Who’s who at the 2013 Colorado New Play Summit

Ryan Wuestewald recently starred in a Catherine Trieschmann drama in Boulder, but at the Summit he will appear in an adaptation of Helen Thorpe's "Just Like Us."

(based on the best-seller by Helen Thorpe)
Written by Karen Zacarías (“Mariela in the Desert”)
Directed by Kent Thompson
Dramaturg: Douglas Langworthy
Assistant Director: Jose Mercado

Karen Zacarías’ play follows four Latina girls in Denver, two of whom are documented and two of whom are not, as they complete their final year of high school, then move through college and into the world. Their close-knit friendships begin to unravel as opportunities open or close for each girl according to her immigration status. “Just Like Us” grapples with some essential questions: Who is an American? Who gets to live in America? What happens when we don’t agree? Playwright Karen Zacarías has won numerous awards including the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play and been commissioned by the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, The Goodman Theatre, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, and others. Helen Thorpe has written for The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine and The New Yorker. “Just Like Us” is a Denver Center commission.

Richard Azurdia: Fabian/Tom Tancredo
Kathleen McCall: Helen Thorpe
Gabriella Cavallero: Yolanda/others
Laurence Curry: Teacher/others
David DeSantos: Announcer On Speaker, Federico Pena, Jesus/others
Diana Dresser: Helen Thorpe (understudy)
Adriana Gaviria: Yadira/Spanish Translator
Fidel Gomez: Young Latino Man/et al
Ruth Livier: Elissa/Zulema/Ensemble
Dena Martinez: Josefa/et al
Yunuen Pardo: Marisela/Raul Gomez Garcia
Mercedes Perez:Irene Chavez/et al
Sabina Zuniga Varela: Clara/Prosecutor
Allison Watrous: Nancy Spence/Student, Kelly Young/others
Stephen Weitz: Recruiter/Sen. Hatch/others
Ryan Wuestewald: Ken Gordon/Luke/Frosty/others
Alejandro Rodriguez: Stage Directions


Written by Marcus Gardley
Directed by Chay Yew

Playwright Marcus Gardley magically re-casts Homer’s Odysseus as a Black soldier returning home from a harrowing tour in the Gulf War.  The great Greek archetypes reverberate with new world African-American culture as modern reality is fused with ancient myth in this gripping new play.  Gardley is the recipient of many awards including the Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Award, the ASCAP Cole Porter Award, and the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels award for Mid-Career Playwright. Obie winning director Chay Yew, Artistic Director of Victory Gardens Theatre of Chicago, will direct the production. “Black Odyssey” is a Denver Center commission.

André De Shields: Great Grand Daddy Deus, John Suitor, Dignitary One. (Broadway: “The Full Monty,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Play On!” and “The Wiz”)
Kim Staunton: Alsendra Sabine, Queen Mother, Circe/Scylla. (Denver Center: “Fences,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Ruined,” many more)
Che Ayende: Ulysses Lincoln
Nadja-Monet Brown: Benevolence Sabine, Guardian #1, Charybdis
Tia James: Nella Pee
Brenda Pressley: Great Aunt Tina/Soul Siren
Julian Rozzell Jr.: Artez Sabine
Gabe Simmons: Malachi
Keith Randolph Smith: Great Grand Pa Sidin, Naval Officer/Police #2
Kelli Crump: Stage Directions

In addition to the readings, the Center will be showcasing its world-premiere productions of “Ed, Downloaded” by Michael Mitnick, and “Grace, or The Art of Climbing,” by Lauren Feldman

For more information and Summit registration, patrons can visit www.denvercenter.org/summit, or call 303-893-6030.

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By John Moore

Award-winning arts journalist John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the United States by American Theatre Magazine during has 12 years at The Denver Post. Hen then created a groundbreaking new media outlet covering Colorado arts an culture as an in-house, multimedia journalist for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He also founded The Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that has raised more than $600,000 for theatre artists in medical need. He is now a journalist for hire as the founder of Moore Media Colorado. You can find samples of his work at MooreJohn.Com. Contact him at culturewestjohn@gmail.com