Peakes, Love, Byrne, Duffy, Pleasants, Hartman, Zielinski, Cortese and More Are Colorado Play Summit Troupers

News   Peakes, Love, Byrne, Duffy, Pleasants, Hartman, Zielinski, Cortese and More Are Colorado Play Summit Troupers The Denver Center Theatre Company announced casting for the two world-premiere productions — When Tang Met Laika and Eventide — in its 2010 Colorado New Play Summit.

The fully produced plays are the centerpiece of the Summit, at which DCTC also offers readings of new plays.

Artistic director Kent Thompson and director of new play development Bruce Sevy commissioned When Tang Met Laika by Rogelio Martinez and Eventide by Eric Schmiedl (based on the novel by Kent Haruf), and both works were read at the 2009 Summit. The latter is a followup to the related Colorado-set play (and novel) Plainsoing, produced by DCTC.

The cast for When Tang Met Laika, directed by Terrence J. Nolen, includes Ian Merrill Peakes as Patrick; Jessica Love as Elena, Megan Byrne as Samantha and Randy Moore, Richard Thieriot, M. Scott McLean and R. Ward Duffy.

When Tang Met Laika will play Jan. 22-Feb. 27, opening Jan. 28 at The Space Theatre.

Playwright Rogelio Martinez "looked to his love of the space program for inspiration when he was commissioned by the Denver Center Theatre Company to write a new play," according to production notes. "His resulting love story is set on planet Earth and the International Space Station and involves Laika, a Soviet dog sent into space with no hope of recovery; Tang, the astronaut's breakfast drink loved by an entire generation of American children; and the ghost of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin." The play "explores how a Soviet Cosmonaut and an American Astronaut thawed the Cold War." The design team for When Tang Met Laika "was given the unique challenge of creating both earth's gravity and the weightless environment of space in the in-the-round Space Theatre." The team includes scenic designer James Kronzer, costume designer David Kay Mickelsen, lighting designer Charles R. MacLeod, sound designer Jason Ducat and projection designer Charlie I. Miller. Original music is composed by Jorge Cousineau.

(Assisting with space program information was Astronaut Bruce McCandless, the first man to take an untethered walk in space, and assisting with the Russian language is Maria Pakulova.)

Thompson will direct an Eventide cast that features at least two holdovers from the cast from Plainsong: Philip Pleasants and Mike Hartman as Harold and Raymond McPheron, respectively. They are joined by Tonantzin Carmelo as Victoria Roubideaux, Drew Cortese as Del Gutierrez, David Ivers as Luther Wallace, Leslie O'Carroll as Betty June Wallace, William Zielinski as Hoyt Raines, Lauren Klein as Rose Tyler, Ron Crawford as Walter Kephart, Augustus Lane Filholm as DJ Kephart, John Hutton as Tom Guthrie, Kathleen McCall as Maggie Jones and Ellie Schwartz, Thomas Russo, Jenna Panther, Rebecca Martin, Carole Healey, Geoffrey Kent, Joseph Yeargain, Sam Gregory, Sean Lyons and Chris Mazza.

Eventide will play Jan. 29-Feb. 27 (opening Feb. 4) at The Stage Theatre.

"The epic story of Holt, Colorado" was first seen at the Denver Center in 2008 with the staging of Eric Schmiedl's critically acclaimed play Plainsong, drawing on Haruf's book.

According to DCTC, "The McPheron brothers, Harold and Raymond, captured the hearts of audiences from across the Rocky Mountain West and a national Colorado New Play Summit audience of theatre professionals. The small town story continues. Haruf's plainspoken and endearing characters — the aging McPheron brothers and Victoria Roubideaux, the pregnant young girl they took into their home — are joined in Eventide by a lonely young boy who generously cares for his grandfather, and a mentally challenged couple trying to hold their family together."

Eventide reunites many members of the creative team from Plainsong. They include scenic designer Vicki Smith, lighting designer Don Darnutzer, sound designer Craig Breitenbach, composer Gary Grundei, fight director Geoffrey Kent, vocal and dialect coach Michael Cobb and dramaturg Allison Horsley. They are joined for Eventide by costume designer Susan Branch Towne.

For tickets and more information, call (303) 893-4100 or (800) 641-1222, or visit www.denvercenter.org.

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DCTC won the Tony Award as Outstanding Regional Theatre.

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