Melissa Leilani Larson

Melissa Leilani Larson

Originally from Hau'ula, HI, Melissa Leilani Larson is a writer presently based in Salt Lake City, UT. Her plays include THE EDIBLE COMPLEX (seen by 8,000 children in 40+ Utah schools and commissioned by Plan-B Theatre), PILOT PROGRAM (Plan-B Theatre), MARTYRS’ CROSSING (Edinburgh Fringe), LITTLE HAPPY SECRETS (Salt Lake Acting Company Fearless Fringe), PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (commissioned by Brigham Young...
Originally from Hau'ula, HI, Melissa Leilani Larson is a writer presently based in Salt Lake City, UT. Her plays include THE EDIBLE COMPLEX (seen by 8,000 children in 40+ Utah schools and commissioned by Plan-B Theatre), PILOT PROGRAM (Plan-B Theatre), MARTYRS’ CROSSING (Edinburgh Fringe), LITTLE HAPPY SECRETS (Salt Lake Acting Company Fearless Fringe), PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (commissioned by Brigham Young University), and the book for composer Erica Glenn's musical THE WEAVER OF RAVELOE (ART Oberon) among others. FREETOWN won the 2015 Ghana Movie Award for Best Screenplay. In July 2017, Mel published her first book of plays, THIRD WHEEL. Current projects include a commission from Utah Valley University to adapt Kelly Barnhill’s Newbery award-winning THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON for their 2019 season; SWEETHEART COME (2016 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist) at Pygmalion Theatre in Spring 2019; and the feature film JANE AND EMMA (summer 2018). Her latest work-in-progress, MOUNTAIN LAW, had a staged reading at Plan-B Theatre in March 2018.

Mel is the Dramatists Guild Ambassador for Utah, a member of the Plan-B Playwrights Lab, and an Art Access Mentor. Other honors include: Lewis National Playwriting Contest for Women winner; Mayhew Playwriting award; IRAM Best New Play; Trustus Playwrights Festival finalist; and 3 Association for Mormon Letters Drama awards. MFA, Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Plays

  • Mountain Law
    In the fall of 1850, Tamson English has been alone with three young children on the Western frontier for more than a year. Haunted by guilt over an extramarital affair, Tamson convinces herself that God has trapped her in the wilderness as a punishment for her sins. When she prays for a reprieve, an old friend appears at her door—but it’s hard to know whether his coming is a miracle or a curse. **In development.
  • Sweetheart Come

    Emma Hauck realizes that her husband's political ambitions are changing him—and their marriage. She finds refuge in her writing, and in the unexpected friendship of a new servant. As both relationships grow more complex, Emma most face difficult truths about herself that she never knew existed.
  • The Edible Complex
    10-year-old Anna decides to stop eating so that she can look like the women she sees in magazines and on TV. But it's hard to ignore your food when it starts talking to you.

    *Note: the theatre company that commissioned this play intended for it to be performed by two actors. However, there are many character roles and I'm open to using a larger cast.
  • Pilot Program
    What if you were called to serve in the restoration of polygamy? You could blog about it. An intimate look at first love, second wives, and last chances.

    PILOT PROGRAM is the story of Abigail and Jacob Husten, a childless couple who are asked to participate in a pilot program restoring polygamy to contemporary Mormon practice.
  • Pride and Prejudice
    Almost from their first meeting, Elizabeth Bennet finds herself at odds with the reticent Mr. Darcy. She finds him cold and arrogant while he disapproves of her family and social standing. Brought together by events beyond their control, both must reconsider their first impressions. A crisp, new imagining of Jane Austen's most popular classic.
  • Little Happy Secrets
    Claire and Brennan have been best friends for years. But when the two are brought back together after two years apart, Claire wonders if the feelings she has for Brennan might go beyond friendship.
  • Persuasion
    Adapted from Jane Austen’s beloved final novel, PERSUASION is a bittersweet story of first love and second chances. Anne Elliot, persuaded by duty and title to give up marriage at a younger age, now finds herself face to face with the man she once refused. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, this new take on Austen’s quiet masterpiece is refreshingly theatrical while remaining faithful to the original text.
  • Martyrs' Crossing
    The story of Catherine, a Christian martyr who, after her death, is assigned to guide a young peasant girl as she becomes the woman history will revere as Joan of Arc. Accompanying Joan throughout her legendary career, Catherine finds that her influence directly affects the girl’s successes and failures. As Joan spirals toward the inevitable, Catherine questions her assignment and, ultimately, her own faith....
    The story of Catherine, a Christian martyr who, after her death, is assigned to guide a young peasant girl as she becomes the woman history will revere as Joan of Arc. Accompanying Joan throughout her legendary career, Catherine finds that her influence directly affects the girl’s successes and failures. As Joan spirals toward the inevitable, Catherine questions her assignment and, ultimately, her own faith.

    2005 IRAM Best New Play.