Press Room


For Immediate Release
December 21,2009

Contact: Heather Nowlin


Pioneer Theatre Company Presents


A world premiere by Bess Wohl

Pioneer Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Touch(ed) by Bess Wohl, the first production of the theatre’s recently instituted New Plays Initiative.

Smart, artistic, empathetic and funny, Emma is everything a younger sister would idolize. But she’s also spent the last eight years in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Determined to get her sister back, Kay hopes that a week at a cabin in the woods will restore Emma to the beautiful and spirited woman she remembers and longs for. (Contains strong language and mature themes.)

Playwright Bess Wohl’s other plays include In, Fake and Cats Talk BackCats Talk Back, a comedy, won the award for Best Overall Production at the NYC International Fringe Festival. She has developed her play In into a screenplay that was included in Hollywood’s Black List of best scripts. Last season, she wrote an original drama pilot for Fox, and is currently at work on a drama about meat for HBO. Her plays have been developed at The Vineyard Theater, The Pittsburgh Public Theater, The Northlight Theater, TheaterWorks, and The Geffen Playhouse. She is currently writing the book for a musical about the adult entertainment industry for Center Theater Group in Los Angeles. As an actress, Bess has appeared onstage in New York, regionally and at Williamstown Theater Festival (five summers) and in numerous films and TV shows. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, as well as a degree in English Literature, magna cum laude, from Harvard, where she studied writing with both Seamus Heaney and Jamaica Kincaid.

The all-Equity cast includes Jennifer Joan Thompson as Kay, who is determined to help her sister live a more normal life; Kelly Hutchinson as Emma, the sister struggling with mental illness; Alex Podulke as Billy, Kay’s fiancé and a novelist suffering from writer’s block; andDennis Parlato as the doctor treating Emma.

Jennifer Joan Thompson’s Broadway and New York credits include Dividing the Estate at Lincoln Center Theater, and Gallathea at HERE Arts Center. Regionally she has appeared inBloodline: Children of Argos and Julius Caesar both at the Hangar Theatre in New York. She has appeared on television in The Good Wife, All My Children, and Guiding Light. Thompsonholds a BA from Yale University and an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Kelly Hutchinson’s Broadway credits include Desire Under the Elms, Major Barbara, andMacbeth. Off-Broadway, she has been seen in Or at Women’s Project, The Voyage of the Carcass for Soho Playhouse, Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul at New York Theatre Workshop, and Romola and Nijinsky at Primary Stages. On television Hutchinson has been seen on Law & Order, Hack, The Jury, and in a recurring role on Strangers with Candy.

Alex Podulke’s recent New York credits include Corleone, the Shakespearean Godfathers at the NY Fringe Festival, Flesh and the Desert at Theatre Row, Romeo and Juliet in Central Park, and Cyrano de Bergerac at the Metropolitan Opera. His award-winning one-man show DNA and the Dancing Fool has been produced in MN and CA. He is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He has been seen at PTC in Enchanted April and The Heiress.

Dennis Parlato’s Broadway credits include Lawrence in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Mr. Robinson in The Graduate, John the Baptist in Salome, Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, CIA agent Walter Anderson in Chess, and Rooster in Annie. His film credits include Tom DiCillo’sJohnny Suede and Delirious, Eddie Muller’s Dillinger’s Dead, Greg De Felice’s Bury the Evidence, Rick, First Born, Starting Out in the Evening and Bride Wars. He was last seen at PTC in The Vertical Hour and Paint Your Wagon.

Directing the production is PTC Artistic Director Charles Morey. Morey has directed more than eighty productions for Pioneer Theatre Company. Regionally he has directed for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Asolo Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Meadow Brook Theatre, American Stage Festival, PCPA Theaterfest and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Morey is also a successful playwright whose works have gone on to successful productions in theatres across the country, and a fellow of the MacDowell Colony.

Scenic Designer Gary M. English designs the set. Founding Artistic Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, he has served as Commissioner of Scene Design for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, USITT, as a panelist on the Connecticut Commission On The Arts, and is a member of the National Theatre Conference. English has designed scenery and costumes for off-Broadway, television and major theaters throughout the country. His awards include Best Design recognition by the Pittsburgh Press for The Odyssey and Sunday in the Park With George. Last season, English designed the set for The Light in the Piazza at PTC.

Guest designer Pamela Scofield designs the costumes for the production. Her recent off-Broadway credits include Almost Maine, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, A Fine and Private Place, and The Summer of ’42. She designed the National Tour and Madison Square Garden production of Cinderella starring Eartha Kitt. Television work includes several editions ofThe Grammy Awards. She last designed The Yellow Leaf for PTC.

Phil Monat lights the production. Monat has designed over 400 productions in regional theatres throughout the country, including productions at The Old Globe in San Diego, The Seattle Repertory Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Milwaukee Rep, The Arizona Theatre Co., The Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, The Huntington Theatre, and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He returns to PTC after lighting last season’s production of My Fair Lady.

Sound design is by PTC resident sound designer Joe Payne, and the hair and make-up designer is Amanda French, PTC resident designer.

Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah’s premier resident professional theatre, performs at Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located on the University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in Salt Lake City, easily accessible by TRAX light rail. Free parking is also available and the theatre is equipped with an elevator, handicap parking, hearing assistance devices and other easy-access features. 

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MEDIA PHOTO SHOOT: There will be a media photo shoot on Monday, December 28th, 2009, at 5:30 p.m. at Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 E., SLC. Please RSVP by calling 801-581-7222.

PHOTOS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD: High-resolution color photos of this production will be available for media use on the PTC website beginning Tuesday, December 29, 2009 after 3:00 p.m. Go directly to http://www.pioneertheatre.org/press-room

FILMING FOR TELEVISION: Filming a short segment of the production during Preview or Opening Night for press use can be arranged. Call 801-581-6270.

INTERVIEWS: Interviews with the cast and artistic staff, including playwright Bess Wohl, are available; call 801-581-7222.

PRESS TOURS: Tours of the set for the press are available; call 801-581-6270.


WHO:  Pioneer Theatre Company

WHAT: Touch(ed) by Bess Wohl

Contains strong language and mature themes.

WHEN:  January 8 – January 23, 2010

TIMES:  Mondays – Thursdays, 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m.

WHERE:  Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City

PRICE:  $22 – $40; Children up to grade 12 are half price on Mondays and Tuesdays

MORE INFO:  Box Office (801) 581-6961. The Box Office is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Friday, and Saturdays when there are performances. www.pioneertheatre.org


Kelly Hutchinson*……….. Emma

Dennis Parlato*……….. Doctor

Alex Podulke*……….. Billy

Jennifer Joan Thompson*……….. Kay


Director……….. Charles Morey

Playwright……….. Bess Wohl

Set Designer……….. Gary M. English

Costume Designer……….. Pamela Scofield

Lighting Designer……….. Phil Monat

Sound Designer……….. Joe Payne

Wig and Make-up Designer……….. Amanda French


*Denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association.