DCPA Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16

by John Moore | Mar 13, 2015
Lookingglass Alice"Lookingglass Alice" as presented in Chicago.


The DCPA Theatre Company’s 37th season will mark a groundbreaking musical collaboration with a beloved local rock band, and a much-requested return to Shakespeare. And not just any Shakespeare: It’s a title the Theatre Company has never performed in its history (As You Like It).

DeVotchKaFor the fourth straight year, the season will end with a massive musical undertaking. Not only will the Theatre Company stage Stephen Sondheim’s epic masterpiece Sweeney Todd, the DCPA has received permission from the author to allow the Denver band DeVotchKa to adapt the score for what promises to be a cutting-edge new interpretation.

"When we heard what show we are talking about, we definitely wanted to be a part of it," said DeVotchKa frontman Nick Urata, whose music is described as "mariachi gypsy punk."

"We’ve just been dancing around the issue for the past couple of months trying to clear out our schedules, and so it only became a reality in the last couple of days. It's all pretty fresh."

The Theatre Company's new slate affords another usual collaboration, this one with Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre. Somewhat in the vein of Traces’ visit in 2011, Lookingglass debuted as a company with its magical reimagining of Alice in Wonderland that employed trapeze and other circus aerial effects. Lookingglass has toured this signature work ever since, but the production in Denver will a completely new staging performed on a completely reconfigured Stage Theatre.

Kent Thompson. Photo by John Moore. The season lineup also reinforces the DCPA’s commitment to both new plays and women’s playwrights with the selection of two world-premiere comedies by women – both commissioned by the Theatre Company and featured in last month’s Colorado New Play Summit: Theresa Rebeck’s The Nest and Tanya Saracho’s FADE.

And for the second straight season, the Theatre Company has slotted the most recent Tony Award-winning best play: The LBJ play All the Way. Before this year’s staging of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, the Theatre Company had not presented a Tony-winning best new play since Doubt in 2008 - and has only staged three since 2000.

“This coming season, we will challenge the boundaries in our theatrical spaces like never before to create incredible experiences for our patrons,” said Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson. “It will be a creative, emotionally charged and exhilarating eight months.”

For the second straight season, the Theatre Company has announced an eight-show season. That’s down from 10 in 2013-14. Last year, Thompson explained that the company was responding to financial considerations, artistic sustainability and audience feedback.

READ JOHN MOORE'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NICK URATA OF DEVOTCHKA

THE 2015-16 SEASON AT A GLANCE
:
Sept. 11-Oct 11: Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Lookingglass Alice, Stage Theatre
Sept. 25-Nov 1: As You Like It, Space Theatre
Oct. 9-Nov. 15: Tribes, Ricketson Theatre
Nov. 27-Dec 27: A Christmas Carol, Stage Theatre
Jan. 22-Feb. 21, 2016: The Nest, Space Theatre
Jan. 29-Feb 28, 2016: All The Way, Stage Theatre
Feb. 5-March 13, 206: FADE, Ricketson Theatre
April 8-May 15, 2016: Sweeney Todd, Stage Theatre

THE PLAYS IN GREATER DETAIL:




Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Lookingglass Alice

Sept. 11-Oct 11
Stage Theatre
Adapted and Directed by David Catlin from the works of Lewis Carroll
Produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium, Lookingglass Alice is a gravity-defying hit inspired by Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories. Called “Spectacular” and “pure, unadulterated magic” by the Chicago Sun-Times, Lookingglass Alice transports audiences to a circus-infused playground. It promises “breathtaking theatricality and wildly inventive acrobatics.”

Says Kent Thompson: “We are extremely excited to kick off our season by bringing the unique magic of Chicago’s Lookingglass Alice to Denver. This is a wildly inventive production that allows audiences of all ages to join Alice as she literally tumbles down the rabbit hole. And one of the very important things is we will be completely re-staging The Stage theatre for this production because there will be about 175 seats onstage looking through back performance area. We think it will be very popular with families, multi-generationals and theatre people.”

As You Like It
Sept. 25-Nov. 1
Space Theatre
By William Shakespeare
After falling under each other’s spell, the lovers Orlando and Rosalind are separately banished and become entangled in a beguiling game of mistaken identity when Rosalind disguises herself as a young man. Merry mischief, curiosity, and surprise flourish in one of Shakespeare’s richest and most popular comedies.

Kent Thompson: “I’m thrilled to bring Shakespeare back to the Theatre Company with one of the Bard’s most famous comedies. This is a piece I’ve had the pleasure of directing several times and that I’m continuously drawn back to. Rosalind is hands-down one of the most intelligent and appealing female roles in all of Shakespeare. As You Like It has four couples that get married at the end. We are sure that not all four will last, but they represent all forms of love, from love at first sight to love seen through the eyes of lust."

Tribes
Oct. 9-Nov. 15
Ricketson Theatre
By Nina Raine
In this drama, called “the best-written, deepest, most daring – and funniest – new play in recent years” by The Wall Street Journal, the members of Billy’s fiercely intelligent and proudly politically incorrect family share private languages, inside jokes and fiery arguments. But meeting Sylvia causes Billy, deaf since birth, to question what it means to be understood. Tribes dissects the possibilities of belonging, family and language.

