Arts News

A play about gay intimacy is coming to Utah direct from Off-Broadway

The first regional production of S. Asher Gelman’s Afterglow since it closed its off-Broadway run August 12 will be here in Salt Lake City, produced by the Utah Repertory Theater Company

Afterglow is a raw, one-act play exploring the emotional, intellectual, and physical connections between three men and the broader implications within their relationships in a way that Pride called “necessary in the modern era.”

“After seeing the show in New York, I knew this was a show I wanted to keep my eye on it, and see if I could bring it to Utah,” says Johnny Hebda, founder and director of development for Utah Rep. “[Utah State] Sen. Jim Dabakis recommended that our company stage the play, so I reached out to the production company and the playwright and they were excited to bring their work to Salt Lake City.”

“It addresses a giant elephant in the room of young gay people’s lives in the early 21st century. Without judgment or preachiness, Afterglow is a frank glimpse into the Grindr/Tinder social media, hook-up world,” Dabakis said.

“The heart of this play envelops themes that apply to everyone: relationships, love, trust, vulnerability, communication, hope, dating and domesticity in the digital age, and risk. It is beautiful, and it is tragic,” says director Josh Patterson. “I wouldn’t say elements of this play apply to any one group or another because that would distract from the fact that the whole play applies to who we all are on a very basic human level.”

Johnny Hebda, Sterling Allen, and A.J. Neuschwander

Afterglow will feature Johnny Hebda in the role of Josh, A.J. Neuschwander as Alex, and Sterling Allen as Darius. The play is directed by Patterson with assistant direction by JayC Stoddard.

Afterglow playwright, S. Asher Gelman will be in attendance opening weekend and will present a master class Saturday, Nov. 17, from 2–5 p.m. that is free and open to those interested in playwriting and how to bring your play from the page to the stage.

Afterglow contains explicit sexual content, foul language, and full nudity and is only for mature audiences.

Runs Nov. 16–Dec. 2 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center Studio Theater. Tickets are $20/person, available through

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