PRESS CONTACT: CYNTHIA FLEMING | 801.363.7522 | [email protected]
August 17, 2017
For Immediate Release
Salt Lake Acting Company Presents
the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of
SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY
By Chisa Hutchinson
Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC) opens its 47th season of brave, contemporary theatre with the National New Play
Network Rolling World Premiere of SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY by Chisa Hutchinson, running September 6
through October 15. SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY is a funny, heartwarming story about how we show up for
each other, even in the most difficult and unlikely circumstances.
In an under-funded public school in Newark, New Jersey, a motherless, Bible-toting boy with a photographic memory
and a tender heart befriends the cantankerous woman who works in the cafeteria. Against all odds, they help each
other deal with the struggles that come with a difficult home life, ailing health and loneliness.
Playwright Chisa Hutchinson grew up and currently lives in Newark, New Jersey. She said, “I’ve been able to plug
into the community that’s around me, right here, and it’s vibrant and rich. I’m feeling a lot of local love, and I get to
give back that love. The Newark community will see themselves reflected on stage and have their existence validated
as significant and important. In the play, there are some poor folks, some black folks, some curmudgeonly folks, some
old folks, some angry folks. You’ll get a glimpse into the lives of people who are under-represented in theatre.”
SLAC’s production marks the first of this play’s NNPN Rolling World Premiere. It will go on to be produced at Writers
Theatre of New Jersey and RedTwist Theatre in Chicago later this season.
Hutchinson spent a week in Salt Lake City, where she sat in on rehearsals, making slight adjustments to the script and
working with director Alicia Washington.
Hutchinson said, “I'm not gonna lie. When my agent told me about this production opportunity, my spoiled, New York-
based self was like, ‘There's theater in Utah?’ And then more specifically to this play, ‘There's black people in Utah?!’
But man, the time I've got to spend out here has made a believer out of me. SLAC is on it.”
This play presents some casting challenges here in Utah, calling for an all-black cast, including two school-aged
characters. SLAC’s all-local cast includes four young actors who will share the roles of Tino and Deja, alternating
performances throughout the run.
SLAC Executive Artistic Director Cynthia Fleming says, “The process of choosing plays for a season can be a lengthy
endeavor, and sometimes many plays are read before one truly resonates. Upon finishing SURELY GOODNESS AND
MERCY, I knew I wanted to see this play realized on SLAC’s stage. The unlikely relationship between 12-year-old
Tino and Bernadette, the feisty old lunch lady, demonstrates to us that even when experiencing overwhelming
challenges, if we pay attention to each other and act with kindness, there can be healing. This timely message
reminds us that the power to spark change begins with us.”
Salt Lake Acting Company
SURELY GOODNESS & MERCY
By Chisa Hutchinson
September 6 – October 15, 2017
Wednesdays – Saturdays @ 7:30 p.m., Sundays @ 1:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 3rd @ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 14th @ 2:00 p.m.
Salt Lake Acting Company – Chapel Theatre
168 West 500 North
Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Salt Lake Acting Company
168 West 500 North, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84103
Box Office: 801-363-7522
Open 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mon – Fri
Single tickets range from $24 - $43 depending on the performance.
Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, Students, Seniors, and people 30 years old & young.
Subscribers always pay the lowest price.
Playwright Chisa Hutchinson (seated center) with members of SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY cast and creative team.
