Watching a play spring to life on stage might make you believe in magic. But before a story can sweep you off into another world, it takes a whole lot of humanity to make it possible. After coaxing an idea into a script, playwrights can rely on the eyes of dramaturgs, directors and other writers to guide and edit. But nothing compares to presenting a piece to a live audience, where the real-time reactions of theatre lovers elevate words into something more.
At the Colorado New Play Summit, it’s your time to shine as you meet some of theatre’s most ambitious writers while helping them fine-tune their newest works. Listen to play readings by fabulous actors and give your feedback on where you think the story should go, and enjoy fully-produced Theatre Company world premieres of Last Night and the Night Before (a featured reading at the 2017 Summit) and The Whistleblower by Tony Award winner Itamar Moses (The Band’s Visit). Plus, be a part of a special concert reading of Rattlesnake Kate, a concept-album-turned-musical by The Lumineers’ Neyla Pekarek and playwright Karen Hartman.
The inspiration doesn’t stop with the performances. Talk with the featured playwrights, directors, actors and other creatives about their plays over tasty meals and at special events like the Summit Party. It’s your chance to meet the brightest minds in the craft and play an integral part in the future of Colorado theatre.
Enjoy the first readings in a laid-back setting that’s perfect for local theatre lovers, students and first-timers.
• Be the first to hear the latest drafts of our featured new play readings
• Meet your next favorite Colorado playwright at the Local Playwrights’ Slam
The Launch Weekend schedule will be announced when packages and A La Carte tickets go on sale in early January 2019.
Sign up for an email alert when Launch Weekend goes on sale
Chock full of opportunities to connect and experience the next draft of the plays, this robust weekend is perfect for industry professionals, everyday theatre lovers, subscribers and students.
• Hear the refined readings of fully-workshopped plays
• Be among the first to see world premiere productions of two new plays
• Enjoy a one-night only concert performance of Rattlesnake Kate, a concept album-turned musical with music and lyrics by The Lumineers’ Neyla Pekarek and book by Karen Hartman
• Mingle with artists and industry leaders at meals, events and parties
• Discover up-and-coming talent at High School Playwriting Competition readings
Fri, Feb 22
11AM: Registration in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex Lobby
11:30AM: Lunch in the Seawell Ballroom
12:30PM: First new play readings
Orange Track: Ricketson Theatre
Blue Track: The Jones Theatre
4PM: Second new play readings
Blue Track: Ricketson Theatre
Orange Track: The Jones Theatre
6:30-7:30PM: Summit Dinner in the Seawell Ballroom
Meet the Berrys, a multi-generational black family living under one roof in the 1970s. Their lives orbit around Rose, the controlling matriarch who has indoctrinated fear into every member of the house while hiding dark secrets from her mysterious past. With the exception of her mild-mannered husband, Rose’s relatives try to assert themselves and break away from the core of chaos she has created. Colorism, loyalty, and twisted family dynamics are all at play in this dramatic dark comedy about the ties that bind and break us, from playwright, novelist, and activist Beaufield Berry-Fisher.
Beaufield Berry-Fisher is an Omaha-based playwright, novelist and arts education professional. Her work has been performed across the country and in multiple conferences. She has served as a guest artist with Inge Fest in Independence, Kansas as well as on several panels and boards, including Vice President of the Omaha Entertainment and Arts awards and as an educator with Omaha Performing Arts. She lives life with her husband Rob and their sons, Shine Avett and Oscar Moses.
By Isaac Gomez
It’s Christmas Eve and a group of Wally World employees are about to lose it. On the one day of the year the mega-department superstore is supposed to close its doors, secrets come to life that may destroy more than their holiday cheer. Their manager Andy is doing everything in her power to keep her store in line and her employees in check. But can hard truths from her past ruin everything she’s ever worked for? Inspired by his own mother’s experience and infused with his signature “poignant social commentary” (Chicago Reader), Isaac Gomez’s Wally World is a hysterical, touching examination of finding magic in the mundane as eleven employees do everything they can to find purpose in a place that has never seen purpose in them.
Isaac Gomez is a Chicago-based playwright originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His play La Ruta will be receiving its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company this fall. He is currently under commission from South Coast Repertory, the Goodman Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Theatre School at DePaul University, Writers Theater, Steep Theatre and StepUp Chicago Playwrights. He is the recipient of the 2018 Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson award, an inaugural 3Arts “Make A Wave” grantee, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an Artistic Associate with Victory Gardens Theater, among other honors and artistic affiliations.
