By Kent Larsen
Play About LDS Missionaries in New York Readings
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- LDS actor and budding playwright Matt Toronto is
hosting two readings of his first full-length play, "Mysterious Ways,"
hoping to attract a producer. According to Toronto, the play explores the
relationship between two LDS missionaries and an atheist with whom their
lives become intertwined.
The missionaries' encounter with the atheist starts when they tract him out
and get in a surprising debate with him on the existence of God, sexuality
and the necessity of religion. But while they part in disagreement,
subsequent chance encounters make clear, at least to the missionaries,
divine purposes that they didn't expect.
Toronto is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan who discovered a love of
performing as a youth, starting with a role in the choir in a performance of
Leonard Bernstein's Mass. That performance led Toronto on to a series of
parts in community theater, but unlike other youth actors, his motivation
wasn't driven by his parents. Instead, Toronto had decided he liked the
stage, and worked to stay there.
Before his senior year of high school, Toronto spent two weeks at the
renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts, participating in its program for
Michigan state students. There, he met recruiters from the University of
Michigan, and after graduation, he attended their musical theater program.
Toronto interrupted his studies there to serve a two-year LDS mission to
Germany, where he wrote a short theatrical presentation on the lives of
famous German LDS Church members, from Karl G. Maeser to the saints that
helped the Church survive during World War II. After he returned, Toronto
married, finished his education, and moved to New York to pursue his acting
"Mysterious Ways" was written at least in part to further his career, says
Toronto. Competition for work in Musical Theater in New York is fierce, and
while Toronto has had more success than most, he hasn't yet reached his
potential. Toronto hopes that writing his own plays will give him a little
more control over his career, giving him more roles. And, he sincerely
believes that "Mysterious Ways" will be worth seeing.
The readings of the play will be held on August 7th at 135 West 42nd Street
at 7pm and on Saturday, August 11th, 2:30pm at the Manhattan Theatre Source,
177 McDougal, between 8th street and Washington Square North in Greenwich
Village. Toronto asks that those attending RSVP to him at
firstname.lastname@example.org so he knows how many people are coming.
Mormon News interview with Matt Toronto