Wasatch Theatre Company Brings Original Plays to the Utah Stage
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH –Wasatch Theatre Company is excited to present their Page-to-Stage Festival, featuring the 14th annual Short-Shorts program. The festival offers local playwrights a chance to see their works featured on stage and allows local actors to try on several different roles as they play multiple characters throughout the festival.
After winnowing down dozens of submissions, six were selected that offered fresh, comedic, and even absurd looks at the ways people behave in relationships. Melissa Rasmussen’s Fast Food finds two women commiserating about their respective relationships – only to find their connection with each other is stronger than they think. E-Jipped, by Sherry Allred, takes us on a journey of love, loss, theft, and maybe even involvement from the beyond – all from the site of an archeological dig.
Is it reality? Is it something else? What can I do to find out? These are all questions encountered by the characters in Ryan Noufer’s This Play is Sponsored by E-Harmony. Other questions are asked – but maybe not clearly answered – in Gene Washington’s Exestential Vertigo. John Franceschini’s Hooking Up follows a woman as she goes on a blind date in the place of coworker, who suddenly had to cancel. Rounding out the Shorts program is The Jam by Hayley Simpson, which explores how a real life relationship may be the key to undoing one of the character’s writer’s block.
Elise Hansen directs three of the shorts, and Daniel Torrence directs the other three, along with assistant director Julie Misner. The ensemble for the Shorts production includes Amanda Caraway, Josh Clendenin, Alice Gonzalez, Eric Leckman, Ana Lemke, Hannah Lobell, Andrew Maizner, and Jeremy Pitts.
The Page-to-Stage Festival is condensed into one exciting weekend this year. The festival opens on Thursday, January 23rd with an 8:00 p.m. production of Shorts. Evening performances of Shorts continue through Saturday, January 25th. There is also a 2:00 p.m. matinee on the 25th. Special components of the festival include a reception following the Shorts performance on Friday, January 24th and a staged reading of Personal Content Only, by Wendy Wilde, at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 25th. Tickets for Shorts are $15.00 and can be purchased at www.arttix.org or by calling 801-355-ARTS (2787). Admission to the staged reading is free.
Meet the Playwrights:
Melissa Rasmussen is an experienced actor, artist and writer. This production of Fast Food marks the first time a play she penned has made it to stage. She studied drama and professional singing at BYU Idaho and USU. In 1994 she moved to Salt Lake City to work as an actor. Since then she has also worked behind the scenes in the box offices & marketing departments of (as well as volunteered for) various arts organizations in the Salt Lake community. She has had short stories, poems, and non-fiction pieces published in several local papers and publications, and is currently a mediator of a writing group through the SLCC CWC.
John Franceschini turned to playwriting following a career as a pharmacist. His plays have been produced in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and at various theatres in California. John’s play, It’s Only A Minute A Guy was published in Applause Theatrebooks’ Best American Short Plays 2010-2011. John is a member of Dramatists Guild of America, Orange County Playwrights Alliance and New Voices Playwrights Theatre.
Gene Washington: Short bio: professor emeritus, linguistics and English, Utah State University. Ph.D, U of Missouri; post doc Cambridge U, UK. Plays performed, e.g., at Utah State U, Logan Utah (Lyric Theatre); NYC (Love Creek Productions; Turnip Theatre), SLC (Wasatch Theatre Co); Brisbane Australia (Springboard Acting) LA (FirstStage), UK (Lazy Bee).
Hayley Simpson, a comedian/writer/actor/fashion icon originating from Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Ranging from stand-up comedy to Military marching snare drum performance, she’ll do anything do get a laugh…except mime. That’s no laughing matter.
In 2009, Hayley was accepted into Humber College: School of Performance Arts. Then majored in ‘Comedy: Writing and Performance’. A Semi-Finalist in Yobi TV's international 2011 "YobiLaugh" Contest with her song parody "I'm Alone," Hayley beat out millions of entries. After 26 weeks of voting she was voted #36 on the list. Pretty good, right? In the summer of 2012, Hayley independently ventured out of Toronto and onto her first United States tour. Performing from East coast to West coast. T.O.U.R (Totally Out-there Unreal Realness) stopped at over 40 venues in New York City, Louisville, and Salt Lake City. Performing stand-up, music, and spoken word poetry.
Ryan Noufer grew up on the island of Maui in Hawaii, and from a very young age, was taken over by the addiction of performance. Throughout high school he was an avid performer in theatre, but in sophomore year, he started focussing more on his love for film. Ryan, now 18, is a student at University of Utah, majoring in film, and currently focusing on writing as much as he can whether it be slam poetry, screenplays, or stand-up comedy.
Sherry Allred was born and raised in Utah and attended the University of Utah and John Casablanca Modeling and Career Center. She is an author, playwright, composer, screenwriter, director, actress, singer, storyteller, SEO writer, and, most of all, a mother. In 2011, she wrote, composed, produced, and directed her first musical, Nephi and the Sword of Laban, which was performed at Peery's Egyptian Theatre in Ogden. Also in 2011, she authored her first novel, Corvette: The Courage of a Cowboy. In 2013, she completed the novels Andragathia and Clarence Moon, both of which she published on kindle. She has written and produced many mini productions which have been performed mostly at rest homes, to bring the residents cheer. She is married to Keith Allred and is the mother of 6 children and 2 son-in-laws. Sherry plans on continuing to write several more musicals and plays, at least 25 more novels (all of which have titles), and several screenplays.