At 19, Robert Scott Smith, a convert to the LDS Church, was serving a mission in Independence, Mo., when he had an unusual dream.
"At that point in my life, I'm an actor and a Mormon, and I had a dream that one day I would play Joseph Smith," says Smith. "Fast forward many years later, I'm no longer a member of the Mormon church and I'm getting my opportunity to play Joseph Smith."
Smith will play the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake Acting Company's 2015 edition of "Saturday's Voyeur," the irreverent annual musical that parodies Utah culture. The show, written by Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht, opens Friday, June 26, after previews June 24 and 25; its scheduled run of more than 70 performances will continue through Aug. 30. Nearly 14,000 tickets are expected to be sold, and that group usually consists of returning fans as well as some "Voyeur" (and live theater) virgins, says director/choreographer Cynthia Fleming...
The gods must be crazy. It’s time again for SATURDAY’S VOYEUR – Utah’s biggest summer party – at Salt Lake Acting Company. With its rich 37-year history, SATURDAY’S VOYEUR has firmly established its place not only as a raucous, riotous musical comedy, but as an integral community event for anyone who lives and loves the strange dichotomy of being a Utah liberal. SATURDAY’S VOYEUR is a unique gift to this community, and is an excellent example of what theatre companies around the country are now beginning to invest in – plays that are created and represent the community for whom they are produced.
SATURDAY’S VOYEUR is a staple in the summer of nearly 14,000 people across the Wasatch Front and beyond. For over 70 performances June through September, SLAC’s Upstairs Theatre is filled with shrewd and savvy Utahans who pack their picnics and come ready to laugh at the quirky, peculiar, sometimes infuriating, always entertaining life and culture of the Beehive State.
This summer, as the tour of the Broadway blockbuster THE BOOK OF MORMON musical is playing down the street at the Capitol Theatre, the Utah original, SATURDAY’S VOYEUR will be playing in the old 19th Ward meeting house (that is now Salt Lake Acting Company). Singing and dancing Mormon missionaries are not a novelty for Utah; VOYEUR fans have seen the church parodied in true musical theatre fashion since 1978.
This year’s show is pulling out the big guns, literally. Featuring the Hot Shot calendar babes from last year’s Camp Williams photo shoot scandal along with the hot shots from LDS church history, VOYEUR 2015 brings together gods and mortals to tackle Utah’s biggest and most peculiar issues.
The statues of Temple Square – Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, and of course the Angel Moroni – come to life only to be horrified to learn that women are trying to break into their priesthood boys’ club, Brigham’s beloved beard is banned at the BYU, and the church’s PR department was unable to keep Joseph’s 14-year-old bride a secret any longer. Thanks to the internet, their dirty laundry is being aired for all the world to see and mock. What are these poor boys to do? Perhaps visitations from Moses, the Buddha, the Pope, and even Jesus Christ himself will help them find their bliss. In the meantime, Kate Kelly (founder of Ordain Women) calls on Heavenly Mother to help her fight the good fight, refusing to let her excommunication from the LDS church keep her from soaring.
Created by Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht, SATURDAY’S VOYEUR 2015 is directed and choreographed by SLAC Executive Producer Cynthia Fleming. The cast features a healthy mix of VOYEUR veterans and virgins including Alexis Baigue (15 years), Jenessa Bowen (3 years), Olivia Custodio (2 years), Elena Dern (2 years), Aaron Eskelson (first year), Camille Evans (first year), Anna Harris (first year), Justin Ivie (7 years), Eb Madson (3 years), Terry Lee McGriff (first year), Erica Smith (first year), Robert Scott Smith (2 years), and Hayden Warzek (2 years).
