Three New Plays Will Be Featured in Pioneer's 2014 "Play-by-Play" Series

By Michael Gioia
October 15, 2013

Three new works will receive 2014 readings in Salt Lake City, UT, as part of Pioneer Theatre Company's new "Play-by-Play" reading series, which provides developmental rehearsal periods and allows each playwright to work alongside a professional director and cast for a week-long residency.



PTC artistic director Karen Azenberg and managing director Chris Lino announced the new series, which will culminate in public readings of plays by Kenneth Jones, Jeff Talbott and Jessica Provenz; each play will be performed without a set or costumes, allowing audiences a "first look" at new works in progress.

"Nothing is more important to the long-term vitality of American theatre as an art form than the nurturing of new voices and new work," said PTC artistic director Azenberg in a statement. "In each case, we will fly the playwright to Salt Lake City to work with a director of his/her choice and a cast of actors drawing from our resident pool of talent and beyond. The week-long residency will allow the playwrights to experience their plays in rehearsal, to refine and improve their writing in the room, and to hear an audience's response - prompting the writers to further assess the intentions and impact of their work. I think it's also vitally important to experience these plays in an intimate setting - rather than on our expansive mainstage - where the actors and audience are very close to each other, allowing a focus on, as Hamlet said, the 'words, words, words.'"

True Art by Provenz (A Wake on Chappaquiddick, developed at Cape Cod Theatre Project, Irish Rep and New Georges; Truth or Consequences workshopped at the DR2) will have public readings Feb. 28 at 8 PM and March 1 at 2 PM and 8 PM in the Babcock Theatre in the lower level of Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre.

Here's how the new work is billed: "An awestruck art history graduate lands a dream job at a world-class museum. But when she questions the authenticity of a newly discovered masterpiece, she finds herself swimming with sharks in the form of art curators, trustees, and art dealers. This chance of a lifetime quickly turns into a fight for her ideals, her reputation, and her very future."

Talbott's (Off-Broadway's The Submission) A Public Education will have public readings March 14 at 8 PM and March 15 at 2 PM and 8 PM in the Babcock Theatre.

In A Public Education, according to PTC, "Luke Paxton is a high-school math teacher and the new guy in the faculty room. He's ready to teach, but completely unprepared for the other teachers, not to mention the nasty things somebody's been posting on the web. Welcome to high school, where an education comes in ways you can never see coming."

Alabama Story by Jones (former managing editor of Playbill.com; Voice of the City, with music by Elaine Chelton; Naughty/Nice, with music by Gerald Stockstill) will have its public readings April 4 at 8 PM and April 5 at 2 PM and 8 PM in the Dumke Auditorium of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

In 1959 Alabama, according to PTC, "a segregationist state senator wants a controversial children's book purged from the state library, but a fearless librarian refuses, putting both of their worlds at risk in a time of extraordinary social change. Inspired by real events, Alabama Story is a highly theatrical new play about tests of character in the Deep South of the Imagination."

True Art and A Public Education will be held in the Babcock Theatre, located in the lower level of Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, at 300 South 1400 East in Salt Lake City. Alabama Story will be held in the Dumke Auditorium of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at 410 Campus Center Drive in Salt Lake City.

For more information and tickets, call (801) 581-6961 or visit PioneerTheatre.org/Play-Play.