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Inspired by the Ibsen classic An Enemy of the People, Jeff Talbott’s play in development presents the consequences of speaking out about a public health threat. It fills the second slot of PTC’s Play-by-Play new play reading series.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT— Pioneer Theatre Company continues its seventh season of the Play-by-Play new play reading series with The Messenger, a play in development by award-winning playwright Jeff Talbott. Three public readings will take place at the Babcock Theatre, in the lower level of Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, on Friday, March 13, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. There will be a talkback directly after the 2:00 p.m. matinee. Tickets are available at www.pioneertheatre.org or by calling 801-581-6961.
The Messenger tells the story of Therese Stockman a small-town doctor in Norway in 1882 who has made a shocking discovery about the industry that gives her town its lifeblood. Her friend Kristine, the editor of one of the town newspapers, is about to take the story and run with it, but at what cost? The Messenger is a dramatic roller coaster ride that examines our relationships with the press and the community, challenging when and where to draw the line when public safety and economics clash.
“I have been recently fascinated by classic pieces of theatre containing social and political themes that closely mirror our current climate,” says Karen Azenberg, Pioneer Theatre Company’s Artistic Director. “Ibsen’s whistleblower story, An Enemy of the People, has always been intriguing, and even more so in the last year. When I spoke to Jeff [Talbott] about it, he jumped on the idea of a new adaptation, presenting with me with a first draft less than two months later! Little did I know that the play’s other theme, the threat of a viral contagion, would be so incredibly timely!”
Playwright JEFF TALBOTT has appeared as both an actor and a playwright at PTC. His play /i/ was developed in Pioneer Theatre Company’s Play-by-Play new play reading series in 2017 and subsequently produced by PTC in 2018. A Public Education was also read in the series in 2014 and was a finalist for the 2015 O’Neill Playwrights Conference, one of five times he has been a finalist. He also won an Outer Critics Choice Award winner for his play The Submission.
WES GRANTOM will direct this reading. He previously directed The Lifespan of a Fact, The Lion in Winter, and Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors at Pioneer Theatre Company, and beep boop at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY (PTC): Now celebrating its 58th season, the award-winning PTC is Utah’s premiere professional theatre company and a leading arts organization of the West. Led by Artistic Director Karen Azenberg and Managing Director Christopher Massimine, PTC promotes community-building and education through presenting world-class productions; developing new socially resonant and universal work; hosting talks, lectures, and workshops that engage a versatile and inclusive demographic, while celebrating diversity in culture and society; and serving as the connecting bridge between art and scholarship as an affiliate of the University of Utah.
INTERVIEWS: Interviews with the cast and artistic staff are available. Call 801-581-7222 to arrange.
Pioneer Theatre Company
Play-by-Play New Play Reading: The Messenger
By Jeff Talbott
March 13 – 14, 2020
Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday matinee, 2:00 p.m.
There will be a talkback directly after the 2:00 p.m. matinee
This production will be held in the Babcock Theatre, in the lower level of Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, SLC 84112-0650.
  • $5 per ticket for current PTC Season Ticket Holders
  • $10 per ticket for general public
Box Office: 801-581-6961
Open 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mon – Fri
DANIEL BEECHER*………….Peter Stockman
CHRIS DUVAL*…………………Henrik Abelman
AMELIA MCCLAIN*………….Kristine Hovstad
SELAH MCKENNA………….Marianne
IRELAND NICHOLS………….Petra Stockman
JASMIN WALKER*…………..Therese Stockman
BEN YOUNG……..………..…Einar Billing
JEFF TALBOTT……………………………Playwright
WES GRANTOM………………………….Director
KELSEY JAMES*…………………………..Stage Manager
* Member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA)

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