Director/Choreographer – Cynthia Fleming
Music Director/Arranger – Kevin Mathie
Set & Costume Design – Keven Myhre
Lighting Design – James M. Craig
Sound Design – Shea Madson
Stage Manager – Janice Jenson
Assistant Stage Manager – Christian Stringham
Assistant Director/Choreographer – Shannon Musgrave
Alexis Baigue returns for his 15th summer in SATURDAY’S VOYEUR 2015. Other credits: GOODNIGHT DESDEMONA (GOOD MORNING JULIET), ANGELS IN AMERICA, HOW I BECAME A PIRATE, this December’s ART DOG, staged readings MOTHER COLLEGE, THE LIVELY LAD, BUNBURY, THE CANCER DIARIES, CHARM, PROPHETS OF NATURE, HARBUR GATE (S.L.A.C.), ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS (Pioneer), DEAR WORLD (Sundance Summer Theatre), BEYOND THERAPY, THE SEX HABITS OF AMERICAN WOMEN (Pygmalion), THE BOYS IN THE BAND (Wasatch), SURFIN’ SAFARI (Desert Star), JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS (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 (Utah Contemporary Theatre), RECTUM! and CUP (First Unitarian); films: SLOW MOE, SINGLE TRACKS, PAM AND GAY GHOST, 12 DOGS OF CHRISTMAS: GREAT PUPPY RESCUE; television: GRANITE FLATS, Utah’s Own, and Yes Utah commercials.
Jenessa Bowen is back for her 5th production at SLAC! She was last seen on SLAC's stage as Mouse and Young Frog in A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD. More SLAC credits include; Gayle God-zicka & Dead Docent in SATURDAYS VOYEUR 2014, Thing 2 in THE CAT IN THE HAT, and Sister Docent in SATURDAYS VOYEUR 2013. Other past credits include; Ruby in SHELTER (Off-Broadway debut), Little Red in INTO THE WOODS (Centerpoint Legacy), Natalie in NEXT TO NORMAL (Ziegfeld Theatre), Adelaide in GUYS AND DOLLS (Ziegfeld), Annabel Glick in LUCKY STIFF (WSU), Sara in PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (WSU), Jolene in DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (Centerpoint & Ziegfeld), Peggy Swift in FATHER OF THE BRIDE (Hale Centre Theatre), Erin in RING OF FIRE (Dark Horse Theatre Co.), Mary Lennox in THE SECRET GARDEN (Rodgers), Anybodys in WEST SIDE STORY (Rodgers), Adele in JANE EYRE (HCT), and Lulu in NUPTIALS (HCT). Jenessa has earned her Bachelors of Science in Musical Theatre from Weber State University, and is currently pursuing a Pharmacy Technician License at the DATC.
Olivia Custodio feels incredibly #blessed to be returning for her second VOYEUR. You may have recently seen her as Domina in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (University of Utah), Eunice in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Radical Hospitality Theater), or as the understudy for Sue Mengers in I'LL EAT YOU LAST (Salt Lake Acting Company). Because Olivia is very fancy and well-bred, she has sung leading roles in such operas as LA VOIX HUMAINE, HANSEL AND GRETEL, and FALSTAFF. Olivia received her Master of Music from the University of Utah and her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She would like to take a moment to thank her biggest inspiration, all pugs everywhere, for their constant support. God bless SLAC and you, drunken patron, for making SATURDAY'S VOYEUR a place for this actress to spread her irreverent wings and fly!
Elena Dern is thrilled to be spending another summer doing VOYEUR at SLAC! Most recently, she was seen in SLAC's production of TWO STORIES as Melinda and has worked as Assistant Choreographer for SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2013/2014. Other SLAC credits include Sally in CAT IN THE HAT, BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON, and SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2012. Favorite roles include Diana in The Egyptian Theatre's production of A CHORUS LINE, Madelaine True in WILD PARTY and Gwen Landis in FIFTH OF JULY in Studio 115, ensemble in HAIR and THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, and Raymonde in A FLEA IN HER EAR at the Babcock Theatre. Elena is a graduate of the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah and is a member of local dance troupe ArtsofChaos. She thanks her family and friends for their never ending support!!
Aaron Eskelson is thrilled to be making his Voyeur Debut! He is currently pursuing his BFA in Musical Theatre at the University of Utah. Aaron was most recently seen as Protean III in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at the Babcock Theatre as well as Lagoon’s SIMPLE JOYS and FRIGHTMARES. Favorite past roles include: SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (Gideon) BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Lumiere) HELLO DOLLY (Ambrose) HAPPY DAYS (Richie Cunningham). Aaron is grateful for this opportunity and thanks his Heavenly Father for this calling. He would also like to thank his friends and family for their continuous support.
