Playwrights Announced for the 17th Annual Colorado New Play Summit

The DCPA Theatre Company is proud to announce playwrights, dates, and details for the 2023 Colorado New Play Summit. The 17th annual festival will take place over one weekend on February 25-26, and feature readings of new plays by Jake Brasch, Vincent Terrell Durham, Christina Pumariega, and Sandy Rustin. The festival will also feature Laughs in Spanish by Alexis Scheer and Hotter Than Egypt by Yussef El Guindi.

“The Colorado New Play Summit is an exciting time for Denver and the theatre community. The Summit welcomes artists into our spaces and allows audiences to get a front row seat into the development process,” said Chris Coleman, Artistic Director of the DCPA Theatre Company. “I am thrilled that we will have the opportunity to witness some of the nation’s most exciting playwrights, and step into the world of these stories.”

Hailed as a “must-see stop for new-play development” by American Theatre, the Colorado New Play Summit is the DCPA’s signature festival dedicated to supporting playwrights and developing new work. Participating playwrights are given rehearsal time with professional directors, actors, and dramaturgs to workshop the 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 Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale—feature film starring Brendan Fraser premiering in 2022, Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride, Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will, Beaufield Berry’s In the Upper Room, José Cruz González’s American MariachiNeyla Pekarek and Karen Hartman’s Rattlesnake Kate, Tanya Saracho’s FADE, 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

the reservoir by Jake Brasch | Reading
Directed by Shelley Butler

Josh is on medical leave from NYU. He’s come home to Denver to get his life together but can’t manage to stay sober. Struggling with fogginess, memory loss, shame, and regret, he finds unlikely allies in his four hilarious grandparents.

Desperate for camaraderie, Josh resolves to bring his grandparents along with him on the road to recovery. He overwhelms them with crossword puzzles. He drags them to Jazzercise class. He forces them to eat spinach by the handful. Eventually, he slams up against the limits of his conquest. When he can no longer help his grandparents, they begin to help him.


Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids by Vincent Terrell Durham | Reading
Directed by Jamil Jude

Peter and Molly Castle, a well-to-do white couple, are hosting a cocktail party in their freshly renovated Harlem brownstone. The first guest to arrive is Shameka Davis, the intellectual owner of the Frederick Douglas bookstore. Then, Jaquan Wallace, an activist in the BLM movement and his partner Tom, an outspoken white man, enter the fray. They discuss Black art, cuisine, and music. They debate terminology and language. Tensions rise, but they are tempered with friendly banter and soul food-themed hors d’oeuvres.

The mood takes a dramatic turn upon the arrival of the fourth guest, Rita Dupree, mother of a 12-year-old Black boy slain by police weeks earlier. The political divide between races and classes suddenly becomes a personal matter.

Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids uses pointed, playful dialogue to facilitate frank discussions. It’s intense and undoubtedly funny — and each punchline is laced with a brutal honesty that will leave audiences questioning their own biases.


Joan Dark by Christina Pumariega | Reading
Directed by Zoë Golub-Sass

Joan Dark traces the story of a Latina who dreams of becoming a Catholic priest. Thanks to a brand-new pilot program, Joan Ruiz is suddenly allowed to serve as a deacon in impoverished Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Hungry to make a difference in her new community through good works, Joan soon undermines the establishment at St. Vincent’s, run with sobering scrutiny by Father Sheehan. But like her saintly idol, Joan is determined to serve…

On a quest forged by secrets, sin and everyday magic, Joan fights to save a town neglected by our times. In this polarized country, can we find Faith again after we’ve lost it? Joan Ruiz is about to find out.


The Suffragette’s Murder by Sandy Rustin | Reading

It’s the morning of July 5, 1857, and the tenants of Mayhew’s Boarding House on New York’s Lower East Side are getting ready for a busy day. They’re an odd bunch, given their surroundings. Among them are a mute, an Irishman, a gay Black man, two Southern Belles, and the Mayhews themselves — a husband and wife team committed to advancing the women’s suffrage movement. As they prepare to host an important gathering, they receive an unexpected visit from a constable. One of the tenants has been murdered.

Hilarious hijinks ensue, amidst the backdrop of a murder mystery, as the tenants band together to conceal their involvement in the suffrage movement and improvise an elaborate rouse to throw the constable off their scent. The investigation, however, reveals much more than murder motives and rabble-rousing. It becomes an examination of human rights, the struggle to define “a woman’s place,” and political systems that have historically sought to snuff out feminist voices.


Laughs in Spanish by Alexis Scheer
Directed by Lisa Portes
World Premiere

A joyous, downright hilarious snapshot of Cuban and Colombian-American culture set in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood arts district

Art Basel is about to begin and Mariana, the director of a swanky modern art gallery, has a serious problem on her hands. Her showroom is an active crime scene. Part crime-comedy, part telenovela, and 100% chistoso, the play centers on Mariana and her impromptu support system, including her intern Carolina, a young police officer named Juan, and her mother Estella, a larger-than-life film and television star who insists on saving the show.

Stylish and vibrant, this world premiere play offers a light-hearted look at the struggles many Latinas go through to gain entry into cultural and artistic spaces that have historically excluded them. It examines Latinx representation in the media, the fears and uncertainties of adulthood, art as an industry, love, and family. And through it all, you won’t stop laughing — or dancing — in your seat!

Join the party, embrace life’s twists and turns, and mark your calendar for this uproarious new comedy.


Hotter Than Egypt by Yussef El Guindi
Directed by Chris Coleman
Reading at the 2020 Colorado New Play Summit

Hailed as an audience favorite at the 2020 Colorado New Play Summit, Hotter Than Egypt is the captivating tale of an American couple’s own personal revolutions.

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. As the eager tourists strive to connect with Egyptian culture in an authentic way, they end up getting more than they bargained for as long-dormant marital issues begin to percolate. Drawing from the political, cultural, and religious realities of living in the region, this quick-witted dramedy set in the heat of Cairo pits loyalty against attraction as its characters grapple with the ever-changing struggle 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).


The 17th Annual Colorado New Play Summit
February 25-26, 2023

À La Carte packages, all-inclusive weekend packages including 4 play readings, 2 world premieres, plus meals, and special events are on pre-sale to DCPA Subscribers beginning December 2 and on public sale December 9.

Details and packages available at: http://www.denvercenter.org/events/colorado-new-play-summit