Chisa Hutchinson’s socially probing plays, which include SHE LIKE GIRLS, SEX ON SUNDAY, THE SUBJECT, DEAD &
BREATHING, and SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER among others, have been presented by such venues as City Parks'
Summerstage, the Lark, the National Black Theater, the Contemporary American Theater Festival, the New Jersey
Performing Arts Center, and Atlantic Theater Company. She's won a GLAAD Award, the John Golden Award for
Excellence in Playwriting, a Lilly Award, a New York Innovative Theatre Award, the Paul Green Award, a Helen
Merrill Award, the Lanford Wilson Award, and has been a finalist for the highly coveted PoNY Fellowship. She’s also
been a Lark Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a resident at the William Inge Center for the Arts a New York
NeoFuturist, a staff writer for the Blue Man Group, a Humanitas Fellow, and most recently, Resident Playwright at
Second Stage Theater. In addition to venturing into screenwriting, Chisa is currently a proud fourth-year year member
of New Dramatists and a Creative Writing Professor at the University of Delaware. (B.A. Vassar College; M.F.A NYU
- Tisch School of the Arts)
Alicia M. Washington is ecstatic to be making her directorial debut at SLAC. She is beyond blessed to be surrounded
by a community that embraces the arts. Alicia along with her sister, Camille, opened Good Company Theatre in
2012. GCT is now in its fifth year of operation, bringing live theatre to Downtown Ogden. She received a Musical
Theatre Degree from Weber State University, along with training from SITI Company and The Second City. Previous
credits include: FENCES (Good Company Theatre), APPROPRIATE (Good Company Theatre), and THE
MOUNTAINTOP (Good Company Theatre). Alicia is humbled to have the most supportive friends and family who
continually encourage her to pursue her dreams. "From Aunt Eller to the Piazza"- My Mom
Michelle Love-Day (Alnessa) has been a resident of Utah for 12 years. She is excited to return to the stage after
a three- year break. Her recent appearance as a "Church Lady" in Plan B's THE COLOR PURPLE was a memorable
play. Her agency, TMG, keeps her acting spirit alive by casting her for commercials, modeling, and print material.
Michelle has performed in theaters across the Salt Lake Valley , such as Hale Center Theater, Rogers Memorial
Theater, The Grand Theater, Plan B, and People Productions. She has performed in productions of AIDA, KISS ME
KATE, BYE BYE BIRDIE, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, CROWNS, THE TALENTED TENTH, FOR COLORED GIRLS,
and worked as a Production Assistant in Hale Theater's THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE. Her favorite re-
occurring role for the last 4 years, is the Lily Pad Princess, AKA, Princess Tiana with the company Magical Celebrations
Utah. During the day, Michelle is working as Associate Director of Educational Equity and believes "education is the
most powerful tool which you can use to change the world" (Nelson Mandela) She wants to thank her husband, 5 kids,
and amazing friends for their support, encouragement, and love as she "reclaims her time."
Yolanda Wood Stange* (Bernadette) is a Real Estate Agent and Investor by day and an Actress and Producer by
night. A fixture in Utah’s film and television scene she has guest starred in over 30 films. She has worked alongside
Zac Efron, Diane Keaton, Danny Glover, John Hawkes, Anthony Anderson Octavia Spencer and many more. In her
own words, “I could not be more excited to work on the SLAC stage again! To finally work with Alicia Washington
and again with Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin is like a dream come true! Thank you SLAC!" Yolanda is a proud member of
Actor’s Equity (AEA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
Kiara Riddle (Deja - Cast A) is thrilled to be performing at Salt lake Acting Company. Previous performances include:
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS at Utah Children’s Theatre as Snow White; LION KING at Eagle Bay
Elementary as Mufasa; SEUSSICAL at Utah Children’s Theatre as one the creatures; CATCH THE WIND at Canyon
Creek Elementary as a villager. Kiara has a passion for Soccer and she has been playing on a competitive level for
the last 5 years. She loves to play the Piano and the Viola.
Jenna Newbold (Deja - Cast B) is delighted to be making her debut with Salt Lake Acting Company. For the past
few years Jenna has enjoyed playing the role of Princess Tiana during the annual Fairy Tale Festival with Centerpoint
Legacy Theatre. She is currently a Senior at Roy High School and is planning to obtain a degree in elementary
education. For the past 8 years Jenna has been a student at Aranda's Karate Studio and is well on her way to her
goal of earning a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Jenna enjoys working with the Larson family where she is a Nanny to
their two beautiful children. She would like to share her gratitude to her mentor and friend, Mickie Larson. She also
gives a big thanks to her parents for encouraging her to try something out of her comfort zone.
Devin Losser (Tino - Cast A) is excited to be performing in his first production with Salt Lake Acting Company. This
marks his first time acting in front of a live audience and is very excited about the production. He has been acting
and modeling since he was 4 years old. He has done many commercials here locally, and several print ads. He is a
student at Herriman Jr High. In his free time, he loves to draw, play the piano, and is on his local swim team.