Camille Evans is making her debut with Salt Lake Acting Company and couldn't be more excited to be a part of SATURDAY’S VOYEUR 2015! She has recently finished her degree at the U of U with a BFA in musical theatre and is thankful to have been part of such a beautiful college experience. Her recent stage appearances include GODSPELL (U of U Studio 115), Fame (The Grand), ONCE UPON A MATTRESS (Babcock Theatre), SPRING AWAKENING (Babcock Theatre) and THE WILD PARTY (U of U Studio 115).
Anna Harris is incredibly excited to be a “Voyeur Virgin” this summer. Anna received her BFA in acting from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington in May 2014. Favorite past roles include: THE SECRET GARDEN (Lily Craven) THE LAST FIVE YEARS (Cathy) RENT (Maureen) BYE BYE BIRDIE (Rosie) SUMMER BRAVE (Mrs. Potts) BAT BOY THE MUSICAL (Ron Taylor). Anna would like to thank her gracious parents Ted & Dona for their constant support.
Justin Ivie is a proud member of Actors’ Equity who is thrilled to return to the SATURDAY'S VOYEUR family for 2015. This is Justin’s seventh VOYEUR. He has also appeared at SLAC as Jones in TOO MUCH MEMORY, and he recently directed SLAC’s readings of GRANT & TWAIN and BANG-BANG (PAUSE) BANG. His many acting credits include appearances with Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah Musical Theatre, Egyptian Theatre Company, Old Lyric Repertory Theatre and many other others - both locally and in Chicago. This spring, Justin appeared in DRIVING MISS DAISY for Walk-Ons, Inc. – a production which he also directed, designed and co-produced. Wearing his director’s cap, Justin has staged three seasons of THE SENIOR THEATRE PROJECT - which tours short plays (written by, for, and about seniors!) to community senior centers and residence facilities. He has also directed Arthur Miller’s THE PRICE for The OtherSide Players and JACOB MARLEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL for OurSpace Theatre Company. A Weber State alumnus, Justin earned his MFA in Acting at Northern Illinois University. He has taught theatre and communications at LDS Business College, NIU, Triton College, and Weber State. Justin also designs scenery, props and theatrical masks, writes an occasional play, and sometimes even plays his banjo (when he's pretty sure no one is listening).
Eb Madson is incredibly excited to be returning for his third VOYEUR. Eb started his acting career as an improv actor when he was sixteen performing with local improv troupes Quick Wits, Laugh Match, 3.2 improv, Off the Cuff, and is original founding member of Off the Wall Improv & Improv Against Humanity in Ogden. Eb went on and received his BFA from the University of Utah Actor Training Program (Go Utes). He continued to get his Master's in Make Believe (MFA) from Ohio University. Upon graduating moved to New York where he lives today. In 2012 Eb received the James Whitmore Award for his work with the Peterborough Players in New Hampshire. This last year he has worked on several projects, including a web series "Happy Hour Feminism"Staring Anna Fishbeyn. Favorite past roles include: SATURDAY'S VOYEUR (Moroni, Mike Lee,Gayle, Elder, Baden) WAR IS F#CKING AWESOME (Hitler, Bean, Brit) STUART LITTLE (Stuart Little) MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING( Dogberry) THE SEAGULL (Treplev) THE CHERRY ORCHARD ( Yepikhodov) BALTIMORE WALZ (The Third Man) MAN=MAN (Gayly Gay) THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMANN (Johnny Pateen) ANCESTRAL VOICES (Timmy) YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN (Charlie Brown) and DOG SEES GOD (CB). To learn more about Eb you can visit his webpage at ebmadson.com.
Terry Lee McGriff was most recently seen performing for younger audiences in SLAC's children's show, A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD. Terry is thrilled to be back on the SLAC stage to pop his Voyeur cherry in front of some more mature audiences! Other credits include THE COLOR PURPLE (Wasatch Theatre Company), SPRING AWAKENING (Midvale Mainstreet Theatre), and AVENUE Q (Babcock Theatre).