You Lost Me
By Bonnie Metzgar
In 1824, 17-year-old Ann Harvey saves 160 Irish people from a wreck off of Newfoundland’s Shipwreck Coast, making her an instant hero along this remote and rocky shore. Almost 200 years later, the Harvey family homestead has become the Shipwreck Inn, and present-day proprietress Ann Harvey has just started a new blog for the landmark with the support and ridicule of her teenage nephew, Joe-L. A memory house for all those lost at sea, this Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Festival finalist is a poetic drama that maps the responsibility of the survivors to remember their past and to find their way home.
Bonnie Metzgar is a playwright, director, dramaturg and producer who specializes in creating socially-provocative theatre works. From 2008-2013, Metzgar served as Artistic Director of About Face Theatre in Chicago, the largest theatre in the US dedicated to advancing the cultural dialogue on sexuality, politics and gender identity. Metzgar is the recipient of a 2018 MacDowell Colony fellowship, the Carl Djerassi Fellowship in Playwriting at the University of Wisconsin, a 2013 NEA commission and she is a recent member of the Goodman Theatre’s resident Playwrights Unit. Her plays have been finalists for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Festival and selected for the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha.
By Tony Meneses
In the year 2050, Andres Salazar is running for office. By this time, Latinos have become the majority, but race issues are nowhere near resolved. In this tricky political environment, he must decide whether identifying himself as a Hispanic American will help or hinder him on Election Day. When a mysterious stranger appears at his house, his 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).
Tony Meneses was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and raised in Albuquerque/Dallas. His plays include Guadalupe in the Guest Room and The Women of Padilla, which both had world premieres at Two River Theater. He’s an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Ars Nova Play Group, Sundance Institute Playwrights Retreat at Ucross, Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship, Youngblood, and has been previously developed at the LARK Playwrights’ Week and the Berkeley Rep Ground Floor. He’s a two-time recipient of the Kennedy Center Latinx Playwriting Award, is published by Dramatists Play Service, and is currently under commission from the Denver Center and Two River Theater. Education: UT Austin, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Juilliard.
Music and lyrics by Neyla Pekarek
Book by Karen Hartman
Around 100 years ago near Greeley, Colorado, Kate Slaughterback came upon a migration of rattlesnakes while on her horse with her young son. To protect her child and herself, she shot as many snakes as she could with the ammo at hand and decapitated the rest of them with a no-trespassing sign. Neyla Pekarek (cellist and vocalist of folk-rock band The Lumineers) has woven Kate’s biography — including six husbands and one decades-long romance through letters — into an enthralling song cycle. Playwright Karen Hartman joins forces with Pekarek to transform this material into a fully-fleshed musical that delivers Western lore through a modern lens. Join us for this one-night-only event during the Festival Weekend featuring a performance accompanied by a live band.
Neyla Pekarek began playing cello at age 9 in her native city of Denver, Colorado. She studied Musical Theatre and earned a degree in Music Education at UNC in Greeley, CO. In 2010, she joined the Denver folk-rock group The Lumineers as a cellist and vocalist, playing on their GRAMMY-nominated self-titled debut and follow-up albums, selling out Madison Square Garden, and touring with U2.
Karen Hartman‘s Good Faith premieres at Yale Repertory Theater in 2019, directed by Kenny Leon. Hartman is the recipient of a McKnight Residency, a Fulbright Scholarship, a Hodder Fellowship, a Jerome Fellowship, and is a New Dramatists alumna. In spring 2018, Hartman’s The Book of Joseph became the highest grossing play in Everyman Theatre’s history. Joseph and two other recent plays Roz and Ray (Edgerton New Play Prize) and Project Dawn (NEA Grant, NNPN Rolling World Premiere) had ten productions in the 2016-18 seasons. A Senior Artist in Residence at University of Washington, Seattle, Hartman nonetheless lives in Brooklyn with her family. Visit her portfolio
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please feel free to contact us with any other questions not answered here.
What is a reading?
New play readings are how we showcase the essence of a story without production elements like scenery, staging, lights and costumes. Think of it like watching a live radio program being recorded. Our actors stand on stage, scripts handy, and perform the lines with all of the passion of a final production. The audience gets all of the emotion of a fully-produced performance, just stripped down. This allows the playwright, director and audience to focus entirely on the language and story.
Which weekend should I choose?
Everyone is invited to both of our weekends, and each one has distinctive opportunities that may draw you one way or another. The Launch Weekend is lower key and has fewer events, and tickets are just $10. It’s ideal for first-timers and students who want a taste of the Summit with less commitment. The Festival Weekend has more of everything – it’s two-and-a-half jam-packed days of readings, World Premieres, meals and events. It’s perfect for industry professionals who want to discover new work and mingle with new contacts, students looking to make their first contacts in the field, and hardcore theatre fans who want to be a part of it all.
