty kind of existence… And that’s what’s going on.

ANDRA. There’s a secret underneath the scene with the daughters.  There is a legacy.  Something really amazing happens at the end of that with seeing Rumi through the lens.  Reading more and listening to more about Rumi, that sense that transformation happening so quickly.  When Coleman Barks speaks about Rumi, he does talk about slow growth, but there’s also the encounter that suddenly shifts everything in a moment.  And that feels like part of the play, too.

KATHLEEN. But also at the end of the play, what Rumi represents is this other existence, and that is there, whether you know it or not, it’s always there.

What style is this play?

ANDRA. It has so many elements – that’s part of the whole subversion of expectation thing…  It is mystical.  It is a visceral play.  All of your senses get hit.  That’s where the magic comes from – loving this existence.  It is supersaturated experience.  (to Kathleen) And because you always write from the body to me, the physical language jumps out of naturalism.  The Rumi poems bring all of these metaphors into play.  There is a metaphorical and naturalistic way of moving in this world…

The whirling is at the heart of the play for me.

Could you talk a little bit more about what that is?

Dervishes
Whirling dervishes

ANDRA.Tapping into the Sufi tradition – Rumi lost one of his best friends, his soul mate.  When he heard of his friend’s murder, he began circling a pillar and speaking out poems in his grief.  According to what I’ve read, his students then began to write them down.  That became the root of the Whirling Dervish tradition.  It’s whirling into transcendence. 

KATHLEEN. When I was in Istanbul in the spring, I went to see the Whirling Dervishes.  They recognize Rumi, too.  There were children in the audience who fell asleep because it is a meditation and they get into this state by whirling.  And actually, when they tried to found modern Turkey, it was banned because (laughing) they didn’t want them in that transcendent state while they’re trying to found modern Turkey.

It is like watching a top spin, you do become mesmerized by how long they can do it.

ANDRA. There is a really beautiful program on NPR’s Speaking of Faith/On Being, The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi, talking about whirling as a way of staying centered while moving.  Our world is moving so fast.

KATHLEEN. So our audience is going to be invited to whirl.  (Laughing. Laughter)

ANDRA. We were thinking of Rumi in the men’s restroom at the intermission.

KATHLEEN(Laughing) Yes.  There he is.

How has the play changed since you had the reading during CHARM?  How has it evolved for you or what is that revising process?

KATHLEEN. It’s changed.  Here’s this play that hadn’t had a workshop or anything, and you said you wanted to produce it – which was thrilling – and it’s really important to hear your play.  With CHARM, I had four workshops with different places around the country before it came here for the World Premiere.  It had really been worked on.  I think when you produce a new play that hasn’t been heard, it has to be heard.  I just needed to keep hearing it.  And it changed.  In some ways a lot and in some ways not a lot.  Both.

Small changes for big effect.

Even after that initial reading with the public.  There were mega changes.  It was fascinating to begin with, but I felt you really dug into the core of what the story was after that.

ANDRA. And Rumi.

KATHLEEN. Yes.  This thing about hearing it – if you do a new play again, I’d just like to build that in because --  a play exists in your ear.  You have to hear it.  I could read it over a zillion times and not know what to do until I hear it.   Actors do that.

It was nice also to have the actors on board for that length of time – to have them committed – so that each shift that you made, they could adjust and go with that.

KATHLEEN. Yes, that was a blessing.  I think it was maybe a little hard on them, but it was crucial for the play.

And Andra, you’ve been living with this play for a long time.  Can you talk a little bit about that?

ANDRA. I received a quote in an email the other day by Charles Dickens, that I sent on to Kathleen.

KATHLEEN. It’s so great.

ANDRA. “The whole difference between construction and creation is this; that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.” I feel like I’ve been in love with this play for so long, and now we get to build it ourside of our heads.  It has been a gift to have our company for so long, because it feels like there’s a real wisdom – even in running into walls. It feels like time is a current in THE PERSIAN QUARTER.  Rumi gets us into the water and we move through time with him.  I love how physical it is.

THE PERSIAN QUARTER explores the experience of freedom.  That word doesn’t seem sufficient, somehow.  It doesn’t get at the essence of itself – perhaps because we use that word so often in our culture – abstractly, ideologically.  But looking at freedom from the perspective of repression and captivity within the play, something shifts.  THE PERSIAN QUARTER captures that sense of constriction in your lungs, in your body, of being unable to move and then of freedom which feels like this wild taste on your tongue – for Azadeh – or for Ann, the memory of apple pie and blue sky – there’s this appetite for freedom that the play gets at.  That’s what I really love about it.  It makes me recognize my own freedom in a very different way.

KATHLEEN. There’s a poem I read a long long time ago and just never forgot called Things I Didn’t Know I Loved by Nazim Hikmet when he was in prison, and it’s just the ordinary things…

ANDRA. Yes.

