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Popular play reading series announces playwrights and titles for two of its three productions featured in 2020.

Playwright Jeff Talbott
Playwright Ted Malawer
SALT LAKE CITY, UT— Pioneer Theatre Company announces the titles for two of the three plays featured in the seventh season of its new play reading series, PLAY-BY-PLAY.
The 2019-2020 Play-by-Play season will begin February 7 & 8, 2020 with The Anatomy of Love by playwright TED MALAWER. The second play in this season’s series is The Messenger by JEFF TALBOTT and will be performed March 13 & 14, 2020. The third reading in this year’s Play-by-Play series, April 17 & 18, 2020, will be announced in January.
Play-by-Play readings are professionally produced readings, providing developmental rehearsal periods for three new plays each season. The playwright works alongside a professional director and cast for a week-long residency, culminating in three public readings of each play available to theatergoers at a very modest cost.
In The Anatomy of Love, playwright TED MALAWER explores the lives of Danny and Laura, a modern couple consisting of a working mother and stay-at-home father in the Play-by-Play season opener. Their comfortable existence comes to a dead, frightening stop when their seven-year-old daughter’s teacher, Ms. Spencer, suggests that their child is most likely transgender. What follows is a fierce and sometimes hostile battle with Danny and Ms. Spencer advocating acceptance and pre-emptive reassignment and Laura adamantly refusing either action. This highly relevant issue is the battleground for an emotional and heartbreaking story of fierce love and dreaded loss.
Returning to Pioneer Theatre Company is JEFF TALBOTT, whose previous reading of “i” in 2017 resulted in its world premiere at PTC in 2018. The second play in the season series is his play The Messenger. Set in Norway in 1882, main character Therese Stockman is a small-town doctor and single mother who has made a shocking discovery about the industry that gives her town its lifeblood. Her friend, news editor Kristine Hovstad, is going to take the story and run with it, but at what cost? Using Henrik Ibsen’s classic An Enemy of the People as a departure point, this brand-new play examines our relationships with the press, the community, each other, and where to draw the line when deciding the right move to make.
“Embarking on the seventh season of this project, I feel pleased that we’ve nurtured the development of 21 plays, giving opportunities to 93 actors and directors, so far leading to seven world premieres, either at PTC or elsewhere,” said Artistic Director Karen Azenberg. “This is how tomorrow’s classics are created and we are thrilled to be such a critical part of the process of creating new work.”
“PTC has a special place in the Salt Lake City community, offering something for everyone. The Play-By-Play series engages audiences with the forefront of theatrical development,” Chris Massimine, PTC’s managing director notes. “Our mission is not just bringing the best of theatre to Salt Lake City, but cultivating it here. I’m proud to be a part of that vision.”
The February reading will be held in Dumke Auditorium at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA); the March and April readings will take place at the Babcock Theatre, in the lower level of Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre.
Play-by-Play readings are offered at an affordable price of $10 each, or $25 for all three. PTC Season Ticket Subscribers and pass holders can attend all three for $15 as a benefit of their subscription. All tickets are general admission. Individual tickets may be purchased through the PTC Box Office by calling 801-581-6961 or online at https://tickets.pioneertheatre.org.
Sponsors for Play-by-Play include Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Park Fund, The Bireley Endowment, Susan Stoddard Heiner and Blake T. Heiner, and Lee and Audrey Hollaar.
PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY (PTC): Now celebrating its 58th season, the award-winning PTC is Utah’s Premiere Professional Theatre 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.
Play-By-Play New Play Reading Series
The Anatomy of Love by Ted Malawer, February 7 & 8, 2020
The Messenger by Jeff Talbott, March 13 & 14, 2020
Title TBA, April 17 & 18, 2020
Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The February reading, The Anatomy of Love, will be held in Dumke Auditorium at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) in the Marcia & John Price Museum Building
410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
The readings held in March (The Messenger) and April (TBA) will take place at the Babcock Theatre, in the lower level of Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
  • $5 each for current PTC Season Ticket Holders
  • $10 each for general public, or all three for $25
Box Office 801-581-6961
Open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
TED MALAWER (Playwright, The Anatomy of Love) is a recent graduate of the Juilliard Playwriting Program. He has received Lincoln Center’s Lecomte du Nouy Prize and The Kennedy Center’s Blanche and Irving Laurie Award, and his theatrical work has been developed and commissioned by T Magazine/The New York Times, The Public, NYTW, Atlantic Theater Company, MCC, and others. TV writer-producer credits include shows for Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, NBC, Freeform and Disney+, where he developed an original pilot. Malawer has also written several novels, including the Mystic City series for Penguin Random House. A former opera singer, Malawer is a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a graduate of The Juilliard School-Columbia University Exchange Program, and received his master’s from Fordham University. He is currently adapting the novel Red, White & Royal Blue into a film for Amazon, and writing an original musical with Kate Nash and Andy Blankenbuehler.
JEFF TALBOTT (Playwright, The Messenger) Jeff Talbott’s play “i” was developed in Pioneer Theatre Company’s Play-by-Play Series and subsequently produced by PTC in 2018. His play A Public Education was also seen in Play-by-Play and was a finalist for the 2015 O’Neill Playwrights Conference. His play The Submission was the inaugural recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Award and was produced off-Broadway by MCC Theater; it went on to receive the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for New American Play and was published and licensed by Samuel French. Other produced works: The Gravedigger’s Lullaby (off-Broadway – TACT/Theatre Row; published and licensed by Dramatic Publishing) and Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors (2018 O’Neill Finalist; commissioned and produced by Montclair State University). Other plays: Joseph Cook (2019 O’Neill Finalist), Three Rules for the Dragon (2017 O’Neill Finalist, workshops – Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Colt Coeur and Premiere Stages), How to Build a City (workshops – TACT, Route 66), Elliot, and All the Stars in the Midnight Sky. He writes musicals with composer Will Van Dyke; as a musical theatre writing team, they were finalists for the 2019 Fred Ebb Award. Talbott graduated with honors from the Yale School of Drama.

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