Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends; playwrights announced

2015 lineup includes works by Theresa Rebeck, Tanya Saracho, Catherine Trieschmann and Jason Gray Platt.

The scene from the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by John Moore.

To mark its 10th anniversary, the Theatre Company at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is expanding its signature Colorado New Play Summit to two weekends, it was announced today.

CNPS_2014_CatherineThe 2015 lineup of readings for February’s gathering will include new works by Theresa Rebeck, Tanya Saracho, Catherine Trieschmann (pictured at right with Iris Goodwin) and Jason Gray Platt. 

The expanded Summit will include interactive programming for the first time, including workshops by Denver Center Playwriting Fellow Matthew Lopez (The Legend of Georgia McBride, The Whipping Man), a Playwriting Boot Camp with Paula Vogel (How I Learned To Drive), readings of the DCPA Education’s statewide High School Playwriting Competition finalists and the addition of a second, all-local Playwrights’ Slam.

Three of the four featured playwrights were commissioned by the DCPA’s Women’s Voices Fund, an endowment that supports the development of new plays by women. Just last week, the Women’s Voices Fund endowment surpassed the $1 million mark for the first time.

The 2015 Colorado New Play Summit will take place over the weekends of Feb. 14-15 and 21 and 22. For more information and to order tickets, click here.

As both the national industry and the theatre public gather for the Summit, the Theatre Company will be fully staging two world premiere plays as part of its 2014-15 season: Appoggiatura, by three-time Pulitzer finalist James Still, and Benediction, the completion of celebrated author Kant Haruf’s Colorado plains trilogy, adapted for the stage by Eric Schmiedl. Both plays were read at the 2014 Summit and then selected for full production

“We’re celebrating 10 years of new plays with two weekends full of exciting, new programming, including two world premiere productions,” said Bruce Sevy, the Theatre Company’s Associate Artistic Director and Director of New Play Development. “Most important, this expansion gives us the opportunity to provide our participating playwrights with two full weeks to work on their plays with directors, actors and dramaturgs. This development time is extremely vital to the new-play process, and we are honored to be one of the few theatres in the nation that can provide this level of creative support for these artists.”

Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson said it is no coincidence that three female playwrights were chosen at a time when the DCPA’s ongoing commitment to women’s voices is hitting an important milestone.

 “The continued support of the Women’s Voices Fund allows us to invest in the future of women in the American theatre,” said Thompson. “In our current season alone, the endowment allowed us to hire two of the finest female directors in the nation, Kathleen Marshall (Molly Brown) and Jenn Thompson (Vanya and Masha and Sonia and Spike), and to continue our tradition of commissioning leading female playwrights.”

To date, the Women’s Voices Fund has enabled the Theatre Company to produce 24 plays by women (including nine world premieres), commission 14 female playwrights and hire 19 female directors.

Over the past decade, the Summit has introduced 40 new plays, more than half of which returned to the stage as full Theatre Company productions. Recent Summit World Premieres include Jason Grote’s 1001, Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale, Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride, Catherine Trieschmann’s The Most Deserving, Marcus Gardley’s black odyssey, Karen Zacarias’s Just Like Us, Jeffrey Haddow and Neal Hampton’s Sense and Sensibility The Musical, and Dick Scanlan’s reimagined version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.


“The Legend of Georgia McBride” as it looked at the 2013 Colorado New Play Summit, above, and as it was fully presented on the mainstage last year. (Production photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen)


The There There by Jason Gray Platt
One couple traverses a lifetime in a single sitting in Jason Gray Platt’s expansive, stirring new play, The There There. From their first touch in the present day through the next forty-five years, the dynamics of their relationship fluctuate as quickly as the latest twists of technology. Packing an entire life into six potent scenes, Platt’s masterful dialogue probes the heart and questions what it means to hang on to humanity as the 21st century advances.

The Crown by Theresa Rebeck
A Theatre Company Commission

For the small-town regulars at The Crown, life is an endless series of jokes and over-the-top conversations that liven up the neighborhood watering hole… until a well-heeled woman walks in and tries to buy the beautiful antique bar. With quirky humor and quick wit, The Crown is a standout new comedy from Pulitzer Prize finalist Theresa Rebeck.

 A new comedy by Tanya Saracho (untitled)
A Theatre Company commission

Mexican-born Lucia is hired to write for a Latina character on an L.A.-based TV series. She soon discovers that Abel, the Chicano studio custodian, hais a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows and she begins incorporating Abel’s insights into her scripts, Lucia’s professional stardom starts to rise, but her personal life only becomes more and more complicated. A smartly-drawn Hollywood insider comedy from Tanya Saracho, recently named Best New Playwright by Chicago Magazine. 


Holy Laughter by Catherine Trieschmann
A Theatre Company commission

An Episcopal priest finds that the reality of leading a church is radically and hilariously different than what she learned in seminary. As she wrestles with church finances, eccentric parishioners, changing sexual mores and her own doubting human heart, Abigail struggles to make peace with the realities of contemporary church life. Hymns, liturgical dance and a wicked tongue lift Catherine Trieschmann’s antic portrait of a small, struggling congregation to comic heights.


This is a list of playwrights whose new works are in various stages of development through the DCPA Theatre Company’s  development program:
Eric Schmiedl
Regina Taylor
Paula Vogel
Robert Schenkkan
Theresa Rebeck (in Summit)
Tanya Saracho (in Summit)
Catherine Trieschmann (in Summit)
Kimber Lee
Mat Smart
Jose Cruz Gonzalez
Lauren Gunderson

Talking “Appoggiatura” with Director Risa Brainin and James Still. the 2014 Summit reading premieres as a mainstage offering in January.

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