Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Steven Fales' Bio -- Comprehensive
Steven Fales is an actor/writer/producer best known for his one-man play Confessions of a Mormon Boy (Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination) originally directed off Broadway at the SoHo Playhouse by the late Jack Hofsiss (Tony Award for The Elephant Man) followed by acclaimed commercial runs at the Coast Playhouse in Los Angeles and Charing Cross Theatre in London’s West End. Confessions of a Mormon Boy is now Part One in Mormon Boy Trilogy which includes Missionary Position and Prodigal Dad.
Before embarking on the solo performance chapter of his career, Steven worked as an actor doing Shakespeare, musicals, and American classics in regional theatres across the country. His first union job was playing Hap in Death of a Salesman at New Harmony Theater with Gil Rogers, Jacqueline Brooks, and Apollo Dukakis. He has acted with Elaine Stritch, Len Cariou, Keir Dullea, Jane Alexander, Douglas Sills, and other theatre luminaries in concerts and benefit staged readings of new plays at what was once the Connecticut Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theatre (formerly the American Shakespeare Festival), and where he worked closely with founder and South African theatre impresario and Broadway director/producer Louis Burke (Meet Me in St. Louis).
Other regional theatre credits include leading roles at the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival, Pioneer Theatre Company (As You Like It with Ty Burrell and Evita with Janine Lamanna), Sundance Summer Theater (Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof starring Michael Rupert), Tuacahn Center for the Arts, Stages St. Louis, and directing I Hate Hamlet at Provo Theatre Company. Favorite roles at Connecticut Repertory Theatre include Edmund in King Lear, Gerry in Dancing at Luhgnasa, Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, and other CRT productions with Broadway veterans Judy Kaye in You Can’t Take It with You; opposite Emily Loesser’s Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance; with Kirsti Carnahan in She Loves Me (Kodaly); and with Dorothy Stanley and Marcus Neville in Company, among others.
Additional New York credits include the male lead (opposite Eden Espinoza and featuring Will Swenson) in staged readings of a new musical about the beginnings of the Salvation Army in the slums of Victorian London called Blood & Fire at the York Theatre and at ASCAP/Disney for Stephen Schwartz. Other New York credits include the lead in A Pig’s Tale at TOSOS II Theatre Co., staged readings at Abingdon Theatre, playing Young Scrooge in Scrooged Ballet Theatre for Young Audiences, and Frederic in The Tempest at Judith Shakespeare Company.
Las Vegas credits include GRANDmosphere at MGM Grand Adventures, A Caesar’s Christmas on Ice (also at Caesar’s Palace Tahoe), Andy William’s America at the Desert Inn, Paradise Ballroom Dancers, and the lead in ‘TWAS, a Christmas spectacular produced by Daniel Flannery Productions.
Steven’s television credits include Touched by An Angel, Miracles & Other Wonders, and the CBS mini-series Perfect Murder, Perfect Town (about JonBenet Ramsey) starring Marg Helgenberger and Ann-Margaret. He produced a pilot for his cabaret/comedy Esprit de Queer also starring Emmy Award winner Leslie Jordan. He has been in films for the LDS Church, numerous industrials, commercials (including the recent national “Visit Utah” commercial as the young dad on the ski slopes), and has done a fair amount of fitness modelling and commercial print work—most recently for Vail Resorts in Park City.
“A child of the fringe”, Steven has developed and performed his solo work at theatre festivals across the country and internationally including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Spirit of the Fringe Award). Other festivals include the Atlantic Fringe Festival in Halifax (Overall Fringe Hit Award), Hollywood Fringe, Phoenix Fringe, United Solo Festival in New York, GayFest Philadelphia, and twice each at the New York International Fringe Festival (Overall Excellence Award), the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival (Oscar Wilde Award Nomination for Outstanding New Writing for the Theatre), Acts of Faith Festival in Richmond, as well as multiple times at the annual Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City, the
He has toured his storytelling in regional sit-down productions including Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, Boston Theatre Works, Diversionary Theatre in San Diego, Bailiwick Theatre in Chicago, Theatre Lab Houston, Richmond Triangle Players, Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles, New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco, Buffalo United Artists, 14th Street Playhouse in Atlanta, Rising Action Theatre in Ft. Lauderdale, Onyx Theatre in Las Vegas, Island Repertory Theatre on Fire Island, the Crown & Anchor in Provincetown, Parliament House in Orlando, Invisible Theatre in Tucson, and others including the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City where he first debuted Confessions of a Mormon Boy.
