The Fading Flower • A play

The Fading Flower • A play

by Mahonri Stewart

(Under license from Prospero Arts and Media)

David Hyrum Smith is the youngest son of Joseph Smith, the first prophet of Mormonism. Yet, David never knew his father who was murdered by a mob before he was born. Raised by his powerful mother, Emma Smith, David must chart a new spiritual course as his brother Joseph III distances their family from Brigham Young’s version of Mormonism in Utah, while still seeking to honor their father’s place in the Restorationist movement. David’s search for the truth, however, brings him on a path full of peril, as he seeks deeper and deeper into his family’s past.


  • CAST SIZE: 15 with performers playing multiple roles (6 women, 9 men)
    • David Hyrum Smith
    • Emma Hale Smith
    • Joseph Smith III
    • Clara Hartshorn
    • Julia Murdock Smith
    • Joseph F. Smit
    • Alexander Smith
    • Frederick Smith*
    • Amasa Lyman*
    • Eliza R. Snow
    • Helen Kimball Whitney
    • Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner
    • Brigham Young
    • Marsh Jr.
    • Joseph Smith, Jr.
    • Samuel Smith, Jr.**
    • John Taylor**
    • Parley Pratt, Jr.**
    • Lewis Bidamon***
    • George Q. Cannon***
    • (*) (**) (***) — each may be played by the same performer
  • RUN TIME: 2.5 hours
  • SETS: A unified multi-location setting
  • COSTUMES: 1800s
  • Order #2118


“Stewart is ever the writer of brilliant dialogue. This piece is so powerful and beautifully written it demands competent actors to match the material. These talented and sensitive actors are up to task and are superb . . . I am appreciative of Stewart’s courage in writing this bold, candid, historically authentic work honoring Emma Hale Smith. The play is an important historical achievement.”Nan McCulloch, AML-List

“Poignant and tragic.”David Allred, Association for Mormon Letters

“. . . looking at the issue through the lens of David becomes a powerful and uniquely Mormon reflection on the peril and promise of living in such close proximity to our historical legends. Of course, with such a controversial and painful topic at the heart of the play, Stewart could easily have veered into advocating a particular conclusion or lesson, but the play remains too sensitive and nuanced to be reduced to simple morals . . . it only succeeds in so accurately reflecting a Mormon sensibility by having the main characters all view Mormonism (as we know it today) from the outside . . . Stewart succeeds in capturing the historical Mormon sense of longing and exile even in a play about our own history.”Nathaniel Givens, Times and Seasons

“I’m drawn to works like The Fading Flower that uncover previously untold stories from Mormon history. I think Mormon literature needs works that probe these unseen corners of the Mormon past, works that try . . . to get at the truth behind the mysteries and obscurities or go mad in the attempt.”Scott Hales, The Low-Tech World


  • A copy of the PERUSAL SCRIPT (in PDF format) which contains Act One of the script of the play is available, (it also has an extensive Author’s Note.): Fading Flower PERUSAL 2118
  • The PRINT VERSION of The Fading Flower is published by PROSPERO ARTS AND MEDIA and is available on Amazon
 A great way to peruse the entire script for $12.00 HERE


(Any PDF purchased will be emailed to your email address — if you need to provide that to us (not the one on your PayPal account?), email us. CDs will be mailed to a snail mail address. Do not purchase rehearsal materials or pay for royalties until you have performance clearance.)

  • Script in PDF format  — Order #2118a : $40.00 (from which you will be authorized to copy for your production)

  • First Performance Amateur/Educational Royalty — Order #2118d : $90

  • Second Performance Amateur/Educational Royalty — Order #2118e : $80

  • Professional Royalties will be quoted upon application
  • EMAIL us for rights and information. Be sure to give us anticipated performance dates and the address of your group and, if different, your theatre. Please also include a contact name and phone number.


The following is how the credits should read in all programs, posters, fliers, handbills and other promotional advertising for the show:

The Fading Flower

Mahonri Stewart

NOTE: The names of the Playwright(s), Composer, Lyricist, and Bookwriter shall be equal in size, type, coloring, boldness, and prominence. No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominent than the billing to the Authors except for the title of the play. (In a press release all type, will of course, be the same size.)


THE FADING FLOWER is presented through special arrangement with Zion Theatricals.  All authorized materials are also supplied by ZT,”


  • New Play Project, 2009 (Photos below)
  • Black Swan Reading Series, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 2009 (Staged Reading)
  • BYU Writers/Dramaturgs/Actors Workshop, 2009 (Staged Reading)
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