Erica Renee Smith is thrilled to be a part of SATURDAY’S VOYEUR for the first time! She spent the last few months doing shows at Desert Star Playhouse, most recently seen as Eliza in PIRATES OF THE SCARIBBEAN. She also has performed at Midvale MainStreet Theatre in Utah. She hails from Arizona and holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Arizona. Thanks to friends and family for love and support.
Robert Scott Smith’s NYC credits include KEEPING ISHMAEL (Workshop); PERICLES (SLANT); and the co-development of Roger Benington’s new work, MORMON BIRD PLAY. SLC acting credits include Rapture Blister Bun, Good People, CHARM (World Premiere), SWIMMING IN THE SHALLOWS, SIX YEARS, BIG LOVE, BATBOY: THE MUSICAL, and GROSS INDECENCY (Salt Lake Acting Company); CRUCIBLE (Pioneer Theatre Company); SHHH! BURLESQUE, PAINS OF YOUTH, and SANTALAND DIARIES (Tooth and Nail Theatre); OUR TOWN (The Grand Theatre); MOCKINGBIRD (Pygmalion); and BASH (Plan-B). Film and TV credits: Wildlife, Blessing, Animae, Guiding Light. Print: The Unfortunate Moment of Misunderstanding (Jim Fiscus). Robert Scott is the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory. Productions include a collaboration with the SLC Men's Choir LOST IN THE WOODS a theatrical concert at The Masonic Temple; a collaboration with choreographer Charlotte Boye-Christensen, NOW-ID and NYC Playwright Troy Deutsch to create FEAST a site-specific performance at The Great Saltair. And at The Leonardo he created the POPUP@LEO program where he co-created and performed in SENSES 5, LOVE, and MIND OVER MATTER. Robert Scott is currently an adjunct instructor for the Department of Theatre at the University of Utah. Education: MFA Old Globe Theatre San Diego; BFA Actor Training Program University of Utah.
Hayden Warzek is excited to return to Salt Lake Acting Company as a veteran for the 2015 summer of SATURDAY'S VOYEUR! He is currently studying Strategic Communication, Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Utah, while being a part of SLAC's staff and working as an assistant at McCarty Talent Agency. A few of Hayden's favorite things are good music, good wine, and long walks on the beach. He would like to thank his friends, parents, George W. Bush, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP for their continued support.
Single tickets range from $45 – $55, depending on seating.
Discounts are also available for groups of ten or more.
Subscribers always pay the lowest price.
Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC)’s mission is to engage and enrich community through brave contemporary theatre. Founded in 1970, SLAC is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 professional theatre dedicated to producing, commissioning, and developing new works and to supporting a community of professional artists. SLAC has been nationally recognized by the Shubert Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Edgerton Foundation, among others. SLAC operates under a STP Actors Equity Association contract and is a Constituent Member of Theatre Communications Group (a national organization for non-profit professional regional theatres), and the National New Play Network (a national alliance of non-profit professional theatres that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays).
On this very special episode of A Cup of Joe with O, Olivia talks to longtime subscriber Steve Allnatt about why it's fun to be a SLAC subscriber and fun stories about Voyeur's past.
Episode 2: SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2015, Olivia chats with veteran VOYEUR actress Jenessa Bowen.
SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2015 opens June 24th!! Get your tickets by calling our box office at 801-363-7522.
Did you miss out on marching with us this year for Gay Pride? Well, fear not! Here's a backstage look at the crazy day, including some sneak peek performance footage.
by Anna Harris
What a crazy gracious experience it has been thus far-- being welcomed into such a diverse, positive and silly group of people. The cast of Saturday's Voyeur this year is filled with passionate weirdos full
of creative juices ready to squirt goodness at their fun/drunk Voyeur audience. Being a "Voyeur Virgin", I didn't know what to expect. Not considering myself to be a very "funny" person, I was nervous even at the initial audition. Having to tell a joke in an audition is truly a scary thing for someone like me! But it turns out the pure hilariousness of Voyeur comes from a place of such truth. That makes it so much easier and exciting as an actor, and I love digging deeper and deeper into all of my characters, specifically Kate Kelly.