Thank you

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

By Laura Joffe Numeroff | Adapted By Jody Davidson 

Directed by: Penny Caywood

Company: Dustin Bolt, Michael Gardner

December 1 - December 26, 2010

Description

For the holidays, SLAC is thrilled to produce its second annual professional play for children, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie adapted by Jody Davidson. Based on the children’s book by Laura Joffe Numeroff, the play follows a small boy who turns his house upside-down trying to please one hungry mouse.

In conjunction with the play, SLAC’s outreach efforts include seven free performances for Title 1 schoolchildren, four discounted performances for non-Title 1 schools, an interactive online study guide, and literary partnerships with the Salt Lake City Public Library and The King's English Bookshop.

Cast

Dustin_BoltDUSTIN BOLT (Mouse) is thrilled to be returning to SLAC for IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE. Previously at SLAC he was seen in the extension of SATURDAY'S VOYEUR -- THE YEAR THAT WAS. He received his BS in Musical Theatre from Weber State University where he studied under Jim Christian and Tracy Callahan. Past credits include: Sammy in THE WEDDING SINGER (Hale Centre Theatre), Leaf Coneybear in THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Pinnacle Acting Co.), Red Dog in GO, DOG. GO! (SLAC), George in SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK, LIVE! (The Grand Theatre), Helika and Security in SATURDAY'S VOYEUR '09 (SLAC), Dennis Shepard and others in THE LARAMIE PROJECT (WSU), Sir Phantom Jitter in MUSICAL OF MUSICALS: THE MUSICAL (WSU), John Hinckley Jr. in ASSASSINS (WSU), Younger Brother in RAGTIME (SCERA Outdoor Theater), Charlie Brown in YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN (Sweetwater Summer Stock Co.), and the Porter in MACBETH (WSU), which performed in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for Shakespeare in Washington. Recently he had the opportunity to work on a staged reading of Sam Wessels' musical REAL DOLLS where he played the role of Ben. Dustin also owns his own photography business, Lightning Bolt Photography, which specializes in headshots for actors, bridals, and family portraiture. He would like to thank the creative team and SLAC for this wonderful opportunity and for bringing theatre to young audiences. He also thanks his parents for their continued love and ever constant support. This show is dedicated to Rachel, Andrew, John, Heston, Porter, Brenner, and Alice Rei.

Michael_Gardner_BWMICHAEL GARDNER (Boy) Mike is back at SLAC! He last was seen as Adam in DARK PLAY: OR STORIES FOR BOYS.  Mike is a Utah trained actor, studying at Hurricane High school, Dixie College, and finally graduating from Utah State’s acting program in the spring of 2007. While at Utah State he played and was awarded Irene Ryan nominations for outstanding performer as Simon in HAYFEVER, Action in WEST SIDE STORY, and Aunt Spiker in JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. Mike has also been seen in EVERYMAN and SHADOWS OF THE BAKEMONO with Meat and Potato theatre. Other favorite roles include the title role in PIPPIN (HHS), Sydney Bruel in DEATHTRAP (DSC), Arnold Wiggins from THE BOYS NEXT DOOR (DSC) and Mercutio in Pinnacle Acting Companies’ production of ROMEO AND JULIET. 

PENELOPE MARANTZ CAYWOOD (Director) (Penny to her friends) is best known for her work with University of Utah’s Youth Theatre program where she has been the director for the past 4 years. She had directed a Youth Theatre production every year and is also responsible for the educational and outreach programming which includes a satellite program and collaboration with the Egyptian Theatre in Park City as well as an association with the Kennedy Center Partners in Education program (along with Kingsbury Hall and the Salt Lake City School District). Locally, Penny has choreographed for The Grand Theatre, Utah Opera, Rogers Memorial Theatre, Weber State University; musically directed for Plan-B; and directed at Rogers Memorial Theatre. Penny’s career in the theatre started when she was 5 years old. She travelled across the country in a youth singing group, sang on children’s records, and learned jazz and tap from incredible teachers. While she lived in California, Penny was involved in the creation of a youth theatre company in Palos Verdes called Curtains Up! She was also a very active as an actor in musicals for civic light operas with an occasional job in the pit as a flautist. Coming up: Penny will be taking 24 Youth Theatre students to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland next summer!  Penny is so delighted to be working with Salt Lake Acting Company.

JODY DAVIDSON (Playwright) is a director and arts administrator whose career and accomplishments in the field of theatre for young audiences spans 30 years.  She is the founder of the Rainbow Company Children’s Theatre and co-founder of both the Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre and the Serendipity Theatre Company.  She has the unique distinction and honor of being the only founder/executive director of three separate children’s theatres to be named the “Best New Children’s Theatre in the United States” by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.  In addition to her dedication to the field of family theatre, her seminal work in the field of theatre for disabled artists has produced several scripts.  Jody has been featured in People magazine and on Good Morning, America as well as in many other national publications and media.

DAVID EVANOFF (Sound Designer & Original Music) has been a musician and musical director for a life time.  David has been musical director for SATURDAY’S VOYEUR and BAT BOY THE MUSICAL here at The Salt Lake Acting Company.  Recent credits include JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR,TOMMY and this years production of HAIR, for the Egyptian Theater Company and Hedwig & The Angry Inch for Plan-B Theatre.   David has directed projects from coast to coast including Disneyland, Universal Studios, the Orange Bowl and here locally for the 2002 Winter Olympics. David is the owner of Sound Designs Studio, where he writes and produces music for film, TV and special events.

