Our stories start with you…
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, give your feedback on where you think the story should go, and enjoy two fully produced Theatre Company productions: the world premiere of Laughs in Spanish and the 2020 Colorado New Play Summit audience favorite, Hotter Than Egypt.
The inspiration doesn’t stop with the plays. Talk with the featured playwrights, directors, actors and other creatives over tasty meals and at special events like the Summit Wrap Party. It’s your chance to meet the brightest minds in the craft and play an integral part in the future of Colorado theatre.
Watch spotlights from the 2022 Summit
The DCPA subscriber pre-sale is now open! Purchase your package before 11:59pm on December 31, 2022 for Early Bird prices, listed below. Packages grant you access to all of the readings and plays featured in the Summit, plus two luncheons, the Summit Dinner, the Summit Party, and the Playwright’s Slam. If you’d prefer to only participate in one or a handful of readings, you can also purchase $10 A La Carte tickets for each.
General Admission, Subscribers $171 $156
General Admission $286 $260
General Admission, Students $163
General Admission, 35 & Under $177
2023 SUMMIT LINEUP
Joan Dark By Christina Pumariega
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.
Christina Pumariega (she/her/hers) acts and writes. Often simultaneously. She is the author of Joan Dark (Jane Chambers Prize runner-up), Lei Chiede (O’Neill Conference finalist) and Her Math Play (Hartford Stage’s American Voices New Play Festival). Her work has been seen at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, New Georges, the Lark and Ammunition Theatre Company. Her TV writing credits include “Turner & Hooch” (Disney+) and “Bluff City Law” (NBC). Acting on and Off-Broadway, and in television and film, Pumariega has cross examined Coach Taylor, made out with the Fly and set a Cuban pharmacy ablaze in a corset. MFA Acting, NYU.
Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids By Vincent Terrell Durham
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.
Vincent Terrell Durham (he/him/his) is an L.A.- based playwright. He is a Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival winner, a National New Play Network finalist, and a Eugene O’Neill semi-finalist. His plays have been published with Concord Theatricals, Theatrical Rights Worldwide, and New World Theatre Publishing. He has received commissions from PlayGround San Francisco/Planet Earth Arts and City Lights Theatre. Vincent is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.
the reservoir By Jake Brasch
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 comradery, 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.
Jake Brasch (he/they) is a writer, actor, composer, clown and fellow in the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard. His plays have been presented by The Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Farm Theater, ArtHouse Inkubator, Letter of Marque, and LAByrinth Theatre Company. Jake is currently under commission from the EST/Sloan Project and The Farm Theater’s College Collaboration Project. Proud member of EST/Youngblood. Jake is thrilled to return to the Denver Center where he received his professional debut in A Christmas Carol at age 11. BFA: NYU-Tisch, Experimental Theatre Wing/New Studio on Broadway.
The Suffragette’s Murder By Sandy Rustin
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 ruse 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.
Sandy Rustin (she/her/hers) is an actress and award-winning playwright named by American Theatre Magazine as one of the “Most-Produced Playwrights of the “22/23 season.” Her adaptation of the film Clue is one of the most-produced plays in the U.S. (3,000+ productions). Her comedy, The Cottage is in development for Broadway with “Seinfeld’s” Jason Alexander directing. Her musical adaptation of Mystic Pizza is available for licensing through Concord Theatricals. Other original works include Rated P for Parenthood (Off Broadway/ABC-TV), Struck, Houston, and Elijah. Sandy serves on the Advisory Board of Camp Kesem, dedicated to helping children through their parent’s cancer diagnosis. www.sandyrustin.com
Hotter Than Egypt By Yussef El Guindi
Reading at the 2020 Colorado New Play Summit
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).