Oh ps. Hai. I'm Anna. I am originally from SLC, UT. I grew up as a Catholic in Salt Lake, so it was a very interesting upbringing. Sometimes I felt that I knew more about the LDS Religion than I did my own! Everyone I was surrounded by in school, dance, theatre etc. were all a part of the Mormon Religion. I remember getting into a prayer circle and saying an LDS prayer before every performance in my dance group... it was engrained in my brain. Being in Voyeur has continued to expand my knowledge on this "peculiar" group of individuals. We have spent countless hours discussing different aspects of the Religion, and how it effects all people. Voyeur is an artistic and educational experience- which I love. After high school I decided I could no longer "do" Utah. I moved to Seattle, Washington and attended a very liberal arts school called Cornish College of the Arts. At Cornish, everyone I encountered was diverse, positive and honestly... not very religious. It was such an opposite environment than I was used to and I enjoyed meeting so many unique individuals. I learned more about myself as an actor and learned a lot about my views on life in general.
Playing Kate Kelly is a challenge because she is a public figure... and a real person. Playing someone that is actually in this world today has been an interesting experience to say the least. I have a strange fear that she will come see the show, and be like "who is this bitch?!" It is still really exciting to have the opportunity to portray someone so impactful in today's society. In case you don't know, Kate Kelly is a Mormon feminist, human rights lawyer, and former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) known for starting the Ordain Women movement. Kelly was excommunicated from the church in June 2014 for protesting against the church and wanting women to hold the priesthood. Kate Kelly is a hardcore woman. She stands for what she believes, and doesn't ever back down. I am excited and passionate about playing such a strong woman. She's a straight up bad ass. I stand with John Dehlin in his Motto "Do what is right; let the consequence follow".
I mean... let's all stand for that shit. Why would we not?
Ps. I might look weird with Kate Kelly bangs. Don't judge me.
by Hayden Warzek
Okay... You got me. I am a republican working among a literal sea of blue in Salt Lake Acting Company. I might as well be a spy for Ted Cruz or the Bush's. Working among a very liberal group within SLAC isn't a challenge though. I have had some political discussions with coworkers and other actors, but the extent of my "republicanism" (is that even a word?) doesn't reach far beyond the writers asking me random facts about the anatomy of guns and rifles... So it's safe to say I haven't had too many run-ins with the donkeys. I, in fact enjoy working in such a diverse group.
As I remember coming into last year's Voyeur process (yes, I am a voyeur vet!) I was not at all expecting a political show, or even a show that bashes Mormons as this one does. I had never seen Voyeur or heard of what the show tries to poke fun at (yeah I kinda just wanted the paycheck, sue me) but as the show was rehearsed I realized I was in a VERY liberal show and had invited my VERY republican mother to fly out to see it once it opened. Thank god for the theatre allowing alcohol because my mother was absolutely plastered at table AA. But, overall I don't mind what the message is. Voyeur is supposed to be a good time. Light hearted fun for everyone to enjoy. There is no real reason to get butt hurt over petty political jokes like some people are when seeing this show. As the last year's finale stated... LET IT GO.
I have been asked if anything in Saturdays Voyeur offends me, and nothing really does. Having a good ol' chuckle at yourself sometimes doesn't harm a thing. Everything is in good fun and both political parties have their "oh shit are you fucking kidding me?" moments. Like, I'm not going to agree that we should all go buy timeshares while listening to Amy Grant just because Ronald Reagan said so. I would consider myself fiscally conservative but yet a social liberal, and yes I have had people say "well no you can't do that"... Well guess what, I fucking can and I did and my views are my views. I believe in humans rights, especially when we bust out the megaphones during the Pride Festival. I mean, have you seen those things? I'm a loud, Texan individual in general, give me a megaphone and I'm in heaven with the rest of my Catholic breed. Also, as time goes on in the rehearsal process, I'm not alienated by the cast at all. I love the people I work with and we have no issues. I have many types of friends and nobody seems to make fun of me, except that plain, nasty woman, Olivia. Other than that, nobody makes fun of me for being red, it a'int like I have a lisp or tiny boobs. Can you imagine?
PS -still not a fan of the Mormon Church though... like omg what?