LAURA JOFFE NUMEROFF (Book Author) is the author of many books for young readers in addition to the If You Give... series, including The Chicken Sisters and Laura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your Monster. She lives in Los Angeles, CA where she loves to ride horses, read biographies, and play with her pets. A portion of her royalties are donated to First Book, a national nonprofit organization that promotes children’s literacy. 

KEVEN MYHRE (Set Design/Executive Producer) was chosen to receive the Mayor’s Artist Award in the Performing Arts for 2009. Keven was awarded the 2008 City Weekly Award for directing THE CLEAN HOUSE and MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS at Salt Lake Acting Company. His other directing credits at SLAC are ANGELS IN AMERICA: PARTS 1 & 2, THE OVERWHELMING, RABBIT HOLE, I AM MY OWN WIFE, BAD DATES, KIMERBLY AKIMBO, GOING TO ST. IVES, WATER LILIES, THE MEMORY OF WATER, TWO-HEADED, THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE, GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE, C’EST MOI  in  MERE MORTALS, and THREE DAYS OF RAIN. Keven has designed all of SLAC’s sets and many of the costumes for the last sixteen years. He also designed sixteen sets for The Grand Theatre, including ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE, JOHNNY GUITAR, MY FAIR LADY, SONG OF SINGAPORE, MORNING’S AT SEVEN, and GODSPELL. ACCORDING TO COYOTE, WEST SIDE STORY, CROW AND WEASEL, and SOUTH PACIFIC were designed for Sundance Theatre. His designs have also been seen at Pioneer Memorial Theatre, Utah Musical Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, Kingsbury Hall and the Babcock Theatre. His work for the Utah Arts Festival includes site design for the 20th Anniversary. He received a BFA from the University of Utah and a MFA in Theatre from the University of Michigan.

JESSE PORTILLO (Lighting Design) is happy to work with the Salt Lake Acting Company again, having previously designed GO, DOG, GO! and TOO MUCH MEMORY. Recent productions include SHE WAS MY BROTHER and AMERIGO with Plan-B Theatre Company, OLIVER at the Grand Theatre, and KISS ME KATE for Light Opera Oklahoma. Locally Jesse has also designed for Pygmalion Theatre, the Egyptian Theatre Company in Park City and the Babcock Theater at the University of Utah, where he is on the faculty of the Department of Theatre.

BRENDA VAN DER WIEL (Costume Design) as always, Brenda is happy to be working for SLAC. Brenda is part of the design faculty for the University of Utah Theatre Department. She designs regularly for that department as well as for Pioneer Theatre and for SLAC. Recent works include CHRISTMAS STORY, NOISES OFF, THE FOREIGNER and YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU for Pioneer Theatre Company; TROJAN WOMEN, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO and COMEDY OF ERRORS for Alabama Shakespeare Festival; THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE for the Babcock Theatre, and CHARM, MASTER CLASS, SIX YEARS, THE CLEAN HOUSE, ROUNDING THIRD and END DAYS for SLAC. She also designed several of the recent SATURDAY'S VOYEUR productions, including SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2010, 2009 and 2008, and all but one of the University of Utah's Classical Greek Festival productions for the last eighteen years. Before moving to Utah, Brenda also worked at the Seattle Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, and the Utah Shakespearean Festival.

Press & Reviews

Blogger I Never Grew Up | If You Give A Mouse A Cookie | Vanessa (December 13, 2010)

Deseret News | Kids will love SLAC's darling If You Give A Mouse A Cookie | Erica Hansen (December 12, 2010)

City Weekly | If You Give a Mouse a Cookie -New theater productions offer comedy, cookies and Christmas cheer. | Scott Renshaw (December 8, 2010)

In Utah This Week | Theater review: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie | Daisy Blake (December 7, 2010)

Blogger Happy Meets Crazy | Theater With The Kidlets: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie | Cheryl (December 5, 2010)

Utah Theater Bloggers Association | Sweets at SLAC | Tyler & Danniey Wright (December 4, 2010)

Salt Lake Tribune | 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie' will capture kids | Scott D. Pierce (December 2, 2010)

City Weekly | If You Give A Mouse A Cookie | Scott Renshaw (December 2, 2010)

Standard-Examiner | Children's play brings out creativity in adult actors | Nancy Van Valkenburg (November 25, 2010)

Salt Lake Tribune | Children's theater is not child's play | Scott D. Pierce (November 24, 2010)

Salt Lake City Theater Examiner | If You Give A Mouse A Cookie comes to life at Salt Lake Acting Company | Jenniffer Wardell (November 18, 2010)

Word of Mouth

Mouse_crayon"I loved the tape part; it was so funny!" - Nathan, 6

"Ooh! The part where they were dancing; the mirror part. I loved that!" - Ashley, 9