Salt Lake Acting Company Presents

New Play Sounding Series Free Reading


By Kate Tarker

Monday, November 21 @ 7pm


Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC)’s New Play Sounding Series will present a free reading of LAURA AND THE SEA, a new play by Kate Tarker on Monday, November 21 @ 7pm.



It’s company outing day, and Laura, one of the top travel agents of her generation, is having the best/worst day of her life. So much so that she decides to end it all. Afterwards, her colleagues try to piece things together on a memorial blog, but how do you mourn someone you didn’t know that well?


LAURA AND THE SEA is a comedy about depression, or: a treatise on travel agents who don’t travel.


Workshopped in the 2016 SLAC Playwrights' Lab, LAURA AND THE SEA has gone on to be developed in the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, was a finalist for the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, the Princess Grace Award, and was a semi-finalist for the Relentless Award. SLAC is proud to welcome Kate back and to share her quirky, heartfelt play with a Salt Lake City audiences


The cast boasts some of Salt Lake’s finest actors: Anne Louise Brings, Eric Cadora, Lily Hye Soo Dixon, Dee-Dee Darby Duffin, Jacob Russell Johnson, Melanie Nelson, and Topher Rasmussen. 

Shannon Musgrave will direct. 



SLAC’s New Play Sounding Series (NPSS) is made possible through the generous support of the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation. Now entering its 22nd season, the NPSS creates a constructive, low risk arena for artists to navigate the challenges that come with writing and developing new plays. Through the NPSS, SLAC has provided professional resources for the artistic development of more than 90 new plays. Recognizing the importance of not only reading and developing new scripts, but seeing them through to full production, SLAC has ensured that over 50 percent of the plays read in the NPSS have gone on to be fully produced as part of SLAC's regular season, published for the professional market, and/or moved on to other regional theatres in Utah and around the country.


SLAC is grateful to the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation for their support of the New Play Sounding Series.





Kate Tarker’s plays include THUNDERBODIES (nominee, 2017 L. Arnold Weissberger Award), An Almanac for Farmers and Lovers in Mexico (2015 Kilroys List), and Laura and the Sea (2016 Kilroys list; finalist, 2016 L. Arnold Weissberger Award; finalist, 2016 Princess Grace Award).


Development: The Lark, The Vineyard, Ars Nova, [email protected], the Playwrights’ Center, The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, LOCAL lab in Boulder, Theater Masters in Aspen/NYC, Salt Lake Acting Company, Nautilus Music-Theater, and the NNPN at the Kennedy Center. Awards and support: Jerome Fellowship, MacDowell Colony Fellowship, Tofte Lake Center Fellowship, SPACE at Ryder Farm, PWCenter/NET Grant, the National Science Playwriting Award. Currently: Ars Nova Play Group, New Georges Affiliated Artist, Playwrights’ Center Core Writer. Commissions: The Wilma; Theater Masters Visionary Playwright Award. Collaborations: Pig Iron and SITI Company. As a teacher, she has mentored playwrights at the New Haven Co-Op High School and the Pillsbury House Theatre, and taught playwriting at Wesleyan. B.A. Reed College. M.F.A. Yale School of Drama. She lives in Brooklyn.



Shannon Musgrave is Associate Artistic Director of Salt Lake Acting Company. A Utah native, Shannon holds her MA in Arts Management from American University in Washington, D.C. where she worked in the Artistic Development department of Arena Stage. While writing her thesis on new play development, Shannon was selected as a directing apprentice for the Kennedy Center's 2013 Directing Intensive: Developing the New Play. At American University, Shannon served as Executive Chair for the annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium – a day-long conference for young arts leaders from around the country, produced in conjunction with National Arts Advocacy Day. Shannon has appeared on SLAC’s stages in SATURDAY’S VOYEUR, GO, DOG. GO! and HOW I BECAME A PIRATE. Directing credits include HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (GSL Fringe Festival/Pinnacle Acting Company), NPSS reading of BLEEDING HEARTS by Steve Yockey, and the upcoming production of GIDION’S KNOT (Pinnacle Acting Company) as well as Assistant Director on several SATURDAY’S VOYEURs and last season’s STUPID F**KING BIRD. 



Anne Louise Brings has most recently been seen as Sally Bowles in CABARET, as Lavinia in TITUS ANDRONICUS (Pinnacle Acting Co.) and as Nina in STUPID F**KING BIRD (Salt Lake Acting Co.). Past favorites include in Cindy BOOKSMART (Plan-B), Emma in MOCKINGBIRD (Pygmalion Productions), Mercy Lewis in THE CRUCIBLE (Pioneer Theatre Co.), Ali in SPARK (Pygmalion Productions), Jean in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (Utah Reparatory Theatre Co./Silver Summit Theater Co.), Wiglaf in BEOWULF (Meat & Potato Theatre Co.), Gloria in BOEING BOEING (Pinnacle Acting Co.), Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT (Davis Arts Council), and Antigone in ANTIGONE (Regional Tour). Anne graduated from Westminster College with a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance.