PPS – Reagan Bush 84'
So, here we are. SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2015 rehearsals have begun. Over 13,000 people came to see VOYEUR last summer, and I feel like I always get asked a lot of the same questions by patrons after the show: "Is it so much fun to be in VOYEUR?" "How do you guys have so much energy?" "What are the rehearsals like?"
Allow me to give you the answers you crave, VOYEUR-goer.
"Is it so much fun to be in VOYEUR?" Even though I feel like this answer is obvious, I will confirm your suspicions with a resounding YES. We are stuck together as a cast from May 11th through the beginning of September. Do you realize that that is four whole months? We basically lose our minds together and get to know each other VERY well. With that comes a lot of fun. We take camping trips together, have porch beers on the SLAC patio after two-show days on Sundays, go to the movies together, and have mental breakdowns together.... You adopt a brand new family.
"How do you guys have so much energy?" That is a question I will never be able to answer. I'm not sure where it comes from. But one thing is for sure; we feed off of you, the audience. Hearing you hoot and holler when the lights go down gives us that extra adrenaline push we need. When you laugh outrageously at jokes and get involved with the characters on stage, it is what we actors live for. Being able to provide that joy for people is a big part of why we do what we do. We also drink a lot of coffee. Like, a lot. Like, gallons.
"What are rehearsals like?" While we have a LOT of fun during VOYEUR rehearsals, it is actually very hard work 95% of the time. You probably think that we just show up and "be funny", but we spend a lot of time in the beginning sitting down and reading the script really slowly.
We try to discover who our characters really are. Cynthia (the director) is very adamant that we don't treat this show like a Saturday Night Live skit; all of our characters are "real" people and have desires and goals. Ask any comedian and they will tell you, comedy is serious! You can't think you're hilarious on stage or no one else will.
Many of the cast members do not have a Mormon background so we always take a lot of time to explain the ins and outs of the LDS faith as well as its history. (I am still shocked by the things I discover due to the fact I knew NOTHING about Mormons before moving here.)
Then, we have all of the music to learn with the help of the incredible Kevin Mathie. And folks, it's a LOT of music. When we first get the songs, they are much longer than what you end up seeing in the show. We even cut a few whole songs along the way but still, many, many remain! We have to figure out whose voice sounds good on which part of the harmony, which key works best for everyone, where to make cuts...
Staging! This is the brunt of our work. We stage a scene, change it, re-stage it, change it again, run it a few times, bring in people to watch it, get feedback, change it again, re-stage it, cut some stuff, add some stuff, find the beats of the comedy, re-stage it, etc. This can be difficult for sure, but it's all in the best interest of the show; we want it to be the absolute best that it can be.
So, there you go! I hope that answers some of your questions. Below is a behind-the-scenes video I created to give you an even more personal look at a day in our lives. We sure do appreciate ya and can't wait to see you this summer!
PRESS CONTACT: CYNTHIA FLEMING | 801.363.7522 |
Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC), with renewed energy and excitement for the future, announces a new, community-centered mission statement as it launches its 44th season of brave, contemporary theatre.
SLAC's Executive Leadership and Board of Trustees recognized the need to revise and simplify the organization's mission to get right to the heart of why the Salt Lake Acting Company exists. Following invigorating and focused conversation at a retreat this past spring, SLAC's leaders have released the company's new mission statement: to engage and enrich community through brave, contemporary theatre.
This new, community-centered mission will be reflected in SLAC's 2014-2015 season, which in addition to the vibrant work onstage, will also cultivate more and deeper partnerships with area non-profits, schools, and community centers. Now more than ever, SLAC recognizes the rich and dynamic culture that exists here in Utah, and is proud to invest and play a role in its continued growth. It's an exciting time to be in Salt Lake City and an exciting time to be at SLAC.
The 2014-2015 season opens with I'LL EAT YOU LAST: A CHAT WITH SUE MENGERS by Tony Award-winning playwright John Logan. Hailed as the first female "super-agent," Sue Mengers was the talk of the entertainment industry, representing the likes of Barbra Streisand, Steve McQueen, and Cher. This one-woman show, starring Utah favorite Camille Van Wagoner and directed by Robin Wilks-Dunn will run September 17 – October 26, 2014. SLAC invites audiences into Sue's glamorous living room for an evening of dish and dirty secrets.
RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN by Obie Award-winning playwright Gina Gionfriddo and directed by Adrianne Moore, will run October 22 – November 16, 2014. After graduate school, Catherine and Gwen chose polar opposite paths. Catherine built a career as a rock star academic, while Gwen built a home with her husband and children. This sharp-witted comedy takes an unflinching look at gender politics and asks, 'Can any woman have it all?'
SLAC will work on behalf of its youngest audiences with its sixth annual professional children's production, A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD with book and lyrics by Willie Reale, music by Robert Reale, and based on the ever-popular books by Arnold Lobel. Two best friends celebrate and rejoice in their differences that make them unique and special. A story of a friendship that endures, weathering all seasons, A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD will be directed by Penny Caywood and will run December 5 – 27, 2014. Part vaudeville, part make-believe, all charm.
TWO STORIES by local playwright Elaine Jarvik was one of the 5 plays workshopped in SLAC's New Play Sounding Series (NPSS) during the 2013/14 Season. Jarvik said, "Nothing beats hearing your work read by good actors in front of a real, unbiased audience willing to stay afterwards to dissect what they've heard. By hearing the words out loud, by watching how the audience reacted, by listening to their questions and suggestions, I learned what worked and what didn't. This is how new plays get better." After its development last season in NPSS, SLAC has committed to ensuring the continued life of this play, presenting its World Premiere, directed by Keven Myhre, February 4 – March 1, 2015. Jodi is a struggling journalist eager to keep her job in a changing economy. When a Pakistani family moves in next door, Jodi gets more than just a great story. TWO STORIES is an exploration of diverse landscapes, including economic rise and fall, sensationalism and honesty, how we navigate the growing diversity and lingering stereotypes in our communities, and more intimately, how identity is bridged between generations.
SLAC's commitment to new plays continues as it celebrates spring with the World Premiere of a 'sort of' romantic comedy, MR. PERFECT by William Missouri Downs. SLAC is proud to welcome Downs back to Utah after previously working with him on last season's hit, THE EXIT INTERVIEW. Directed by John Caywood and running April 8 – May 5, 2015, MR. PERFECT tells the story of a quirky flight attendant and romance novel junkie who thinks she's met Mr. Perfect. When it doesn't work out, she sets out to connect the random events that make up life, hoping to find the meaning of it all.
And of course, no SLAC season would be complete without SATURDAY'S VOYEUR, created by Allen Nevins & Nancy Borgenicht, two of Salt Lake City's most celebrated playwrights, and directed and choreographed by Cynthia Fleming. SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2015 will shake up Salt Lake June 24 – August 30, 2015. This annual musical satire connects SLAC to the community like nothing else. SLAC is the only theatre company in the nation that presents a new play written for us, about us, each year.
With its renewed commitment to community, SLAC's 2014/15 Season will promote theatre and the arts in Utah through a variety of programs, several being the first of their kind in the region. SLAC strives to promote theatre, literature, and art to students from kindergarten to university. SLAC's arts education programs include:
SLAC believes in the power of the arts to enhance children's literacy, educational performance, and interest in learning. A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD will include eight free matinee performances for over 1,400 Title I schoolchildren. As school curriculums continue to narrow at the expense of the arts, SLAC's free performances provide a live theatrical experience to academically at-risk schoolchildren who often lack access to opportunities as basic as field trips and arts exposure. SLAC will also offer discounted performances for non-Title I schools; literary partnerships with the Salt Lake City Public Library and local bookstores; an online study guide available for schools and students as they prepare for their visits; and collaborations with local organizations and sponsors.
University Professional Theatre Program: For the past two years Salt Lake Acting Company's University Professional Theatre Program (UPTP) has provided the opportunity for over two dozen students from Utah universities to contribute to productions on a professional scale through both performing roles and technical theatre positions. UPTP was developed through the recognition that SLAC had the resources to offer more to students than ticket discounts and internships. Rather, a paid, working experience would allow for tangible exposure to their craft and the chance for students to build a professional resume before even graduating. SLAC has cultivated working relationships with theatre programs from the following schools: University of Utah, Weber State University, Utah Valley University, and Utah State University.