In addition to his Outer Critics Circle Nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance, Steven recently shared an Artvoice Artie Award for Outstanding Visiting Production with Tovah Feldshuh (Golda’s Balcony). Other recognition includes a Houston Theater Award Finalist, double nomination for Boston IRNE Award (Best Solo Performance and Visiting Production), Stage Scene LA Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, San Francisco Lee Hartgrave Fame Award for Best Solo Performance, and Global Community Hero Award from Youth First Texas (Dallas). The book of the script for Confessions of a Mormon Boy (Alyson Books) was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist.
In addition to Mormon Boy Trilogy, his other solo shows include Cult Model (Laurie Beechman Theater, Metropolitan Room) and his cabaret Mormon American Princess (Joe’s Pub, The Art House in Provincetown, Upright Cabaret in Los Angeles). Additionally, he has been working on a new cabaret of original songs he wrote called Mormon American Cowboy. Having performed his standup at Caroline’s On Broadway, Standup NY, Don’t Tell Mama, and Wiseguys in Salt Lake, he keeps trying out new material at open mics for a future standup show called When All Else Fales. Steven’s solo dramedy My Mormon Valentine was recently filmed live at the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City and is currently in post-production. Other solo offerings in development include Joseph III (an historical solo about son of Mormon founder Joseph Smith), and his drag creation Conversations with Heavenly Mother: An Uncommon Diva.
Passionate about helping develop the solo genre and supporting and mentoring other solo performers, Steven is the founder of the “Solo Performance Alliance” on Facebook that offers resources and encouragement to other “soloistas.” He has taught his workshops on how to create and produce solo work across the country and is a sought-after consultant who has coached many solo artists to festival gold. Steven’s work was featured in The Advocate as one of Ben Rimalower’s top ten gay solo artists that inspired his successful Patti Issues and Bad with Money.
Steven was inspired to do solo work after experiencing the courage and honesty of Margaret Cho’s I’m the One that I Want, Elaine Stritch At Liberty, and the work of Tim Miller. In 2000, Steven met Tim Miller after his show Glory Box in Salt Lake and bought a signed copy of his Shirts and Skins in which Tim inscribed, “Tell your story!” That is what Steven has been doing ever since with audience responses such as this from one of the stage managers of Broadway’s Avenue Q, “Not since David Drake’s The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me have I been so moved by a solo show.” And a Mormon dad falling into Steven’s arms weeping after a show in Boston, “Thank you for helping me understand my gay son, and for dedicating your life to this mission.”
From London to Los Angeles, Houston to Halifax, Steven Fales has performed his solo work in eclectic venues from a church sanctuary in Orange County, California to a BDSM club in Denver; a gay resort in Palm Springs to an historic old movie house in Portland, Oregon; from grungy coffee shops in North Hollywood to the splendid, modern Mitzi Newhouse Theatre at Lincoln Center.
Publishing & Other Media
Steven’s companion book to his stage play, Confessions of a Mormon Boy: Behind the Scenes of the Off-Broadway Hit (Alyson Books), was a 2007 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Drama (Tim Miller winning that category for 1,001 Beds). The book includes the longer, unabridged script, essays about the creative process, exhibits that include his excommunication letter, and a foreward by Jack Hofsiss. It has been used in book clubs and university classrooms from University of Lethbredge in Alberta, Canada to the University of Utah. High school students have used its monologues to win competitions across the country. Confessions of a Mormon Boy was recently performed by a student at Crafton Hills Community College in San Bernardino, California as an experiment to see if other actors can successfully play Steven Fales, which many producers have suggested is possible. Permission for the rights to produce the play have been requested from Bangalore, India to Sao Paolo, Brazil but have not yet been granted (though the play has been translated into Portuguese and Spanish in anticipation of things to come).
