DENVER – The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) Theatre Company today announced playwrights, dates and details for the 2020 Colorado New Play Summit. The 15th annual festival will take place over two weekends, February 15-16, and February 21-23, and feature readings of new plays by Benjamin Benne, L M Feldman, Yussef El Guindi, Jessica Kahkoska, and co-writers Suzan Shown Harjo and Mary Kathryn Nagle. The festival will also feature world premiere productions from the 2019 Colorado New Play Summit by Tony Meneses and Bonnie Metzgar.“As we celebrate the 15th year of the Colorado New Play Summit, it is exciting to look back at the many playwrights whose work we heard for the first time and celebrate where they are now, such as one of the most-produced plays in theatre of the 19/20 season, Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap,” said Chris Coleman, Artistic Director for the DCPA Theatre Company. “The Colorado New Play Summit allows audiences to get a front row seat into the developmental process of new work as we collaborate with some of the nation’s most exciting playwrights.”
Hailed as a “must-see stop for new-play development” byAmerican Theatre, the Colorado New Play Summit is the DCPA’s signature festival dedicated to supporting playwrights and developing new work. Participating playwrights, including those commissioned by the Theatre Company, are given two weeks with professional directors, actors, and dramaturgs to workshop new plays. Industry professionals and the public are invited to meet the artists, experience staged readings, and provide feedback on the work as it is being developed.
Since its founding, the Summit has introduced 64 new plays, over half of which returned to the stage as full Theatre Company productions. Among the Summit world premieres are Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will, Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, José Cruz González’s American Mariachi, Donnetta Lavinia Gray’s Last Night and the Night Before, Tanya Saracho’s FADE, Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride, Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale, Theresa Rebeck’s The Nest, Karen Zacarías’ Just Like Us, and Dick Scanlan’s reimagined version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
THE NEW PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS
Alma by Benjamin Benne | Reading
For Alma, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, and her 17-year-old daughter, Angel, a study session uncovers the dreams and despair over their future. As Alma quizzes Angel with vocabulary for the SATs, Angel tests Alma on American History for the citizenship exam. Feeling both an overwhelming excitement over the possibilities their tests can offer as well as the dread about the laws and loopholes stacked against them, they encourage each other to find hope in the uncertainty. But will the American Dream cost them a life together? Benjamin Benne’s touching family drama won the Arizona Theatre Company’s 2019 National Latinx Playwriting Award and American Blues Theater’s 2019 Blue Ink Playwriting Award.
Another Kind of Silence by L M Feldman | Reading
Balancing work, love and everything in between doesn’t come easily for two artistic couples living in Greece. Chap’s artwork lines the walls of her partner Ana’s café while Peter’s successful career as a composer overshadows his wife Evan’s struggle to write. When Evan and Chap spark an intimate friendship, the two couples and their four “shadow-souls” must confront the challenges of communication and the transformative nature of desire. A bilingual play unfurling simultaneously in English and American Sign Language, this breathtaking ensemble piece was a finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and received Honorable Mentions from both The Kilroys List and the FEWW Prize. L M Feldman’s play Grace, or the Art of Climbing premiered with the DCPA Theatre Company in 2013.
Hotter than Egypt by Yussef El Guindi | Reading
No matter where you live, the ups and downs of married life are universal. For a middle-aged American couple traveling to Egypt on a business trip-slash-vacation, their relationship is put to the test when an old connection leads to new temptation. Drawing from the political, cultural and religious realities of living in the region, this fiery drama set in the heat of Cairo pits loyalty against attraction as its characters grapple with the ever-changing realities of staying committed to their partners. Middle East American Distinguished Playwright Award winner Yussef El Guindi specializes “in cultural and geographical displacement, from alienated couples to the promises and frustrations of immigration, and the ways people maneuver through foreignness and belonging” (Seattle Times).
Reclaiming One Star by Suzan Shown Harjo & Mary Kathryn Nagle
DCPA Theatre Company Commission | Reading
The truth proves stranger than fiction in the story behind the racist name of the football franchise the Washington R*dsk*ns. Team owners have long maintained that the name honors Native Americans because it pays homage to an early coach, allegedly a “full-blooded Sioux.” But when Tony One Star sets out to uncover the facts behind his granduncle’s life and mysterious death, he shatters the myth behind the mascot. Equal parts detective thriller and courtroom drama, DCPA commissioned playwright/lawyer Mary Kathryn Nagle and 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner and policy advocate Suzan Shown Harjo’s new work draws from their experiences and real-life legal intrigue to give you an insider’s look at the multifaceted case, including perspectives of attorneys defending the team’s name and the people they want to keep quiet about the slur.
In Her Bones by Jessica Kahkoska | Reading
Colorado’s San Luis Valley is world-renowned for its beauty, but the area holds a deeper clandestine heritage: the legacy of Sephardic Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition five centuries ago. When Mia returns to the region for her grandmother’s funeral, she’s forced to confront a past that she is both fleeing and seeking out. As she looks back on family memories, another world creeps in — one of shadows, forgotten prayers, and secrets hiding right in plain sight. Unearth the complicated legacy of Crypto-Judaism in the Southwest through this unlikely alpine tale of faith, fear and how we pass on culture when written records are too dangerous to keep. Driven by a Colorado-based, oral history research process, Jessica Kahkoska’s play received the 2019 Powered by Off-Center Residency at the DCPA.
twenty50 by Tony Meneses
Directed by Henry Godinez
DCPA Theatre Company Commission | Developed at the 2019 Colorado New Play Summit
Andres Salazar is running for office. By the year 2050, Latinx people have been assimilated into the majority of the United States, but race issues are far from resolved. In this tricky political environment, Andres must decide whether identifying himself as a Mexican American will help or hinder him on Election Day, and whether losing some of his own identity is worth the potential social benefits. When a mysterious stranger appears at their house, Andres’ family rallies around him to save his imperiled campaign in this insightful drama from rising playwright Tony Meneses, “a distinctive voice worthy of attention” (New Jersey Star Ledger).
On the brink of our upcoming presidential election, this suspenseful thriller peels back the façade of campaign-trail craziness to reveal how power and shifting identity blur our truths with those of the greater whole.
You Lost Me by Bonnie Metzgar
Directed by Margot Bordelon
World Premiere | Developed at the 2019 Colorado New Play Summit
In 1828, 17-year-old Ann Harvey saved 160 Irish people from a wreck off of Newfoundland’s Shipwreck Coast, making her an instant hero. Almost 200 years later, the Harvey family homestead has become the Shipwreck Inn, where present-day proprietress Ann Harvey attempts to leave her own mark (and get some new customers) with a tourist blog. Her nephew Joe-L, on the other hand, would do anything to leave his hometown and start a new life somewhere else.
Freely flow through time as unexpected guests and echoes of the past leave their indelible mark on the people that hold vigil along their remote and rocky shore. A memory house for all those lost at sea, this Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Festival finalist is a poetic, wistful and bright new drama that reminds us that every moment holds the opportunity to change everything.
The 15thAnnual Colorado New Play Summit
Launch Weekend: February 15-16, 2020
Festival Weekend: February 21-23, 2020
All-inclusive Festival Weekend packages including 5 play readings, 2 World Premieres, plus meals and special events are on sale now. Launch Weekend events and ÀLa Carte packages will go on sale in January 2020.