Pioneer Theatre Company begins the sixth season of Play-by-Play’s New Play Reading Series with Art & Class by Utah playwright, Matthew Ivan Bennett. The staged readings will take place at the Babcock Theatre on Friday, October 5 and Saturday, October 6, 2018.
A free-thinking Latina art teacher fights for her job, reputation and autonomy in her classroom, when she’s accused by a Caucasian parent of showing “pornography” to her sixth-grade students in small-town Utah. This new play by Bennett takes on our perceptions about race, class and the human body in classic works of art.
MATTHEW IVAN BENNETT is a resident writer at Plan-B Theatre on Salt Lake City and has premiered over a dozen stage and radio plays.
“Art & Class was inspired by the firing of a Utah teacher for showing his students classic works of art with nudity and how he allegedly handled the students’ reactions,” said Bennett. “As someone who works in the arts, and as the son of teachers, I took the story personally.” Bennett is also Assistant Business Manager at Pioneer Theatre Company. “This is a character study in standing up; one that shows the costs of standing up. It’s a topic that’s dead center in American life right now.”
Bennett’s other works include Radio Hour Episode 13: Troll which will premiere on KUER on December 13th. His play Eric(a) won Best Drama at the United Solo Festival in New York. In 2014, he received the Holland New Voices Award at the Great Plains Theatre Conference, and he’s been a finalist twice at the Austin Film Festival-as well as a finalist for the O’Neill with a fairy-tale called Let Down Your Hair. He’s worked with Chicago’s Circle Theatre, Rising Sun in New York, Monkeyman in Toronto, Source in DC, and Wasatch, Pygmalion, SLAC, Utah Shakespeare and Sackerson here in Utah.
Guest Director JENNIFER CURFMAN is a NYC-based director, actor and teacher, and returns to PTC to direct this reading. She is Associate Artistic Director of The Cry Havoc Company and her Director/Associate Director credits include Lincoln Center Originals, Vital Theater, FringeNYC/Encores, Primary Stages, Live from Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub and Stagedoor Manor.
The cast includes Equity actors SUSANNA FLORENCE, ELIZABETH RAMOS and MAX WOERTENDYKE. ROGER DUNBAR also returns to PTC.
ROGER DUNBAR (Leland Hess/Tree Shopper) This is Dunbar’s second PTC Play-by-Play reading, previously appearing in The Ice Front. His other PTC shows have been King Charles III and A Philadelphia Story. He has also appeared locally as Fred in Mopey Wrecks (Riot Act), Joe Hill in One Big Union (Plan-B), Antonio Salieri in Amadeus (Utah Rep), Serge in Art and Robert in Betrayal (Pinnacle).
SUSANNA FLORENCE (Mindy Van Tassel) happily returns to Pioneer Theatre Company after Oslo and last season’s Twelfth Night. She has appeared previously in King Charles III, Fiddler on the Roof and One Man, Two Guvnors, as well as several Play-by-Play readings. Other Utah credits include As You Like It, Shakespeare in Love, Mary Poppins and Much Ado About Nothing with the Utah Shakespeare Festival.
ELIZABETH RAMOS (Lucía Mendoza-Horne) debuts at PTC, and will also be in the upcoming Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. Off-Broadway, she’s been seen in The Surgeon and her Daughters and The Idea of Me (both at Cherry Lane Theatre); A Month in the Country (Classic Stage Company); and Bikeman (Tribeca Performing Arts Center). Regional appearances include The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Title IX, Fade, The Women of Padilla, Deferred Action and Sleep Rock Thy Brain.
MAX WOERTENDYKE (Riley Horne) returns after playing multiple roles in this season’s opener, Oslo. Broadway works includes Ivo van Hove’s A View from the Bridge. His Off-Broadway work includes the world premiere of Richard Nelson’s Illyria and Romeo & Juliet (both at The Public Theater, NYC). His film and TV work includes “Longmire,” Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and the upcoming Down the Barrel.
Pioneer Theatre Company
Play-by-Play New Play Reading: ART & CLASS
By MATTHEW IVAN BENNETT
October 5 and 6, 2018
Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday matinee, 2:00 p.m.
This production will be held in the Babcock Theatre in the lower level of the Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre. The University of Utah, 300 South 1400 East Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. Free parking is available in the lots to the south and south-east of PTC.
$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