The 2016-17 Play-By-Play Reading Series by Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City will feature Requiem for August Moon by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, i by Jeff Talbott and The Ice Front by Utah playwright Eric Samuelsen. The fourth season of public readings, with playwrights in residence for a 29-hour rehearsal process toward a three-performance reading run with Equity actors, will offer plays in November 2016, January 2017 and April 2017.
Play-By-Play was launched by PTC artistic director Karen Azenberg in 2014. Alabama Story, one of the plays read in the inaugural 2014 season, has gone on to Equity productions in Florida, Wisconsin and Massachusetts since its mainstage world premiere at PTC in 2015.
Azenberg said in a statement, “Play-By-Play has always had two goals: to help new plays on their way to full productions and an ongoing life in the American theatre, and to develop a taste in our audience for the excitement of seeing new work in an intimate, low-risk and very affordable environment. I’m delighted that in only four years we have achieved both objectives, and I’m very excited about all three plays. The playwrights whose plays we’re reading come from all over the map — one’s from New York, one’s from Tennessee and one’s from right here in Utah — and their plays are likewise all over the artistic map in terms of their subject matter and themes.”
The three plays in the 2016-17 Play-By-Play Reading Series are:
A Requiem for August Moon by Elyzabeth Wilder (Nov. 11-12, 2016) in which “a Ph.D. candidate is attempting to create a mathematical algorithm that can predict hit songs, raising fascinating questions about the intersection between art and science.”
i by Jeff Talbott (Jan. 27-28, 2017), billed as “a mysterious love story in which a young woman is tentatively opening herself to the possibility of romance, set a couple of days after tomorrow.”
The Ice Front by Eric Samuelsen (April 14-15, 2017), which is “set during the German occupation of Norway at the height of World War II, in which the actors of the Norwegian National Theatre find themselves confronted by a moral dilemma during the rehearsals for a new play.”
Directors and performers will be announced at a later date. Readings will be held at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) in the Dumke Auditorium on the University of Utah campus.
Current PTC season ticket holders may purchase tickets to the readings for $5 per ticket. Non-season ticket holders may purchase tickets to individual readings for $10 or may purchase a pass for all three readings in advance at the same time for $25. All tickets are general admission. For tickets, call (801) 581-6961 or visit the Pioneer website.
Sponsors of Play-By-Play include the Bireley Endowment, Lee and Audrey Hollaar and Dr. Linda Leckman.
Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s plays include Gee’s Bend, Fresh Kills, Provenance, The Flagmaker of Market Street, The Furniture of Home, White Lightning and Everything That’s Beautiful. Her plays have been produced at the Royal Court (London), Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center, Cleveland Play House, KC Rep, Northlight, the Arden, B Street Theatre, and Hartford Stage, among others. She was the recipient of the Osborn Award given by the American Theatre Critics Association. She recently completed a short play commission from Baltimore Center Stage as part of their acclaimed “My America, Too” project. Her play Everything That’s Beautiful will premiere at the New Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco in the spring of 2017. She is a proud alumnus of Youngblood at the Ensemble Studio Theatre and a graduate of New York University. Most recently Elyzabeth was the Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence at Sewanee: The University of the South.
Jeff Talbott is thrilled to be back at Pioneer, where his play A Public Education was part of the Play-By-Play Festival in 2014. His play The Submission was the inaugural recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Award in 2011 and was produced Off-Broadway by MCC Theater; it went on to receive the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for New American Play in 2012. It was also a semi-finalist for the 2010 O’Neill Playwrights Conference. His play The Gravedigger’s Lullaby will receive a world-premiere production in March 2017 Off-Broadway by TACT at Theatre Row in NYC. Three Rules for the Dragon was a finalist for the 2016 O’Neill Conference and received a workshop in June 2016 at Premiere Stages at Kean University in New Jersey. Other plays include: A Public Education (finalist for the 2015 O’Neill Playwrights Conference; workshops at Pioneer Theatre Company and TACT), How to Build a City (workshops at TACT and Route 66), Elliot (readings – Crowded Outlet, MCC Theater), and All the Stars in the Midnight Sky (workshops/readings – MCC, TACT). He writes musicals with composer Will Van Dyke. Their musical Imagine Harry was presented in the 2015 NAMT Festival of New Musicals, and was a semi-finalist for the 2015 O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference as well as a finalist for the 2014 Rheinbeck Writers Retreat. They released an EP of their work in September of 2015 called “A View of the River” (available on iTunes or wherever digital music is sold). They recently were part of the Goodspeed’s 2016 Jonny Mercer Writers Colony finishing a draft of their latest musical, Wintersong. Jeff graduated with honors from the Yale School of Drama, and as an actor has been seen in theatres all over the country (including Doubt, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and The Odd Couple at PTC) and in film and television. Visit www.jefftalbott.com.
Eric Samuelsen is a playwright, director, critic and blogger. He is a former college professor, now free-lancing. He has had 31 plays professionally produced, most of them in Utah, but with productions in New York, Louisiana, Idaho and California. Seven plays were produced by Plan B Theatre Company, in Salt Lake City, including their 2013-14 season wholly dedicated to his work. He is a three-time recipient of the Association for Mormon Letters award for best play, and won the Smith-Petit award for lifetime achievement as a Mormon artist. He is also an Ibsen translator, with productions of his Ibsen translations in Utah, California and elsewhere. Also a critic and stage director, Samuelsen blogs at Mormoniconoclast.com.
Pioneer Theatre Company’s managing director is Chris Lino.