Pioneer Theatre Company artistic director Karen Azenberg will collaborate with playwright Kenneth Jones on an original holiday musical called It Happened One Christmas, to premiere in December 2015 at the Salt Lake City resident theatre. Under Azenberg’s direction, the world premiere of Jones’ play Alabama Story became the highest-grossing new play in Pioneer’s 50-year history.
The 2015-16 PTC season was announced on April 15. It will also include the world premiere of T.J. Brady’s play Two Dollar Bill, set in the academic world; the professional U.S. premiere of Frank Wildhorn’s musical The Count of Monte Cristo; a return of a concert version of The Rocky Horror Show; the classic musical Fiddler on the Roof; the twangy country-flavored musical Cowgirls; J.B. Priestley’s mystery thriller An Inspector Calls; and John Patrick Shanley’s whimsical Irish-kissed fable Outside Mullingar.
Of the new holiday musical, to run Dec. 4-19, 2015, Azenberg said, “We want to give our audiences the kind of family friendly, razzle-dazzle entertainment, complete with some of our favorite holidays songs and some good old fashioned singing and dancing, that’s perfect for the season and will warm the heart of even the scroogiest Scrooge.”
The coming season will also see the return of the third annual Play-By-Play New Play Reading Series, which previously nurtured Alabama Story, leading to its January 2015 world premiere. (The play was also a 2014 finalist in the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Festival’s National Playwrights Conference. Jones’ new play, Two Henrys, was a semi-finalist in the NPC in spring 2015.) Dates and titles are still to be determined, but the theatre will present readings of three new plays, with the playwright and a director in residence for a week working with a cast of mostly local actors. Expect it in spring 2016.
“Offering our audiences a chance to see new work in a developmental stage was one of my artistic priorities when I came here three years ago,” said Azenberg. “I’m delighted at the way audiences have responded. Attendance increased by over 25 percent from the first year to the second, to almost 90 percent of capacity; and, of course, we discovered Alabama Story in the program’s first year, and that play went on to be one of the most popular new plays we’ve ever produced. My dream is to have waiting lists of people hoping to get a ticket to Play-By-Play readings, and to continue to find wonderful new plays that we may be able to produce on our mainstage in a subsequent season.”
For season tickets contact Pioneer Theatre Company’s Box Office at (801) 581-6961 or visit online at www.pioneertheatre.org.