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Posted 05 Aug 2001   For week ended August 03, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 31Jul01

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 career.

"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 so he knows how many people are coming.


Mormon News interview with Matt Toronto


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