Who are the industry attendees?
Every year the Colorado New Play Summit attracts theatre industry leaders and artists from over 20 states. This includes playwrights, directors, actors, dramaturgs, artistic directors, literary managers, casting directors, managers, agents and other representatives from theatre companies throughout the country. View the 2018 industry attendee list
How can I submit a play to be considered for the future?
We accept unproduced original, full-length plays and musicals, which must be submitted by a literary agent. Playwrights residing in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico or Utah may send plays directly without an agent. We have a special interest in plays written by and for diverse voices, plays written by women playwrights and we are also interested in plays written for young audiences. Adaptations will be considered if you have secured underlying rights. Scripts may be sent by email or mail without prior synopsis or dialogue sample. Plays can be submitted year-round. Plays should be sent digitally to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Plays may also be mailed to:
Attn: New Play Development
DCPA Theatre Company
1101 13th St.
Denver, CO 80204-5319
Due to the number of submissions we receive, we will only respond if we are interested in a particular script or playwright.
What are tracks? Which one should I choose?
You will notice that Festival Weekend has an orange track and a blue track. Our tracks are simply the order in which you’ll see the readings. Both tracks will see all readings and attend all events but due to the sizes of our theatres, not everyone can see the same readings at the exact same time. If you’re attending the Summit with a group, make sure you buy tickets to the same track so you can coordinate readings. Even if you are on separate tracks, you will still have the same meal and World Premiere schedule. The Launch Weekend has a simpler schedule with just one reading of each play, so you will not see any track options for Launch Weekend.
Do I get to choose a seat?
Readings, meals and events are general admission, so you will get to choose your seat when you arrive. Our theatres are intimate enough that every seat will give you a great view of the action, but if you’d like to find somewhere to sit with a group, we recommend arriving at the reading at least 15 minutes early. The world premieres will have assigned seats; all of the tickets in your order will be sat together.
Will I get physical tickets or is there Will Call?
For Launch Weekend and A La Carte Festival Weekend tickets, you will be able to select how you want to receive your tickets: digitally by email, physically by snail mail or at will call. NEW THIS YEAR: A La Carte Festival Weekend buyers may opt-in to receive a name badge, but will still receive individual tickets for their events.
For Festival Weekend, those with all-inclusive passes may pick up their badges and world premiere tickets at registration upon arrival. Please wear your badge to gain entry to all events. Registration will be located inside the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex, and will be open on Fri, Feb 22 at 11am to pick up badges. If you are arriving late for Festival Weekend or have any questions during the Summit, please see a box office agent. The main ticket counter is located inside the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex, and we also have counters in The Jones and Ricketson theatres.
How do I get to the Summit?
All of our events will be located in the Denver Performing Arts Complex in downtown Denver. The intersection of 14th and Curtis streets is a good pick-up and drop-off location for all venues. Most Summit events take place in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex. Using a map app? Our exact address is 1400 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80204.
Where should I stay for the Summit?
As a Summit attendee, you get exclusive Summit discount rates at nearby partner hotels. Check back here in the months leading up to the Summit for additional rates.
Homewood Suites & Hampton Inn Denver Downtown 550 15th St – .04 mile from DCPA
How can I get around Denver?
Avoid the cost and hassle of parking downtown with these options: Taxis: A taxi stand is available just across 14th Street at The Curtis Hotel. Or, our staff is happy to call a cab from the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex. Bus: RTD offers more than 15 bus routes that pick up and drop off within one block of the Denver Performing Arts Complex. When planning your route to the Complex, put in “Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe Street” as your cross streets to get the best results. Light Rail: RTD Light Rail lines D, F and H all make stops at 14th & Champa, beneath the Colorado Convention Center. When planning your route to the Complex, put in “Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe Street” as your cross streets to get the best results. Ride-sharing Services: Both Uber and Lyft operate in Denver, but if you want to drive yourself (and still avoid parking), one-way point-to-point car rental memberships like Car2Go and Zipcar are also available. Bike Sharing: For the casual night out, Denver is host to a B-cycle bike sharing program, with more than 80 bike stands located around the Denver metro area. The closest bike pick-up and drop-off to our theatres is located right next door at the Convention Center.
News and media
See photos and read more about the Colorado New Play Summit from local and national writers who have experienced it.
Have a question about the Summit that’s not answered here? First-timer and not sure where to start? We’re here to help. Let us know what’s on your mind and our Summit Producer Grady Soapes will get back to you soon.
Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors
2019 Producing Partners
AT&T, Daniel L. Ritchie, Transamerica