Eric Samuelsen taught at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio before joining the faculty at Brigham Young University in 1992. He became head of the Playwriting program at BYU in 1999. He has also taught as an adjunct faculty member in the Religion department. He retired from BYU in 2012.
As a playwright, Samuelsen has had twenty-seven plays professionally produced in Utah, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, and California. Some of his plays include Gadianton, which has seen three professional productions across the country, A Love Affair with Electrons, Family, The Plan, and The Way We’re Wired. He is resident playwright at Plan B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, who designated their 2013-14 season a ‘Season of Eric,’ including productions of six plays.
He is a member of the Playwrights’ Circle, and the Dramatists Guild. He is three-time winner of the Annual Award in Playwriting offered by the Association for Mormon Letters (AML) and he became president of AML in 2007. In 2013 the organization awarded him the Smith Pettit Award for his lifetime work as a playwright.
He has been a staff writer for the on-line satirical magazine The Sugarbeet. He was also featured in the book Conversations with Mormon Authors, edited by Chris Bigelow. He is a noted Ibsen translator, and has also published scholarly articles on 19th and 20th century Scandanavian Theatre, and more recently, on LDS drama and film. He blogged at Mormoniconoclast.com.
Eric died in September of 2019 after a long battle, due to complications from polymyositis. The Intermountain West and the Country lost a unique and powerful voice of insight and call to action. Eric had a way of getting to the heart of any matter, thusly motivating us to think, react, and then act.
Plays in the Leicester Bay Theatricals Catalog:
- Amerigo (Christopher Columbus) (coming soon) Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company, SLC, 2010; published in “More Plays from Behind the Zion Curtain.”
- Cassandra – A Ten-minute Play –– Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival — 2018
- Clearing Bombs (Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize) Premiered at Plan-B Theatre Company 2014
- CoughLaugh (experimental) Premiered by BYU in 1998 and again in 2010.
- A Doll House (translated and adapted from the Ibsen original) Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company
- Fairyana (Plan-B Theatre’s Radio Hour Episode 8) Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company 2013
- Ghosts (translated and adapted from the Ibsen original) Staged Reading at Plan-B Theatre Company
- Intersection – Premiered by the Theatre Arts Conservatory at Plan-B Theatre Company, 2009
- Inversion – Premiered by the Theatre Arts Conservatory at Plan-B Theatre Company, 2008
- Little Eyolf (translated and adapted from the Ibsen original) Premiered at BYU
- Miasma – Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company’s SLAM Festival, 2006; published in “Plays from Behind the Zion Curtain.”
- Borderlands – Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company, 2011; Published in Sunstone Magazine, 2009; Published in 2012 in “Even More Plays from Behind the Zion Curtain”
- Peculiarities (Six short interwoven parable-plays on youth and sexuality as they intersect Faith) Premiered at Springville Playhouse, 2005, Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company, Filmed
Plays coming to the Leicester Bay Theatricals Catalog:
- He and She Fighting: A Love Story – Premiered by The New Play Project, Provo, Utah 2010.
- The Kreutzer Sonata – Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company, 2015
- The Ice Front – Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company, 2017
- A Love Affair With Electrons (Philo T. Farnsworth and the invention of Television) Premiered at BYU in 2020
- The Butcher, The Beggar and the Bedtime-Buddy 10 minute play – Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company’s SLAM Festival, 2005 (Later became the full length, “Miasma” [see above])
- Blood Pudding 10 minute play – Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company’s SLAM Festival, 2006
- Behind the Blue Door 10 minute play – Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company’s SLAM Festival, 2007
- Burning Desire 10 minute play – Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company’s SLAM Festival, 2008
- Perfect Circle 10 minute play – Premiered by Plan-B Theatre Company’s SLAM Festival, 2009
- What Really Happened – Produced at BYU, 2020
- Playing The Game – Produced at BYU in 1979 (Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival regional production)
- Sex and the New York Yankees (produced at BYU and a Bloomington Playwrights Project, Bloomington, Indiana)
Plays in the ZT Catalog:
- Accommodations Produced at BYU in 1993, Published in Sunstone Magazine in 1994, Association for Mormon Letters Best Drama Award 1994
- The Way We’re Wired – Premiered at BYU 1999; Winner: Association for Mormon Letters Best Drama Award, 1999; Adapted into a Novel, “Singled Out” published by Cornerstone in 2000.
- Family – Produced at BYU, 2005; Winner: AML Drama Award, 2005; Published in Sunstone Magazine, 2005;
- Letter From A Prophet (from Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail) (co-authored with Charles Metten) Produced at BYU, Fall 1980.
- The Plan – Premiered at The Covey Center for the Arts, Provo, Utah 2011; Published in Sunstone Magazine, 2009
- Prayers From Winter Quarters (A Short Play)
- Gadianton Premiered at BYU 1997; Published in Sunstone Magazine; Winner: Association for Mormon Letters Best Drama Award, 1997; Anthologized in Saints On Stage by Mahonri Stewart, Zarahemla Press, 2013
- Without Romance – Premiered at BYU 1997;
- The Seating of Senator Smoot – Premiered at BYU 1996, Videotaped and broadcast on KBYU TV
- Singled Out (from Amazon.com) (A novelization of his play, “The Way We’re Wired”)
OTHER PLAYS WITH LDS and Non-LDS Subjects:
- Three Women (Three short plays about Mormon women confronting their own culture: Bar and Kell, Community Standard, and Duets) – Premiered at the Little Brown Theatre in Springville, Utah, 2001; produced as “3” at Plan-B Theatre C0mpany, 2014
- Emma (An Opera with Murray Boren) – produced by BYU in 1984 and by Hell’s Kitchen Opera Company in 1984.
- Nothing Personal – Produced by Plan-B Theatre Company 2013.
- A Girl Who Blushes – one act Produced by BYU 1978
- The Christmas Box (based on the novel by Richard Paul Evans. Music by Murray Boren) A Musical premiered at BYU in 1997. [rights unavailable]
- Winding Sheet – Staged reading at Salt Lake Acting Company 1998
- Magnificence (adapted from John Skelton’s Medieval play) Premiered at BYU, 2002
- Blind Dates — one act Covey Center for The Arts, Provo, Utah, 2012