Shortly after arriving in NYC in the late 80’s, Eric Cadora became part of the very first cast to take over production from the creators and original cast of the still-running TONY N’ TINA’S WEDDING. Theatrical roles to follow included Eddie in FOOL FOR LOVE; Pale in BURN THIS; Estragon in WAITING FOR GODOT; Cassio in OTHELLO; RICHARD III; Brick in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF and Tucker in the theatrical production of WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE, directed by its author, Peter Hedges. Eric was last seen in LA as Looseleaf in The Actors Gang’s production of Kurt Vonnegut’s HAPPY BIRTHDAY WANDA JUNE. On television he has had major roles in Weeds; Walker, Texas Ranger; Men Behaving Badly; and Star Trek’s Deep Space Nine and Voyager; among others. He’s also been in a bunch of really silly movies that you’ve never heard of. Eric is thrilled to be back at SLAC for the stage reading of LAURA AND THE SEA.


Dee-Dee Darby Duffin was most recently seen at SLAC in the reading of MERCURY by Steve Yockey, having last performed in full SLAC productions of THE OVERWHELMING and SATURDAY’S VOYEUR. You can catch her melodic voice on December 15 at the Excellence in The Community free Concert Tribute to Ladies of Jazz at the Gallivan Center.  Other concerts include… And I'm Feeling Good a tribute to Etta and Nina; To Billie and Ella with Love. Past acting credits include DOUBT, [title of show] (Utah Rep), MAMA (2015 Best of Utah Arts Award), NOTHING PERSONAL, THE THIRD CROSSING (winner of the 2012 Arty Award for Best Local Production), Slam 2012 (Plan B). Grand Theater: MESSIAH, CROWNS, 1940'S RADIO HOUR, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. Pygmalion Theater Company: WOMEN OF LOCKERBIE, LADY DAY AT EMERSON BAR AND GRILL, WELL. Good Company Theatre: HOLIDAY TIME WITH THE ODETTE’S, FENCES, VAGINA MONOLOGUES. People Productions: FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF, THE EXONERATED.  CenterPoint Theater: HAIRSPRAY, CIVIL WAR, ANNIE, BIG RIVER. Directing credits include A SEA INSIDE OF ME, THE LIFE OF JASON SMITH and lots of theater coaching to elementary school children. Fearless is the mantra for 2016.


Jacob Russell Johnson is so pleased to be working again with SLAC for this reading of LAURA AND THE SEA. He has been involved with SLAC as a performer or stage manager for nine different productions of SATURDAY'S VOYEUR. He was also the producer and emcee of the CastPartySLC cabaret series at SLAC.  He has performed with many theaters throughout the Wasatch Front, including Pioneer Theatre Company, Egyptian Theatre Company, Hale Center Theatre, The Grand Theatre, Off-Broadway Theatre, Rodgers Memorial Theatre, and many others throughout Utah and California.  Favorite credits include: THE SECRET GARDEN (Dickon), FORUM (Hysterium), HOW TO SUCCEED...(Bud Frump), SOUTH PACIFIC (Lt. Buzz Adams), THE FANTASTICKS (Matt), CHARLEY'S AUNT (Jack), DAMN YANKEES (Rocky), and NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS (Psychiatrist).  He holds a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Utah and is a proud member of Actor's Equity since 2005.


Melanie Nelson received her BA from Southern Utah University and her MFA from Southern Methodist University. Other readings with SLAC include HARBUR GATE, THE VERMILLION HAND and THE PERSIAN QUARTER. Favorite roles include: Tamora in TITUS ANDRONICUS, Sara in TIME STANDS STILL, Berthe in BOEING BOEING, Emma in BETRAYAL, Catherine in PROOF, Elvira in Blithe Spirit, Hanna in Arcadia, Mrs. Cheveley in AN IDEAL HUSBAND, Chris in DANCING AT LUGHNASA and Becca in THE RABBIT HOLE (all at Pinnacle Acting Company), Karen in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (Silver Summit/Utah Rep), Titania in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Salt Lake Shakespeare), Portia in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Greer Garson Theater) and Ophelia in HAMLET (Fort Worth Shakespeare in the Park).  Melanie is the Managing Director of Pinnacle Acting Company and the Classic Greek Theatre Festival. She teaches acting at Westminster College and hosts The Megaplex Mega Preshow.


Topher Rasmussen is delighted to revisit this wonderfully sad play. SLAC credits: R+J: STAR CROSS'D DEATH MATCH, COURSE 86B IN THE CATALOGUE (2012 CityWeekly Arty: Best Chewing of Scenery), THE FERMI PARADOX (Davey Foundation Reading), HARBUR GATE (SLACLab, NPSS Reading), and LAURA AND THE SEA (SLACLab). Other credits: THE PRIVATE EAR (Sting & Honey), ADAM AND STEVE & THE EMPTY SEA (Plan-B, fringeNYC 2013), BORDERLANDS (Plan-B), THE WORST THING I'VE EVER DONE (Sackerson), THE REVENGER'S TRAGEDY, ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, TWELFTH NIGHT, TAMING OF THE SHREW (Grassroots Shakespeare Company), NEXT TO NORMAL (UVU, KCACTF 2014), and HAMLET AND OPHELIA GO SWIMMING (Great Salt Lake Fringe 2016, Edinburgh Fringe 2014). Love and gratitude to my friends and family, Kate, and SLAC.

•  •  •


Salt Lake Acting Company



New Play Sounding Series


By Kate Tarker



Monday, November 21, 7:00 p.m



168 West 500 North 

Salt Lake City, Utah 84103


•  •  •

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 STP 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).