Melissa Leilani Larson

Melissa Leilani Larson

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   Salt Lake City, UT

Melissa Leilani Larson is a Filipino American playwright and screenwriter whose work has been seen on four continents. Originally from Hau’ula, HI she has called Utah home for 31 years. She has received commissions to create new plays for Plan-B Theatre Company, Creekside Theatre Fest, Utah Valley University, and Brigham Young University. Recent productions include: Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon (commissioned by Utah Valley University), Pilot Program, Rabindranath Tagore’s The Post Office (commissioned by Plan-B Theatre, Gandhi Alliance for Peace, and Granite School District), Bitter Lemon (commissioned by Creekside Theatre Fest), The Edible Complex (commissioned by Plan-B Theatre), Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (commissioned by Brigham Young University), Little Happy Secrets, Martyrs’ Crossing, Persuasion, Lady in Waiting, and the book for Erica Glenn’s musical The Weaver of Raveloe (adapted from George Eliot’s Silas Marner). Feature films include Jane and Emma and Freetown.

In 2018, Mel was selected by the Association for Mormon Letters to receive the 2018 Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters. She is the only woman to receive more than one Association for Mormon Letters Drama award and is the youngest person to win three. Other honors include: the Ghana Movie Award for Best Screenplay; the IRAM Best New Play award; two Salt Lake City Weekly Best of Utah Arts Awards; the Mayhew Playwriting Award; winning the Lewis National Playwriting Contest for Women; placing as a Trustus Playwrights Festival top five finalist; and being named an O’Neill National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist.

Mel is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America, serving as the Utah Regional Rep. She is also a member of The Lab, Plan-B Theatre’s incubator for new plays, and was a 2018 Art Access Mentor. She holds a BA in English from BYU and an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.