1001 preem skedded for DCTC Summit

[The following article appeared in Daily Variety the week of November 5th and in Variety magazine the week of November 12th.]

Denver—The world premiere of Jason Grote's 1001 will highlight the Denver Center Theatre Company's second annual Colorado New Play Summit slated for February 9-10.

According to DCTC ad Kent Thompson, the play "examines 'who gets to tell the stories of a culture or people' and dramatizes the comedy and tragedy of a personal relationship—a Jewish American man and an Arab American woman—in post 9-11 NYC by asking, 'Can we really connect and understand a loved one who comes from a completely different and currently antagonistic culture?'"

The weekend program is rounded out by four readings, titles to be announced within the next few weeks, as well as a panel addressing the changing role of playwrights in exploring racial, gender, sexual, and political boundaries. Thompson sees the panel as an attempt to recognize that playwrights are breaking down traditional boundaries.

"As the world becomes both smaller (via media and Internet) and more divided (wars, the turn towards fundamentalism worldwide, sectarian violence, dirty politics, etc.), playwrights have begun to write plays that cross the divides-a Latino writer writes a mainstream script, a white writer explores issues of race in America writing characters of color, or a playwright seeks to dramatize the challenges and opportunities facing individuals caught in the middle-such as Jason Grote's 1001."

Thompson plans to quickly expand the Summit's annual offering by commissioning six to eight playwrights a year for the next five years to jumpstart the new play program expansion. Within a season or so he hopes to expand the Summit to two world premiere productions and six readings.

Playwrights currently under commission include: Lee Blessing (author of Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and Olivier Award nominated A Walk in the Woods and winner of the 2006 Steinberg New Play Award for A Memory of Water); Constance Congdon (author of the widely produced Tales of the Lost Formicans, commissioned to write a new play about "water rights in the West"); Colorado native Steven Dietz (author of Pulitzer Prize and Steinberg New Play Award nominee Last of the Boys): José Cruz González (author of September Shoes, commissioned to write the Company's first Spanish language play about the Latino experience in Colorado); Michele Lowe (author of Outer Critics Circle Award nominee String of Pearls); Theresa Rebeck (author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Omnium Gatherum); Eric Schmiedl (commissioned to adapt Kent Haruf's award-winning Colorado-based novel Plainsong); and Octavio Solis (winner of The Kennedy Center's Roger L. Stevens Award and author of Santos & Santos, Man of the Flesh, and El Paso Blue).

As Thompson sees it, future commissions will continue to include a mix of regional and universal themes. "I think that mixture of deep roots into Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region and commitment to a larger worldview creates a fertile environment to create and produce new plays and musicals. … Those that succeed have a good chance at giving us a new perspective on our lives and perhaps changing the way the world views Coloradans and Americans."

Bob Bows


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