Melissa Leilani Larson

Melissa Leilani Larson

Melissa Leilani Larson is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose work has been seen on four continents. Plays: BITTER LEMON, THE POST OFFICE, SWEETHEART COME, MARTYRS’ CROSSING, PERSUASION, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, LITTLE HAPPY SECRETS, PILOT PROGRAM, THE EDIBLE COMPLEX, MOUNTAIN LAW, and the book for the musical THE WEAVER OF RAVELOE. Her commission to adapt Kelly Barnhill’s THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON...
Melissa Leilani Larson is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose work has been seen on four continents. Plays: BITTER LEMON, THE POST OFFICE, SWEETHEART COME, MARTYRS’ CROSSING, PERSUASION, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, LITTLE HAPPY SECRETS, PILOT PROGRAM, THE EDIBLE COMPLEX, MOUNTAIN LAW, and the book for the musical THE WEAVER OF RAVELOE. Her commission to adapt Kelly Barnhill’s THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON for Utah Valley University will premiere in November 2019. Film: JANE AND EMMA and FREETOWN (Ghana Movie Award, Best Screenplay). Mel is the 2018 Smith-Pettit Foundation award recipient, a 3-time winner of the Association for Mormon Letters Drama award, an O’Neill semifinalist, and a Trustus Playwrights Festival finalist. Other honors include IRAM Best New Play, A SL City Weekly Arty award, the Mayhew Playwriting award, and the Lewis National Playwriting Contest for Women prize. Mel is a member of the Plan-B Playwrights Lab and presently serves as the Dramatists Guild Rep for Utah. MFA, Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Plays

  • 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.
  • 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.**
  • Bitter Lemon
    A woman and a man with an awkward history find themselves together in the hereafter.

    BITTER LEMON was a commission written to accommodate a specific production conceit: two different actors performed it cold each night, script in hand, discovering the story and the characters along with the audience. If you read it, please keep the plot secret!
  • The Post Office
    Teenaged Ash is suffering from a mysterious illness. Despite being confined at home by the doctor, she remains hopeful, winning over strangers with her positive attitude and imagining a better life for herself.

    A commissioned adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's classic.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.