SLAC has always been dedicated to nurturing the work of local theatre artists and providing a home for both new and established playwrights. More recently, Salt Lake Acting Company has created a landscape for local audiences to access a more in-depth exploration of the work. SLAC's programs that continue to elevate the theatre experience for those on both sides of the curtain include:
Free and open to the public, the NPSS is an essential component of the SLAC season: four to five staged readings of new plays, each tied to the current production and/or playwright. Celebrating its 20th year, the NPSS gives playwrights an essential testing ground in which to see their work in progress, and involves SLAC's audience in the dynamic process of new play development. The NPSS has workshopped over 70 plays, with nearly 50 percent going on to main stage productions at SLAC and other regional and national theatre companies.
SLAC maintains an active gallery, showcasing and selling the work of local visual artists in rotating exhibitions inspired by and tied thematically to productions on stage Curated for each play, the Green Room Gallery is a space for local artists to exhibit their work and for SLAC's audiences to reinforce the themes they see onstage. The 2014-2015 season will include work from Terence K. Stephens, Tricia Forsey Terry (TSquared Art), and Stephanie Swift (Pretty Little Pixel).
Discount ticket programs: SLAC's Student and Under 30 ticket programs are designed to meet varying financial needs of these demographic groups, and are the foundation of the company's efforts to create deeper connections with young audiences, making live theatre more accessible. This program has helped SLAC reach a larger, more diverse audience by making theatre more affordable to a younger demographic. SLAC has seen an immense period of growth over the past few seasons and these young theatre-goers are an important part of SLAC's continued vision.
Free and open to the public, these Sunday post-matinee discussions engage our audience with the director, cast, artistic crew, and whenever possible, the playwright. They examine issues and themes particular to each production and help place the relevance and tone of each play. One of the longest-running programs for SLAC, these discussions encourage thoughtful conversation among the audience and SLAC staff and artists.
SLAC offers free panel discussions in conjunction with productions onstage, open to the public and featuring scholars and experts from the community whose work ties directly to themes raised in productions. Holding between 2-4 panel discussions each season, SLAC hosts experts and scholars to share their thoughts on the issues raised in each production. These discussions invite collaborative conversation with the audience as well. The Utah Humanities Council and KUER partner with SLAC during these discussions, which are well attended and create rich dialogue that connects themes from the stage to contemporary life.
Playwrights' Lab at SLAC is a new program dedicated solely to the development of new scripts. With David Kranes at the helm, and modeled after the Sundance Playwrights' Lab, which he founded, the Playwrights' Lab at SLAC will take a good play, and through exploring and opening the playwright's vision, help make it stronger, deeper, and more of the play it had hoped to be when first conceived.
The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists honors the memory of SLAC's dear friend and collaborator, David Fetzer. SLAC is proud to partner with the Foundation to offer a grant that will provide a playwright 35 years of age or younger with a week-long opportunity to develop their script with professional actors and a director, culminating in a reading on SLAC's stage August 31, 2015.
Tanner Humanities Center presents their 2015 Artist in Residence, celebrated playwright Tony Kushner, for a 3-day residency and public lecture at Kingsbury Hall on February 5, 2015. To celebrate Mr. Kushner's residency, SLAC will present a reading of his 5 short plays, Tiny Kushner on February 2, 2015 at 7pm.
This is a rich and exciting time to reaffirm support in SLAC's mission and to continue to be inspired by what is possible in the arts. For some, it is the perfect time to visit SLAC's historical space in the Marmalade Neighborhood for the first time... it is more alive than ever.
Salt Lake Acting Company deeply thanks their many season subscribers, without whom this theatre's work would not be possible.
Season tickets are available. For tickets call 801-363-7522, visit www.saltlakeactingcompany.org, or come to the box office at 168 West 500 North, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103.
SLAC is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 professional theatre founded in 1970 and is dedicated to producing, commissioning and developing new works and to supporting a community of professional artists. SLAC has been nationally recognized by the Shubert Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Edgerton Foundation, among others. SLAC operates under a STP Actors Equity Association contract. SLAC is a Constituent Member of Theatre Communications Group, a national organization for non-profit professional regional theatres, and the National New Play Network.