Clinton Bradt (Tino - Cast B) is ecstatic to be making his Salt Lake Acting Company debut in SURELY GOODNESS
AND MERCY. His latest performances include playing Cornelius in HELLO, DOLLY! (Intermountain Christian School),
Prince Christopher in CINDERELLA (Intermountain Christian School), and singing and dancing for the chorus of JOSEPH
AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (Steamboat Springs High School). Clinton is originally from
Uganda. He enjoys dancing, singing, playing soccer, and spending time with his family. He loves school, especially
Speech and Debate, and English class. Clinton would like to thank Salt Lake Acting Company for this wonderful
opportunity and his family for supporting him.
Sammee Lydia James (Teacher) recently moved to SLC from NYC where she stage managed various new work for
Red Fern Theatre Company. She graduated with a Bachelors in Theatre at Idaho State University appearing in RENT,
INTO THE WOODS and YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU. She is excited for this to be her first production at SLAC.
James Jamison (Preacher) is very grateful to Alicia Washington for his first project with Salt Lake Acting Company.
He has performed on numerous church plays and in his only full length play, FENCES at Alicia's Good Company
Theater, playing the part of Troy Maxson. James has been seen in television shows including Touched by an Angel,
Promised Land, Everwood, and Cover Me and in tv movies, Minutemen, Everything You Want, Together Again For The
First Time, and several others.
Bijan J. Hosseini (Principal) would like to thank Alicia, the cast and crew, as well as Cynthia and the rest of the
production team at SLAC for having me back. He was last seen here in THE EXIT INTERVIEW. Bijan has also worked
at Sting & Honey, Plan-B, PYGmalion, Pioneer, and Salt City Radio Players, among many others. Bijan has a Bachelors
in Mass Communication, a 2nd degree blackbelt in Muso-Kai under Grandmaster Shihan Arakaki, and makes a living
as an LMT at the Yugen Wellness Center. Bijan is represented by TMG.
Assistant Director – Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin
Set Design – Thomas George
Costume Design – Katie Rogel
Lighting Design – William Peterson
Sound Design – Jessica Greenberg
Stage Manager – Jennie Sant*
Dialect Coach – Adrianne Moore
Assistant Set Design – Megan Branson
Assistant Sound Design – Kyle Lawrence
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
ABOUT SALT LAKE ACTING COMPANY
Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC)’s mission is to engage and enrich community through brave contemporary theatre.
Founded in 1970, SLAC is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 professional theatre dedicated to producing, commissioning, and
developing new works and to supporting a community of professional artists. SLAC has been nationally recognized
by the Shubert Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Edgerton
Foundation, among others. SLAC operates under a SPT Actors Equity Association contract and is a Constituent Member
of Theatre Communications Group (a national organization for non-profit professional regional theatres), and the
National New Play Network (a national alliance of non-profit professional theatres that champions the development,
production, and continued life of new plays). www.saltlakeactingcompany.org
ABOUT NATIONAL NEW PLAY NETWORK
National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country’s alliance of non-profit professional theaters dedicated to the
development, production, and continued life of new plays. Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has supported more
than 200 productions nationwide through its innovative National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere
program, which provides playwright and production support for new works at its Member theaters. Additional
programs - its annual National Conference, National Showcase of New Plays, and MFA Playwrights Workshop; the
NNPN Annual and Smith Prize commissions; its residencies for playwrights, producers and directors; and the
organization’s member accessed Collaboration, Festival, and Travel banks and online information sessions - have
helped cement the Network’s position as a vital force in the new play landscape. NNPN also strives to pioneer,
implement, and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theaters collaborate to support new
plays and playwrights. Its most recent project, the New Play Exchange, is changing the way playwrights share their
work and others discover it by providing immediate access to information on more than 9,500 new plays by living
writers. NNPN’s 30 Core and more than 75 Associate Members - along with the more than 150 affiliated artists who
are its alumni, the thousands of artists and artisans employed annually by its member theaters, and the hundreds of
thousands of audience members who see its supported works each year - are creating the new American theater.