The storytelling album “Confessions of a Mormon Boy LIVE from London” received five stars from BroadwayWorld.com. Confessions was professionally filmed live off Broadway at the SoHo Playhouse with six HD cameras and in Los Angeles at the Coast Playhouse with eleven cameras. A rough cut is available but has not yet been released (though at one time there was a distribution deal pending with Wolfe Distribution for global VOD release, including Hulu, etc.). This footage will be part of the documentary film Mormon Boy: The Story of a Storyteller that also includes footage from the upcoming “revival” of Mormon Boy Trilogy.
The original “Utah” version of Confessions of a Mormon Boy was published in Sunstone Magazine: Journal of Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues, and Art. His work has been anthologized in the book Latter Gay Saints: An Anthology of Gay Mormon Fiction (Fawn Brody Award). As part of his first blog, Mormon Boy, he wrote a monthly advice column for over a year called “Ask Mormon Boy” which was published in The Pillar, Utah’s first LGBT publication. He is a featured artist in the book Wilde Stages in Dublin: A Decade of Gay Theatre as well as The Creative Life: True Stories of Inspiration by Julia Cameron of the international bestselling The Artist’s Way. His new blog is called When All Else Fales.
Books and projects in various stages of development include Oxy-Mormon Memoirs: The Journey of an Off-Broadway Dad, a book in five volumes that fully expands his Mormon Boy Trilogy leaving room for future volumes in the series. His Mormon Boy Cookbook (based on his idea for a cooking show), Cultaholic (based on his solo show Cult Model), and My Mormon Valentine (based on the film now in post-production). Steven has also written a children’s book called The Valentine Maker and a book of poetry, Pressed Luck. He has a book of humor called Overheard at the Rodeo and a photography book called My Utah. He has several plays he is working on including Sacred Strain (about the early days of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Oscar Wilde’s visit to Salt Lake City) and musicals including Saltair, centered around the grand resort on the shores of the Great Salt Lake that rivaled Coney Island’s rollercoaster and dance floors in the 1920s.
Before his excommunication, Steven taught middle school drama courses at the prestigious Waterford School in Salt Lake City where he directed Kate & Co., his original adaptation of the medieval morality play, Everyman.
Carol Lynn Pearson
Steven Fales’s former mother-in-law is celebrated poet/playwright and early Mormon propaganda writer Carol Lynn Pearson of the bestselling feminist memoir, Good-bye, I Love You (Random House, 1986) about bringing her ex-husband home to die of AIDS in San Francisco in 1984. Steven was once married to their daughter, actor/writer Emily Pearson. He is featured in Carol Lynn’s book, No More Good-byes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones. Steven was instrumental in getting her play about the gay Mormon suicide epidemic, Facing East, produced—from early reading to a short off-Broadway run to subsequent regional productions. Carol Lynn has sought out his advice on many of her projects from her fable series that includes The Lesson and A Strong Man to producing her one-woman play Mother Wove the Morning. Steven has performed in her popular Mormon children’s musical My Turn On Earth and helped re-write her early Mormon musical The Order is Love which he directed and workshopped for Mountain West Repertory Theatre at the Hale Center Theatre in Orem, Utah. Steven commissioned her oil portrait by internationally acclaimed gay Mormon South African artist Trevor Southey called “Prophetess” before the artist died of cancer. Steven is featured in his ex-wife’s memoir Dancing with Crazy about leaving Mormonism, and a book she co-wrote with her mother, Fuzzy Red Bathrobe. He has purchased signed depiction releases from Carol Lynn, Emily, and his two children to mention them in his work.
Activism and Charity Work
Steven was asked to speak and perform for the oldest Gay/Straight Alliance in the country at the Phillips Academy Andover (which also includes Exeter and the Groton School). He and others were nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for an episode on the Tyra Banks Show called “Not In to Be Out” about his experiences surviving “reparative” (conversion) therapy and the ex-gay movement, and was featured in the documentary film Lost Tribe about Australian comic and Mormon lesbian, Sue-Ann Post. Steven was a Broadway Impact bus captain for the Marriage Equality March on Washington, DC in 2009, and in 2011, he posed nearly naked in the “Naked Issue” for Gay Times Magazine (London) raising money for HIV/AIDS and the Elton John Foundation. In the 2000s, Steven was instrumental in bringing the first gay-specific crystal meth recovery programs to the Utah Pride Center. He has volunteered to help pass legislation sponsored by Equality Utah and helped work phones and went door to door to help elect Salt Lake’s first openly gay mayor, Jackie Biskupski in 2016.
