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! This is what I’m up to at the moment (as of 09/16/2019):
IN REHEARSAL: THE GIRL THAT DRANK THE MOON opens November 8! Tickets
IN THE PRESS: Mel now has a Wikipedia page!
ONLINE: JANE AND EMMA is presently streaming on Amazon Prime
MEL IS WATCHING: Mindhunter; The Great British Baking Show; Fleabag
MEL IS READING: A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray
In the spring of 2017, Utah Valley University commissioned Mel to adapt Kelly Barnhill’s Newbery winning THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON for the stage. Now the play is in rehearsal, with production dates set for November 8-16. This is an exclusive one-off opportunity; you won’t be able to see this play anywhere else. Get your tickets now!
Thanks to several generous donors, the ticket sales for THE POST OFFICE were matched and the show ultimately made more than $30,000 for the Adopt-a-Future education program at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
Mel’s award-winning drama PILOT PROGRAM was recently revived for a limited run September 26-29. This special, site-specific production, presented by Sunstone and Sackerson, staged the ultimate LDS living room drama in an actual Park City living room.
Acting as Interim Regional Rep for the Dramatists Guild, Mel wrote a report on new play development and production in Utah. Her report appears the summer issue of The Guild’s bimonthly magazine, “The Dramatist”.
Mel was commissioned by Creekside Theatre Fest to create a new play for their recent summer season. The resulting one-act, BITTER LEMON, ran alongside Creekside’s productions of MACBETH and PETER AND THE STARCATCHER. The concept for BITTER LEMON was that it be performed, cold, by different actors every night. 14 different actors discovered the story and their characters along with the audience.
“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
“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
“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
At the end of March, Mel attended the annual Association for Mormon Letters Conference 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 buy it on iTunes or Google Play. Check out the trailer: