• Photos: Opening Night of 'FADE'

    by John Moore | Feb 13, 2016
    FADE in Denver

    Photos from the DCPA Theatre Company's world-premiere performance of FADE, on Feb. 12. To see more photos, click the forward button on the image above. All photos may be downloaded for free directly from the Flickr album above.

    Fade Opening Night. Photo by John Moore. Our gallery includes photos backstage before the show, and from the celebration after the performance. One portion of the album includes photos from Club Denver, which serves at the lobby of the Ricketson Theatre. It was transformed to look like an actual TV writers' room on a Hollywood lot to give audience members a feel for the world of the play before they went inside the theatre.

    In Tanya Saracho's new play FADE, the Mexican-born Lucia is hired to write for a Latina TV character in a cutthroat Hollywood TV studio. She soon discovers that the Latino studio custodian, Abel, has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows, his stories start to blur with hers, with unexpected consequences. 'FADE' is directed by Jerry Ruiz and features Mariana Fernández as Lucia and Eddie Martinez as Abel.

    FADE plays through March 13 in the Ricketson Theatre. More information below.

    Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. (Pictured above, from left: Director Jerry Ruiz, Eddie Martinez, Tanya Saracho and Mariana Fernández. Below: Eddie Martinez has his Marines tattoo applied backstage before the show with the help of the DCPA's Lisa Parsons.)

    FADE. Eddie Martinez. Photo by John Moore.  




    Video: Your first look at FADE:


    Video by David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    FADE: Ticket information

  • By Tanya Saracho
  • Through March 13
  • Ricketson Theatre
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • TTY: 303-893-9582
  • Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
  • Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at DenverCenter.Org.

  • Previous NewsCenter coverage of FADE:
     
    FADE production photos:


    FADEPhotos by Adams Visual Communications.
  • 'FADE': You've never seen a woman like Lucia onstage before

    by John Moore | Jan 13, 2016
    FADE in Denver
    Photos from the first rehearsal of 'FADE' on Jan. 8. To see more photos, click the 'forward' arrow. Photos by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.


    FADE is a new play written by a Mexican-born playwright who acknowledges the first tentative step many U.S. businesses take toward employment equality is the token diversity hire.

    FADE takes place in a Hollywood TV studio, where the lead character, Lucia, is out of her element. “This is a practice that has gone on - and is still going on - in the TV and film industries, as well as our own (theatre) industry," said DCPA Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson, "where many times a person - whether a writer, actor, director - is the token diverse person brought into a creative situation.”

    Jerry Ruiz QuoteBy focusing on a Latina TV writer and her friendship with a third-generation American Chicano who works as her custodian, “FADE really is a play that reveals the complexity that we all know exists within the Hispanic/Latino/Chicano community, but is rarely revealed on our main stages,” Thompson said at Monday’s first rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company’s world premiere that starts performances on Feb. 5. “You have two really interesting characters here who come from completely different backgrounds.”

    What’s also very different about FADE, director Jerry Ruiz says, is the storyteller. Playwright Tanya Saracho is native of Los Mochis, Mexico, and a Boston University alum who describes herself as “an Americanized, acculturated Mexican citizen with a green card.” Lucia is based somewhat on her experiences as a first-time TV writer.

    “There is no playwright on the American theatre scene that is doing what Tanya is doing,” Ruiz said. “Yes, she is very funny, and very provocative, but there are really serious ideas at the heart of all of her plays. She really tackles class distinctions and class differences within this nebulous Latino population that we always hear about. But she really sheds light on just how varied and diverse that set of people is.

    “I think she is an incredibly unique and important voice in the American theatre.”

    In the play, Lucia is an immigrant, but she is clearly a woman of means. Whereas the janitor, in a very not metaphorical way – cleans her trash. Lucia has been brought in to write specifically for the TV show’s token Latina TV character, because none of the white male writers have a clue what makes the character tick. And it turns out, the custodian may have a better understanding of that than Lucia does.

    “What I love about this play is that it is a story about privilege - and who has it; power - and who has it," Ruiz said. "That's really why this story is so ‘of our moment.’ This idea of who gets to tell this story, and how is it told? It's the story of appropriation. It's about how the experience of a working-class military man who is Mexican-American gets re-shaped."

    This is simply a character, the director said, theatre audiences have not seen onstage before.

    “Tanya writes such complex female characters,” Ruiz said. “I think Lucia has had a lot of privilege in her life. She probably comes from money. She is someone who has navigated the world. She has a good education, she looks a certain way. But she is powerless within the hierarchy of the television show. To me, the turning point in the play is when she suddenly realizes, ‘Oh my gosh, I have no power right now. That's what this terrible feeling is. They just see me as a translator - as one of “them.” ’ So then the question becomes - what is she willing to do?”

    Saracho believes it’s not important how she – or Lucia – found their way into the writers’ room. It’s more important that they earned their way into their next jobs. “I am grateful that they were aware enough to know that our voice was missing,” Saracho said. "In time, hopefully these (diversity) programs will be gone, because we will have redefined the mainstream - and we will not be 'otherized' this way.

    “I say just let us into the castle. We'll do something while we're in there.”


    'FADE' features Eddie Martinez and Mariana Fernández. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter. 


    FADE: Ticket information
    tanya-saracho
  • By Tanya Saracho
  • Feb. 5-March 13
  • Ricketson Theatre
  • In this  true-to-life new comedy, Mexican-American Lucia is hired to write for a Latina TV character in a cutthroat Hollywood TV studio. She soon discovers that the Latino studio custodian, Abel, has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows, his stories start to blur with hers with unexpected consequences. FADE is a standout new play from Tanya Saracho, whose writing “lands in that sweet spot between comedy and drama” (Chicago Tribune).
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • TTY: 303-893-9582
  • Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
  • Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at DenverCenter.Org.

  • Mariana Fernández of 'FADE.' Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.
  • Saracho on the color of TV: 'We look like the future'

    by John Moore | Jan 11, 2016

    Tanya Saracho
    From left: 'FADE' playwright Tanya Saracho, actors Eddie Martinez and Mariana Fernández, and director Jerry Ruiz.


    Writer Tanya Saracho works in a magical place called ShondaLand where there are unicorns literally running down the hallways.

    OK, maybe not so much unicorns … literally. But compared to the rest of a television landscape that remains dominated by white male writers, Saracho is living out a fantasy that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

    how-to-get-away-with-murder-season-2Saracho, whose play FADE will begin performances in its world premiere staging at the Denver Center’s Ricketson Theatre on Feb. 5, is moonlighting as a staff writer on the hit ABC series How to Get Away with Murder (pictured right). 

    Veteran TV writer and playwright Theresa Rebeck, whose new play The Nest will debut on the stage right next to FADE, recently told the DCPA NewsCenter: “I am tired of (TV) being a boys club where I am the only woman around.”

    Saracho, on the other hand, is writing for a TV show with nine writers, five of whom are women, “and we're all of color,” she says. “So we’re the majority in that room. Everyone’s queer or of color or whatever and we look like … everything.

    “We look like the future.”

    Tanya Saracho quoteShondaLand is the name of the production company founded by African-American producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal). But Saracho is the first to admit that ShondaLand is not Hollywoodland. Yet.

    “It’s different because this show has a female lead of color (Viola Davis) who is really problematic and complicated and beautiful and ugly at the same time,” said Saracho. “I feel you can only fully write that character if you have a shorthand in the writers’ room. Where if she does a little twist with her hair, then you already know that has social and cultural connotations.”

    Saracho previously wrote for HBO’s Looking and Girls. Her life changed when she wrote a full episode of Looking that aired last February. She realizes that more people saw that one episode of television than will likely see all of her stage plays combined over her lifetime.

    “I realized the power of TV when I wrote that episode,” she said. “I wrote this line that was something like, ‘White guys are the worst - they think they own everything.’ Well, that got people talking. All these memes showed up on social media, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute. I've been doing all this political theatre from the beginning of my career and no one has ever made a meme out of it.’ But it’s crazy the reach that television has.”

    Saracho sees positive change everywhere. Davis became the first black woman to win the Emmy for leading actress in a TV drama. On Sunday, Taraji Henson won the Golden Globe in that same category for Empire. “All these things are happening, and it’s exciting,” Saracho said.

    Such was not the case when Saracho started writing FADE, which was partly inspired by her experiences working her first TV job. She is the first to tell you she was an untrained quota hire.

    FADE is about a first-time TV writer named Lucia who doesn’t know what she is doing,” Saracho said. When Lucia discovers that the studio custodian, Abel, has a more credible understanding of the fictional star character she is supposed to be writing for than she does, she begins incorporating his insights into her scripts. Lucia’s professional stardom rises, but soon she must grapple with the possibility that she has become part of the problem she came to the studio to help solve. 

    Saracho’s play was featured at the last Colorado New Play Summit, when the story was still a developing idea. In the year since, she says, she has leaned more into the tougher consequences of her story – specifically the issue of betrayal.

    “I was kind of shying away from that and making excuses for her,” she said. "But then we did a workshop and now I feel like, yes, let this be an ugly act of true betrayal.”

    She is essentially forcing herself to do what she is challenging audiences to do – and that is to look again at our preconceptions and prejudices about immigration.

    “I've been obsessed with trapping class in my plays since the beginning, especially when it comes to a Mexican point of view,” said Saracho, who, like her fictional lead character, was born in Mexico and describes herself as “an Americanized, acculturated Mexican citizen with a green card.” When you consider that the lowly Abel is a third-generation Chicano, the culture clash between the two characters is bound to get necessarily messy.

    “I know that a lot of people in this country think of a Mexican immigrant in only one way,” Saracho said. “I like to flip that around. So here the woman has money and status and yet, she is the Mexican immigrant. And if you think the janitor looks and feels more like what you think an immigrant is, well, no: He’s a full-blooded American.

    “I would love for people to think about immigration in a more complicated way. Not so much the politics of it but more: Do you really understand your neighbor to the south? Do you really understand the class system and the pathways to getting here and staying here?”

    And when FADE opens and Saracho returns to ShondaLand, she will do so knowing that TV writer rooms still look a lot more like they do in FADE than they do at How to Get Away with Murder.

    “No, we can't say that it’s all better just because of this one room," she said. “The lack of agency and opportunity in television is real - and it is true.”


    FADE 
    tanya-saracho

  • By Tanya Saracho
  • Feb. 5-March 13
  • Ricketson Theatre
  • In this  true-to-life new comedy, Mexican-American Lucia is hired to write for a Latina TV character in a cutthroat Hollywood TV studio. She soon discovers that the Latino studio custodian, Abel, has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows, his stories start to blur with hers with unexpected consequences. FADE is a standout new play from Tanya Saracho, whose writing “lands in that sweet spot between comedy and drama” (Chicago Tribune).
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • TTY: 303-893-9582
  • Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
  • Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at DenverCenter.Org.
  • Cast lists: Theatre Company's 'The Nest,' 'FADE'

    by John Moore | Dec 30, 2015
    Theresa Rebeck quoteBy Hope Grandon
    For The DCPA NewsCenter

    The DCPA Theatre Company has announced full casting and creative teams for the upcoming world-premiere productions of Theresa Rebeck’s The Nest and Tanya Saracho’s FADE. (Photo at right: Theresa Rebeck).

    Both productions are Theatre Company commissions made possible by the Women’s Voices Fund and were developed at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit.

    The Women’s Voices Fund is a $1 million endowment that specifically supports new plays by women and the hiring of female directors. The fund has allowed the Theatre Company to produce 26 plays by women, commission 16 female playwrights and hire 20 female directors since 2006.

    “We are honored to have two powerhouse female playwrights bringing world premieres to life at the same time,” said Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson. “Tanya Saracho is a funny, gifted, rising writer who is intensely aware of the layers and complexities in Hispanic culture. Theresa Rebeck is undeniably one of the most foremost female playwrights in the country and The Nest contains the best first scene of a play that I’ve read in years.”

    The Nest, directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, will feature Kevin Berntson as Ned, Brian D. Coats as Barry, Brian Dykstra as Patrick, Laura Latreille as Lila, Victoria Mack as Sam, David Mason as Nick, Carly Street as Margo and Andrea Syglowski as Irene.

    The creative team is made up of Lisa Orzolek (Scenic Designer), Angela Balogh Calin (Costume Designer), Grant W. S. Yeager (Lighting Designer), and Craig Breitenbach (Sound Designer).

    Saracho’s FADE, directed by Jerry Ruiz, will feature Mariana Fernández as Lucia and Eddie Martinez, who recently appeared in the Theatre Company’s production of As You Like It, as Abel.

    The creative team includes Timothy R. Mackabee (Scenic Designer), Meghan Anderson Doyle (Costume Designer), Richard Devin (Lighting Designer) and Tyler Nelson (Sound Designer).

    Over the past decade, the Colorado Summit has introduced 40 new plays, more than half of which returned to the stage as full DCPA Theatre Company productions. Recent Summit world premieres include Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale, Eric Schmidel’s adaptation of Kent Haruf’s Benediction, Marcus Gardley’s black odyssey, Karen Zacarias’s Just Like Us and Dick Scanlan’s reimagined version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

    The Nest
    theresa-rebeck
  • By Theresa Rebeck
  • Jan. 22-Feb. 21
  • Space Theatre
  • When you have a seat at the bar called The Nest, no conversation is off-limits, whether you’re speaking or eavesdropping. That is, until a stranger walks in with a lucrative proposition. Pulitzer Prize finalist Theresa Rebeck’s plays “may make you laugh or shudder (or both)” according to American Theatre, and with its feisty humor and scorching dialogue, this explosive new comedy holds a cracked mirror up to friendships, romantic relationships and families.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • FADE 
    tanya-saracho
  • By Tanya Saracho
  • Feb. 5-March 13
  • Ricketson Theatre
  • In this sharp, true-to-life new comedy, Mexican-American Lucia is hired to write for a Latina TV character in a cutthroat Hollywood TV studio. She soon discovers that the Latino studio custodian, Abel, has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows, his stories start to blur with hers with unexpected consequences. FADE is a standout new play from Tanya Saracho, whose writing “lands in that sweet spot between comedy and drama” (Chicago Tribune).
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

  • Additional ticket information:

  • TTY: 303-893-9582
  • Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
  • Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at DenverCenter.Org.

  • 2016 Colorado New Play Summit
  • Launch Weekend Feb. 13-14
  • Festival Weekend Feb. 19-21
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or go to the Summit home page
  • Photos: Opening night of 'As You Like It'

    by John Moore | Oct 05, 2015


    Photos from before and after the opening night performance of the DCPA Theatre Company's As You Like It, in The Space Theatre.

    It was a bittersweet evening at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, as the death of DCPA founder Donald R. Seawell was marked before the start of all shows with remarks and a round of applause. Seawell was the first producer to bring the Royal Shakespeare Company to America.

    As You Like It was followed by a traditional cast celebration in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Performances run through Nov. 1.

    Photos by John Moore for the DCPA's NewsCenter. To download any photo for free, click on "View original Flickr image."

    Montage of scenes by Video Producer David Lenk.


    As You Like It:
    Ticket information

  • Performances through Nov. 1
  • Presented by the DCPA Theatre Company
  • Space Theatre
  • 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • TTY: 303-893-9582
  • Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
  • Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at Denvercenter.org.

  • Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the only authorized online ticket provider for 'As You Like It.'

    'Meet the Cast' profiles (more to come):
    J. Paul Boehmer, the Dukes
    Drew Horwitz, William and others
    Maurice Jones, Orlando
    Geoffrey Kent, Actor, Assistant Director and Fight Director
    Emily Kron, Phoebe
    Nick LaMedica, Sylvius
    Matt Zambrano, Touchstone

    Previous NewsCenter coverage of As You Like It:
    ShakesCheer video: The Bard meets the Broncos' cheerleaders
    Perspectives: 5 things we learned about As You Like It
    Kent Thompson and the Four Loves of As You Like It
    As You Like It opens: A woman's woman in a man's world
    As You Like It begins rehearsals: 'Literally, watch it bloom'
    Costume corner: Letting it all go in the Arden Forest
    Shakespeare's largest female role might surprise you: It's Rosalind
    Casting announced for Theatre Company's fall shows
    DCPA Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16
    Official show page

    Opening night of the DCPA Theatre Company's 'As You Like It.' Photo by John Moore.
    Opening night of the DCPA Theatre Company's 'As You Like It.' Photo by John Moore.
  • 2015 Summit Spotlight video: Tanya Saracho's ‘Fade'

    by John Moore | Feb 21, 2015


    Fade, by Tanya Saracho, is about Mexican-born Lucia, who is hired as a novice to write for a Latina character on an L.A.-based TV series. The play is based on Saracho's own experiences writing for the TV shows Devious Maids, Girls and Looking. "Listen: I got into television because I was a diversity hire,' she says bluntly. "I don't care why I got in there. I just needed an in, because we need to be in there."

    In Fade, the  character of Lucia soon discovers that the film studio's Chicano studio custodian has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows and she begins incorporating his insights into her scripts, Lucia’s professional stardom starts to rise, but her personal life only becomes more and more compromised. The cast includes Alejandra Escalante, Eddie Martinez and Amy Luna. The director is Jerry Ruiz.

    Of working at the DCPA on this featured Colorado New Play Summit reading, Saracho adds: "The support of everyone is really amazing because they are just trying to get your play born. So it's like everyone is a midwife." 

    Video by John Moore and David Lenk.

    For all of our Summit coverage, click here to go to our NewsCenter.

    THE SUMMIT SPOTLIGHT VIDEO SERIES: (to date):
    Part 1: The Nest, by Theresa Rebeck
    Part 2: The There There, by Jason Gray Platt
    Part 3: Holy Laughter, by Catherine Trieschmann
    Part 4: Fade, by Tanya Saracho (today)

    MORE COVERAGE FROM THE 2015 COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT:

    Photos: Week 1 of the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
    Matthew Lopez's 2015 Summit Soliloquy video
    Primer: Your guide to the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit
    Summit cast lists: Familiar names and new names
    Playwrights named for inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
    2015 Summit to introduce inaugural Local Playwrights Slam
    Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends; playwrights announced

    Alejandra Escalante and Eddie Martinez in 'Fade.' Photo by John Moore. Alejandra Escalante and Eddie Martinez in 'Fade' rehearsal. Photo by John Moore.

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    ABOUT THE EDITOR
    John Moore
    John Moore
    Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

    DCPA is the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. We think of theatre as a spark of life — a special occasion that’s exciting, powerful and fun. Join us today and we promise an experience you won't soon forget.