The Yellow Leaf, New Play About Byron and the Shelleys, to Bow in Salt Lake City

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23 Dec 2008

Complete details have been announced for Pioneer Theatre Company's world premiere of Charles Morey's The Yellow Leaf, a tale of literary giants and the making of "Frankenstein," to run Jan. 9-24, 2009, under the direction of Geoffrey Sherman.



According to PTC in Salt Lake City, "Hopelessly entangled love affairs, savage wit and jousting egos combine to create a fascinating, funny, and haunting evening of theatre in this world premiere that is based upon historical fact. In the fateful summer of 1816, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley and their companions flee England escaping scandal. Shuttered in Byron's villa on the shores of Lake Geneva, they turn to the supernatural as Byron challenges them to each write a ghost story — a competition that will not only spawn Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein,' but that also shapes the destinies of these extraordinary individuals whose lives defined an age."

The creative team includes choreographer Jayne Luke, scenic designer James Wolk, costume designer Pamela Scofield, lighting designer Thomas J. Munn, sound designer Joe Payne, and hair and make-up designer Amanda French.

The previously announced all-Equity cast includes Bjorn Thorstad in the role of George Gordon, Lord Byron; Christopher Kelly as Percy Bysshe Shelley; Ellen Adair as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later Shelley); Lena Hurt as Mary Godwin's half-sister Claire Clairmont; and Giorgio Litt as John William Polidori, the aspiring writer and friend of Lord Byron.

Guest director Geoffrey Sherman returns to PTC to direct the piece. Currently the producing artistic director for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Sherman has been responsible for the world and national premieres of scores of plays, from David Hare's Knuckle to Alice Childress' Moms. He has been artistic director of Off-Broadway's Hudson Guild Theatre, Oregon's Portland Repertory Theatre and Michigan's Meadow Brook and BoarsHead theatres.

Playwright Morey has been the artistic director of the Pioneer Theatre Company since 1984, during which time he has directed over 70 productions for PTC, including The Producers, The Vertical Hour and Les Misérables. He is the author of nine plays, including stage adaptations of The Count of Monte Cristo, A Tale of Two Cities, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dracula and The Three Musketeers, a translation/adaptation from Feydeau entitled The Ladies Man, and the original plays Laughing Stock and Dumas' Camille.

The Yellow Leaf was written during a MacDowell Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony.

PTC productions are in Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT. For more information, call (801) 581-6961 or visit www.pioneertheatre.org.