In 2005, The Point Foundation produced Confessions of a Mormon Boy at the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre at Lincoln Center as part of its first gala benefit fundraiser. That star-studded event raised more than half a million dollars. Other groups Steven has raised funds for with his work include the Trevor Project, Equality California, the Fellowship at St. Bart’s Episcopal, Basic Rights Oregon, Desert AIDS Project, Utah AIDS Foundation, People with AIDS Coalition of Utah, Affirmation (LGBT Mormons), Gamofites (Gay Mormon Fathers), Utah Dads Legal Fund, Straight Spouse Network, SAGE New York, Soulforce, Golden Rainbow (Las Vegas), Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Actors Fund, Utah Pride Center, Straight Spouse Network, Metropolitan Community Church (Los Angeles), Cathedral of Hope (Dallas), The Fathers Rights Movement, National Organization for Women, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Youth First Texas (Dallas), Church of the Foothills (Orange County), QSAC, Ability First, Frontrunners (San Diego), and Steven’s own Possibility Foundation, that gives scholarships to survivors of human trafficking and those transitioning out of the sex industry. Steven has guest-lectured and performed at Hunter College, University of Maine, Farmington, University of Connecticut, and the American Comedy Institute.
Education & Training
While in high school in Las Vegas, Steven attended summer programs at the Idylwild School of Music and the Arts in Southern California where he played Tony in West Side Story (with Rain Pryor as Anita). His senior year he was named Nevada All-State Best Male Vocalist. He then attended the Boston Conservatory on scholarship with fellow freshmen Jennifer Simard (Disaster) and Victoria Lynn Palazola (Always, Patsy Cline).
After serving for two years as a Mormon missionary in Portugal, he transferred to Brigham Young University where he earned his BFA in music/dance/theatre and was a member of the international touring group, the Young Ambassadors. Steven was awarded the Outstanding Musical Theatre Student Award and, in addition to leading roles in mainstage musicals including Joe in The Most Happy Fella, was in an original play Prisoner that went to the Kennedy Center for the American College Theatre Festival. Contemporaries at BYU included Will Swenson, Jeff Award Winner Kymberly Mellon, Aaron Eckhart, and playwright Neil LaBute. His senior project was playing Chris in Miss Saigon.
After graduating from BYU, Steven spent a semester in a new graduate musical theatre program at UNLV before deciding to focus exclusively on classical acting. He earned his MFA at the University of Connecticut where he received the Nafe Katter/Ron Palillo Best Actor Award. Steven has since studied at the American Comedy Institute and privately and in group classes with master acting coach and teacher Larry Moss.
Steven has attended many personal growth seminars of various kinds and is a graduate of the “Curriculum for Living” at Landmark Education.
Steven Fales was born the oldest of six children in Provo, Utah while his father was attending Brigham Young University. Steven attended elementary school in California while his dad attended medical school at USC. When he was eleven the family moved to Las Vegas where his mother’s side of the family is from. When he was sixteen his parents divorced. This set him free to pursue the performing arts full-time and he has never looked back. Steven was a member of the high school honor society, went to Nevada Boys’ State, and was an LDS seminary graduate. He served a full-time mission for the LDS Church in Portugal and is a proud Eagle Scout.
A sixth-generation “Son of the Utah Pioneers” formally excommunicated from the LDS Church for the practice of homosexuality, he has two grown children from a previous marriage to actor/writer/producer Emily Pearson, daughter of celebrated Mormon poet/playwright Carol Lynn Pearson. He is the step-grandson of controversial Mormon General Authority Emeritus, Hartman Rector, Jr., and his father is a retired Mormon bishop. Steven currently attends St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral Church and writes about Mormon Americana from his writing studio overlooking the Rocky Mountains, exporting his work from the heart and soul of Mormondom—Salt Lake City, “the Crossroads of the West.”
Steven can be reached directly at email@example.com, Twitter @mormonboy, Instagram @stevenfalesonline, Facebook @fales.steven,