Kent Thompson: “I was very drawn to Nina Raine’s writing. This is a really dark and almost surreal, sometimes absurdist story about a dysfunctional family who are incredibly literate and verbal. I think for an American audience, it will seem like they are vicious – and sometimes they are. They have raised their adult son as if he were hearing, and he’s become involved with a woman who is now losing her hearing. Having a central character who is deaf allows us to examine how we communicate, and how we don’t. I know that our multimedia team is ready to dive right in to the challenging production elements of this piece.”



A Christmas Carol

Nov. 27-Dec 27
Stage Theatre
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Richard Hellesen
Music by David de Berry
Returning for a 23rd staging, A Christmas Carol this opulent seasonal tradition traces Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations. (This staging is an added attraction and is not included in the subscription season package).

Kent Thompson: “This version of A Christmas Carol has everything. It’s full of humor, scariness, drama, spectacle and music. Most important, this version allows us to follow the full transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge and perhaps see a little of the change that happens in our own hearts.”


Note: The footage above is from rehearsal for the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. The full production is not yet cast.

The Nest
Jan. 22-Feb. 21, 2016
Space Theatre
By Theresa Rebeck
The middle-class regulars at a struggling bar called The Nest talk about everything you can imagine: Race, ethnicity, cultures and work struggles. No conversation is off-limits ... until a woman walks in and offers a large sum for the beautiful antique bar. With its feisty humor and scorching dialogue, this new battle of the sexes holds a cracked mirror up to friendships, romantic relationships and families. This world premiere is a DCPA commission.

Kent Thompson: “Theresa Rebeck has created a comedy that is both hilarious and acerbic. I can honestly say The Nest contains the best first scene of a play that I’ve read in 20 years. She is undeniably one of the more foremost female playwrights in the country, and we are excited to bring this commission to a fully staged premiere.”


Note: The footage above is from the Broadway production of "All the Way." The DCPA production is not yet cast.

All The Way

Jan. 29-Feb 28, 2016
Stage Theatre
By Robert Schenkkan
All The Way
, a “jaw-dropping political drama,” according to Variety, portrays Lyndon Baines Johnson as one of the most controversial, ambitious and ruthless figures of the 20th century. Set in the pivotal year between JFK’s assassination and Johnson’s election, LBJ hurls himself at the Civil Rights Act, determined to rebuild the country into "The Great Society" by any means necessary. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (The 12, The Kentucky Cycle), All The Way won the 2014 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics’ Circle awards for best new play.

Kent Thompson: “The story is centered in an incredible period of tragedy and change in American history that is still relevant today. We are excited to again feature Robert Schenkkan’s incredible work, and are honored to count him among our Denver Center commissioned playwrights.”

Note: The footage above is from rehearsal for the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit. The full production is not yet cast.

FADE
Feb. 5-March 13, 2016
Ricketson Theatre
By Tanya Saracho
In this sharp, world-premiere comedy, a one-time Mexican-American novelist named Lucia is hired to write for a popular weekly TV serial that features a Latina character. Lucia is out of her league but, as her friendship with the Latino studio custodian grows, she begins incorporating his very real stories into her scripts - and discovers a fast track to success with her bosses. But her choices come with personal consequences. This play is a Denver Center commission.

Kent Thompson: “Tanya Saracho is a funny, gifted, rising writer who is intensely aware of the layers and complexities in the Hispanic culture. FADE uses humor and some of Tanya’s own life experience as a writer in Hollywood to examine our assumptions about each other, and to reveal some of the fissures within the Latino community. At the same time: This is a really funny play.”




Sweeney Todd
April 8-May 15, 2016
Stage Theatre
By Stephen Sondheim
Based on an adaptation by Christopher Bond
Musical adaptations by DeVotchKa
DeVotchKa, the Grammy-nominated, Denver hometown music heroes, take on the legendary demon barber of Fleet Street, serving up a delicious reinvention of Sondheim’s magnificent musical thriller. Hell-bent on revenge, Sweeney Todd takes up with his enterprising neighbor in a devilish plot to slice their way through London’s upper crust. Justice will be served — along with audacious humor, bloody good thrills, and DeVotchKa’s lush brand of gypsy punk. Not only will DeVotchKa orchestrate this new version, members of the band will be among the live orchestra each night.

Kent Thompson: “Sweeney Todd is one of the great musical theatre pieces of all time. With Sondheim’s blessing, we’re thrilled to partner with Denver favorite DeVotchKa to create a new orchestral backdrop for this epic villain.”

READ JOHN MOORE'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NICK URATA OF DEVOTCHKA

Tickets and subscriptions
New and renewing subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Tickets are available to subscribers beginning Monday, March 16, online here,  or by calling 303-893-6030 or 303-893-4100. Subscribers are guaranteed the best seats at the best prices, guaranteed, along with additional benefits. Single tickets will go on sale to the general public in late summer.

2 comments

Leave a comment
  1. NewsCenter Staff | Aug 07, 2015
    Dennis: 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 14!
  2. Dennis Mateski | Mar 16, 2015

    When do individual tickets go on sale?

    Thanks

    Leave a comment

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    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.

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