New Works by Matthew Lopez, Eric Schmiedl, Idris Goodwin, James Still Among 9th Colorado New Play Summit
By Michael Gioia
November 19, 2013
New works by Matthew Lopez ("The Newsroom," The Whipping Man), Eric Schmiedl, Idris Goodwin, Marcus Gardley and Pulitzer Prize for Drama nominee James Still are among the selected plays for the 9th Annual Colorado New Play Summit, which will run Feb. 7-9, 2014, in downtown Denver.
Denver Center Theatre Company has announced the selected plays, which include staged readings of Schmiedl's adaptation of Kent Haruf's novel "Benediction," the last in a trilogy of Schmiedl's adaptations to premiere at the Summit (Plainsong, Eventide); Victory Jones and The Incredible One Woman Band by Goodwin; Appoggiatura by Still; and Laura Schellhardt's The Comparables.
An additional title will be announced at a later date.
The Colorado New Play Summit, according to press notes, "is the showcase for DCTC’'s new play development program under the direction of producing artistic director Kent Thompson and director of new play development Bruce K. Sevy. Now in its 9th year, artistic directors, literary managers, dramaturgs, directors, members of the press and the public are invited to view the latest works by some of America's most exciting playwrights."
During the Summit, audiences will also see two mainstage productions from the 2013 Summit — The Legend of Georgia McBride, written by Lopez ("The Newsroom," The Whipping Man), about an Elvis impersonator turned drag queen; and black odyssey by award-winning poet-playwright Gardley, presenting a twist on Homer's The Odyssey where Greek mythology meets African-American culture.
Here's the New Play Summit lineup at a glance:
By James Still
"Followed by a violin-playing Vivaldi, a charming but bogus Italian tour guide accompanies a widow and a bereaved middle-aged man who both mourn the same person while her granddaughter questions her future. Appoggiatura is a sun-drenched romance about love, loss, and a broken family re-living the past and healing its heart in Venice. Playwright James Still is a three-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A Denver Center Commission."
Victory Jones and the Incredible One Woman Band
By Idris Goodwin
"A brightly talented girl aims for a place center stage in the world of music. Using live and recorded 'looping' technology, the world of break beat music sets the background for an African American girl's hip hop odyssey along the bumpy road to music stardom. Smart, sassy, humorous, heartfelt and rousing with a cast of colorful, contemporary characters, Victory Jones is an ear-to-the-streets portrait of American pop culture experienced by one gifted girl. Goodwin’s previous break beat play, How We Got On, was produced in Chicago by Citadel Theater. It was also produced at B Street in Sacramento. Victory Jones and The Incredible One Woman Band is a Denver Center commission."
By Eric Schmiedl
Based on the novel by Kent Haruf
"Set on the high plains of eastern Colorado, Benediction follows the lives of three souls yearning for communion--a dying elderly man, a young orphaned girl and a renegade preacher. As with Haruf's novels Plainsong and Eventide, the Denver Center has once again brought playwright Eric Schmiedl on board to adapt this penetrating, deeply human story for the stage. A Denver Center commission."
By Laura Schellhardt
"In this dark comedy, Iris and Monica jockey for power in Bette's 'Boutique' –a high-end real estate agency run and staffed almost solely by women. In a world of double standards, what happens when the gender tables are turned? Does the glass ceiling still pertain? And who's going to make the coffee? The Comparables is a hilarious look at climbing the corporate ladder in three-inch heels."
World Premiere - Mainstage production
The Legend of Georgia McBride
By Matthew Lopez
Directed by Mike Donahue
"A heartwarming, music-filled comedy about Casey, an Elvis impersonator who just learned his dive bar act is being replaced with a drag show. With the bills stacking up and a kid on the way, Casey's going to have to adapt to a whole new show business like none he's ever known in this risqué romp. The Legend of Georgia McBride was workshopped at the 2013 Colorado New Play Summit."
World Premiere - Mainstage production
By Marcus Gardley
Directed by Chay Yew
"The Greek gods meet African-American culture in this twist on Homer's The Odyssey. Centered on a black soldier returning home from a harrowing tour in the War in Afghanistan, this compelling new play fuses modern reality, humor, and song with ancient myth. black odyssey was workshopped at the 2013 Colorado New Play Summit. A Denver Center commission."
For more information and Summit registration, call (303) 893-6030 or visit DenverCenter.org/Summit.