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Five new plays selected for reading at the 9th Colorado New Play Summit

The cast of Just Like Us during rehearsal of the 2013 production,
The cast of Just Like Us during rehearsal of the 2013 production,
Kyle Malone

Denver Center Theatre Company recently announced the selection of plays that will be read at the 9th annual Colorado New Play Summit at the Denver Center for Performing Arts February 7-9, 2014. The Colorado New Play Summit is one of the country's top new play festivals showcasing the latest works by American playwrights.

The staged readings are:

Appoggiatura 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.

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.

Benediction 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.

The Comparables 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.

Zenith by Kirsten Greenidge

It seems that hardly a day goes by that the media doesn’t confront us with yet another unspeakable act. Kirsten Greenidge’s Zenith teases out the complex and interwoven threads of one life that ends shockingly. Daring in structure and rich in detail, this play makes us question whether we can ever truly understand another human being.

Two world premieres that were read at the 2013 Summit will also be staged. They are:

Black Odyssey 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.

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.

Full passes to the Summit are now on sale and include guaranteed seating at all readings, admission to two world premieres, meals, receptions and discounts to nearby hotels in downtown Denver. Tickets to individual readings will go on sale after the first of the year. For more information or to register, visit www.denvercenter.org/summit or call 303-893-6030.