Yussef El Guindi. Born in Egypt, raised in London and now based in Seattle, Yussef El Guindi’s work frequently examines the collision of ethnicities, cultures and politics that face immigrants, Arab-Americans and Muslim Americans in particular. El Guindi holds an MFA in playwriting from Carnegie-Mellon University. He is the recipient of many honors, including the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, the Stranger’s Genius Award, and the 2010 Middle East America Distinguished Playwright Award. El Guindi’s past productions include Hotter Than Egypt at Marin Theatre Company and ACT in Seattle (developed at the Denver Center); People of the Book at ACT; Language Rooms at Pony World Theatre in Seattle, and Broken Nose Theatre in Chicago; Hostages at Radial Theater Project in Seattle; The Talented Ones at UCSB’s LAUNCH PAD and Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland (Santa Barbara Independent Indy Awards); Threesome at Portland Center Stage, ACT, and at 59E59 (winner of a Portland Drammy for Best Original Script); Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World (2011 Gregory Award) also at ACT, Center Repertory Company at Walnut Creek, CA, and at Mosaic Theater Company (DC). Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat was produced by Silk Road Rising and won the M. Elizabeth Osborn award. His plays Back of the Throat (winner of L.A. Weekly’s Excellence in Playwriting Award), Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes, Such a Beautiful Voice is Sayeda and Karima’s City have been published by Dramatists Play Service. Ten Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith, Collaborator, Threesome, The Talented Ones, Hostages, and In A Clear Concise Arabic Tongue. have been published by Broadway Play Publishing Inc. Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama published Selected Works of Yussef El Guindi. Currently a Core Company member at ACT in Seattle, a Resident Artist at Golden Thread Productions, and a member of the Lit Council Cohort.
Laughs in Spanish By Alexis Scheer
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!
Alexis Scheer’s plays include Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (WP Theater/Second Stage, NYT Critic’s Pick, John Gassner Award, Kilroy’s List, LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work, Relentless Award semifinalist), Laughs in Spanish (Kennedy Center’s Harold & Mimi Steinberg Award, NNPN Showcase), and Christina (O’‘Neill Finalist, Roe Green Award). Her work has been developed at the Kennedy Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theatre Center, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, San Diego REP, and more. Alexis is a proud New World School of the Arts alum, and holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory and MFA in Playwriting from Boston University. She is currently under commission by Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Miami New Drama. In television, Alexis wrote on Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin and is developing a project with Salma Hayek’s Ventanarosa. http://www.alexisscheer.com
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25
11am: Registration in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex Lobby
11:30am: Lunch in the Seawell Ballroom
12:30pm: First new play readings
- Orange Track: the reservoir in the Jones Theatre
- Blue Track: The Suffragette’s Murder in the Singleton Theatre
3:30pm: Second new play readings
- Orange Track: Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids in the Singleton Theatre
- Blue Track: Joan Dark in the Jones Theatre
6:30-7:45pm: Summit Dinner in the Seawell Ballroom
8pm: Full Production – Laughs in Spanish in the Singleton Theatre
10pm: Playwrights’ Slam in the Jones Theatre
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26
11:30am: Lunch in the Seawell Ballroom
12:30pm: Third new play readings
- Orange Track: The Suffragette’s Murder in the Singleton Theatre
- Blue Track: the reservoir in the Jones Theatre
3:30pm: Fourth new play readings
- Orange Track: Joan Dark in the Jones Theatre
- Blue Track: Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids in the Singleton Theatre
Dinner on your own
7pm: Full Production – Hotter Than Egypt in the Kilstrom Theatre
9:30pm: Summit Wrap Party in the Seawell Ballroom
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.
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 2022 industry attendee list
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 seated together.
Will I get physical tickets or is there Will Call?
A La Carte Summit Weekend buyers may opt-in to receive a name badge, but will still receive individual tickets for their events.
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. If you are arriving late for Summit 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 a counter in The Jones Theatre.
What are the Orange and Blue Tracks? Which should I choose?
Summit Weekend offers two tracks — orange and blue — which are simply the order in which you’ll see the readings. Both tracks include all readings and events, but due to the sizes of our theatres, we have to split the size of our audience into two groups that see different plays concurrently. If you’re attending the Summit with a group, make sure you buy tickets to the same track.
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 partner rates.
How can I get around Denver?
Avoid the cost and hassle of parking downtown with these options:
Ride-sharing Services: Both Lyft and Uber operate in Denver.
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. Airport Train: If you’re traveling to Denver and arrive at Denver International Airport, you can take RTD’s A Line Train straight to Union Station in downtown Denver, which is within walking distance of the Arts Complex and many area hotels.
BIKE & SCOOTER TRANSPORTATION:
Summit Successes Keep Coming
Over more than 40 years, our Theatre Company season has produced over 400 plays from scratch, including many that got their start as a reading. By commissioning new plays and presenting the Colorado New Play Summit, we underwrite the important work required of playwrights, invest in the future of the American Theatre and keep our finger on the pulse of contemporary writing.
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 we will get back to you soon.