Originally from Hau‘ula, Hawai‘i, Melissa Leilani Larson is a writer presently based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her work has been seen on four continents. Mel’s latest production will be the world premiere of Sweetheart Come at PYGmalion Theatre Company in May 2019. At present she is completing a stage adaptation of Kelly Barnhill's Newbery medal-winning The Girl Who Drank the Moon (commissioned by Utah Valley University, where it will premiere in fall 2019). Mountain Law received a Script-in-Hand reading at Plan-B Theatre in March 2018. Produced plays include: The Edible Complex (Plan-B Theatre commission), Pilot Program, Pride and Prejudice (Brigham Young University commission), Little Happy Secrets, Persuasion, Martyrs’ Crossing, A Flickering, Lady in Waiting, and The Weaver of Raveloe. Films include Jane and Emma (currently playing in select cinemas across the U.S. and Canada) and Freetown (winner of the Ghana Movie Award for Best Screenplay and the Utah Film Award for Best Picture).
Mel was selected to receive the 2018 Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters. She is the only woman to receive more than one Association for Mormon Letters Drama award and is the youngest person to win three (the only other playwrights to win three or more are Eric Samuelsen and Tim Slover). Mel’s other honors include: the IRAM Best New Play award; a Salt Lake City Weekly Arty Award; the Mayhew Playwriting Award; winning the Lewis National Playwriting Contest for Women; placing as a Trustus Playwrights Festival top five finalist; and being named an O’Neill National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist.
Mel is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild, serving as the Utah Ambassador and Interim Rep. She is also a member of The Lab, Plan-B Theatre’s incubator for new plays, and a 2018 Art Access Mentor. She holds a BA in English from BYU and an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop. Mel enjoys melty cheese, hedgehogs, puzzles, nice paper, and nicer pens.
Download a PDF of Mel's résumé.
Check out Mel’s profile on the New Play Exchange.
Visit Mel on IMDB.