Melissa Leilani Larson
Hi, my name is Mel and I'm a writer. Feel free to browse the site to learn more about me and my work. Thanks for stopping by!
Acting as Interim Regional Rep, Mel wrote a report on new play development and production in Utah for the Dramatists Guild. Her report appears the summer issue of The DG’s magazine, The Dramatist.
Mel was commissioned by Creekside Theatre Fest to create a new play for their current summer season. The resulting one act, “Bitter Lemon”, is now running along side Creekside’s productions of “Macbeth” and “Peter and the Starcatcher”. The concept for “Bitter Lemon” is that it be performed, cold, by different actors every night. The actors discover the story and their characters along with the audience. It’s definitely been a challenge, but hopefully audiences will enjoy it. Performances are June 17, 21, 22, and 24 at 6 p.m., with two performances on June 29 at 7 and again at 9 p.m. Get your tickets to Creekside here.
Mel’s 10-minute play “Cherry Pie,” is part of Wasatch Theatre Company’s annual Page to Stage and is presented along with shorts from Matthew Ivan Bennett, Rachel Bublitz, Nicholas Dunn, and Jennifer Kokai, all directed by Elizabeth Golden. Performances are June 21-22 and 28-29 at 8 p.m., with a matinee June 23 at 2 p.m. Get your tickets here.
“Sweetheart Come” received several glowing reviews!
“Larson, an award-winning Utah playwright, has produced a fascinating, cogent interpretation of Emma Hauck’s story…. [She] has carved out beautifully an interstitial space between abstract symbolism and literal manifestation.” — The Utah Review
“ ‘Sweetheart Come’ …is one of the most fascinating pieces of small-scale physical stagecraft on a local stage in recent years.” — Salt Lake City Weekly
“Melissa Leilani Larson deftly manages to immerse the audience in a world of longing, beauty, passion, and horror.” — Utah Theatre Bloggers
“ ‘Sweetheart Come’ is worth your time. It is a lovely piece, both terrifying and tender.” — Front Row Reviewers
Also, together with director Mark Fossen and actors Christy Summerhays and Roger Dunbar, Mel was a guest on KUER’s RadioWest in May, talking about “Sweetheart Come”.
Shortly after the LDS Film Festival earlier this year, Mel did an interview with Jonathan Decker of the LDS news and culture website Third Hour about her work on “Jane and Emma”. That interview is now live; check it out!
Mel has adapted Rabindranath Tagore’s classic play “The Post Office” as part of a UN conference coming to Salt Lake City in August 2019. The play will feature a cast of high school students from Granite School District.
Mel attended the annual Association for Mormon Letters Conference March 29-30 in Berkeley, CA, where she was honored wit the 2018 Smith-Pettit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters. Mattathias Westwood chaired a panel discussing Mel’s work. Director Chantelle Squires and dramaturgs Shelley T. Graham and Janine Sobeck Knighton presented on the panel. Mel was thrilled to attend, where she had the great opportunity to meet Carol Lynn Pearson, recipient of this year’s AML Lifetime Achievement Award. You can read Mel’s full award citation, but here is one particularly moving excerpt: “the true measure of Melissa Leilani Larson’s outstanding contributions to Mormon Letters are the ways in which her writing has given us the ability to better see and love each other, and in loving each other, perhaps to recognize the face of God.”
“Jane and Emma” is now available to own! If you live near a Deseret Book, you can pick up your copy of Jane and Emma in person. You can also order the Blu-ray or DVD from either DeseretBook.com or on Amazon. If you’re like me and like your movies in the cloud, you can rent or buy it on iTunes or Google Play. Check out the trailer: