Recent Happenings

Utah Valley University has commissioned Mel to write a new Theatre for Young Audiences play for their 2018-19 season.

Mel is one of 12 Utah-based playwrights whose short plays comprise the evening (In)divisible, premiering June 8-18 at Plan-B Theatre. Tickets are free; don't miss it. 

Mel scripted a commercial for a new campaign aimed at helping people better understand the Better Business Bureau and its mission. The final product looks pretty great:

Little Happy Secrets and Pilot Program will be published together as Third Wheel: Peculiar Stories of Mormon Women in Love. The book is due out in ebook and paperback from BCC Press in July 2017, and will feature a foreword by Eric Samuelsen.

Mel was invited to be the featured writer for the 2017 spring quarter at the LDS women’s journal Segullah. Read her interview, and check out excerpts from Little Happy Secrets , Pilot Program, and Sweetheart Come.


2016

The Edible Complex was commissioned as the latest installment in Plan-B Theatre Company’s Free Elementary School Tour program. In November 2016, the show, directed by Cheryl Cluff and designed by Aaron Swenson and performed by Anne Louise Brings and Dee-Dee Darby Duffin, toured 42 schools across 7 Utah counties, where it was seen by roughly 15,000 children.

In February 2016, Mel was privileged to visit the students and faculty at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, to attend their staging of her adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Mel was able to visit with the cast and crew, attend 2 performances, participate in a Q & A with dramaturgy students, and visit several classes to discuss her work.

At a ceremony in March, Pilot Program won the 2015 Association for Mormon Letters Drama Award (Mel’s third in six years). Mel is the only woman to receive more than one Association for Mormon Letters Drama award, and the youngest person to win three altogether (the only other two playwrights to win three are Eric Samuelsen and Tim Slover).

Sweetheart Come was selected as a semi-finalist for the 2016 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.


2015

Mel, director Jerry Rapier, and cast members April Fossen, Mark Fossen, and Susanna Florence Risser met with Doug Fabrizio on KUER’s RadioWest to discuss Pilot Program.

Mel was the featured guest in Episode 170 of the podcast The Cultural Hall. 

Mel was interviewed by LDS.net about her play Pilot Program

Mel’s first fully professional/AEA production, Pilot Program, was produced at Plan-B Theatre Company April 9 -19, 2015. Broadway World announced Plan-B’s 2014/15 season here, and the Utah Cultural Alliance announced it here. There were also great preview articles in The Salt Lake Tribune and The Utah Review.

The Utah Review previews Plan-B Theatre Company’s production of Pilot Program. 

Mel’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice won the 2014 Association for Mormon Letters drama award; all of the winners were listed in The Deseret News

Freetown is an official selection of the 2015 Pan African Film Festival and will screen at their LA festival February 5 – 16.

Photos from the Ghana shoot of Freetown, as well as the teaser poster, are featured on the African film website Cinetion.

Mel gets a great shoutout in a recent interview Freetown director Garrett Batty did for the Flix Junkies podcast: “Melissa Leilani Larson who is just a phenomenal writer, we met early on in this process and I showed her some of my notes and the stories that I had found, and she put together a script that is just phenomenal. We’re very excited to have her be a part of this.” Thanks, Garrett!

Together with director Garrett Batty, Mel recently did an interview discussing Freetown with BYU’s newspaper, The Universe. 


2014

BYU’s premiere production of Pride and Prejudice is included as one of the best new plays in Utah in 2014, receiving a mention in the Utah Theatre Bloggers Assocation’s Excellence in 2014 blog post.

Pilot Program got a shout-out in the December 2014 issue of American Theatre Magazine, where Plan-B Theatre Company is featured in an article: “14 Theatrical Plans to Change the World.” Get your Pilot Program tickets here.

Mel was the guest on the inaugural episode of the Mormon Artist podcast. She and host Katherine Morris discussed Freetown and Pilot Program.

The Utah Review has posted a new article highlighting the family values expressed in Plan-B Theatre Company’s current season (including the world premiere of Pilot Program).

Mel has a post on the Plan-B Theatre Company’s blog discussing Pilot Program

Pride and Prejudice won a 2014 City Weekly Arty award, a staff pick for “Best Modern Jane”. Woohoo!

Pilot Program got a great shoutout on the Feminist Mormon Housewives blog in early September.

Mel was interviewed about her work and current projects this weekend for the Rational Faiths podcast. You can hear the interview here.

Pilot Program, along with the rest of Plan-B Theatre Company’s season of new work, gets a shout out in City Weeklyoutlining Salt Lake’s upcoming theatre season.

Mel has written the screenplay for Freetown, a new film which recently completed production on location in Ghana. The film is directed by Garrett Batty, the award-winning writer/director of The Saratov Approach, and produced by Adam Abel (Saints & Soldiers), and is expected to be in theaters in April 2015. Check out the film’s IMDB page here.

Mel is included in an Utah Theatre Bloggers article about Plan-B Theatre Company’s Playwrights Lab.

Mel directed Into the Woods at the Echo Theatre in Provo July 18-August 23, 2014. A dress rehearsal was the subject of a photo essay in the Daily Herald; Mel was also interviewed about the show by the Herald hereInto the Woods enjoyed a successful run, attracting several sold-out houses and a lot of laughs.

Mel collaborated with award-winning composer/lyricist Erica Glenn on the book for a new musical, The Weaver of Raveloeinspired by George Eliot’s Silas Marner. Weaver premiered at the American Repertory Theatre’s second stage OBERON May 29-30, 2014. You can hear sample songs and find out more about The Weaver of Raveloe here, make a donation supporting the performance here, and read the Broadway World press release here. The cast album is available on iTunes.

Mel appeared on a panel alongside Eric Samuelsen and Wendy Gourley discussing playwriting. The panel was at the Orem Library Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

Pride and Prejudice is the Daily Herald’s “Perfect Date”.

Persuasion was produced at The College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University April 3-5, 6, 10-12, 2014, directed by Adam Houghton. The scene shop posted this great video showing part of the set being painted. Tickets are available here.

Mel was a guest on BYU Radio’s Morning Show March 26th to chat for a few minutes about Pride and Prejudice. Listen to the episode here; starts at around 39:00 minutes in. UPDATE: Mel’s segment on the Morning Show was featured as “the Best of the Week” on the following Saturday.

Martyrs’ Crossing was staged at Hillcrest High School in Midvale, Utah, March 27-29, 2014.

Mel’s first commissioned work, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, was staged in BYU’s Pardoe Theatre, directed by Barta Lee Heiner, March 21-April 4, 2014. Here is the press release for more information. The run pretty much sold out, which is pretty exciting.

For the first time ever, this week Mel will have two shows open simultaneously (Pride and Prejudice and Martyrs’ Crossing), as well as two in rehearsal (Persuasionand The Weaver of Raveloe).

Marvin Payne, playing the role of Mr Bennet in BYU’s production of Pride and Prejudice has written two charming anecdotes about a recent rehearsal, and then another.

The newest member of Plan-B Theatre’s Playwrights Lab, Mel is drafting a new original drama entitled Pilot Program. 

The SUU News ran an article following the Innovative Theatre Company’s production of Little Happy Secrets February 20-23, 2014.

Mel was recently interviewed by BYU dramaturg Anne Flinders for the Theatre & Media Arts department’s dramaturgy blog “4th Wall” regarding the adaptation process for Pride and Prejudice.