Melannie Taylor has an infectious smile. According to her, she is living the dream. She’s a playwright, and her dreams take the stage. This weekend, her new play titled Teaira Whitehead will premiere at the New Hazlett Theater. Her latest work delves into the real-life disappearance of a local teenager a decade ago, while weaving elements of mysticism into the search for answers.

Teaira Whitehead follows three close friends who make it their mission to find their missing friend after their school closes down. As they wander through Riverview Park on the North Side, they encounter the spirit of Teaira Whitehead.

The real life Teaira Whitehead went missing in 2014 at age 16. Her nude body was discovered, doused in bleach, possibly to destroy evidence. Toxicology showed she had heroin in her bloodstream at the time of death. However, District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. suggested at the time it was more than an overdose. The case remains unresolved to this day.

Taylor says she hopes the play will help the North Side community with the healing process. She stated, “Anyone who is looking for healing, aware of Teaira Whitehead, and wants to come in and be reaffirmed in some of those feelings.”

Audience members can expect to see Melannie Taylor’s talents on full display as the play includes music, dance, puppetry, and ritual elements. The immersive production has just three performances scheduled at the New Hazlett Theater from February 15-16 as part of the venue’s Community Supported Art series showcasing emerging artists. Tickets range from $20-$30.