Lindsey Noel Whiting in "Lookingglass Alice." (Photo by Liz Lauren)

Denver Center Theatre to Present 2 World Premieres, Plus ‘Sweeney’ and ‘Alice’

The Colorado theatre’s new season to feature new plays from Theresa Rebeck and Tanya Saracho, plus a punk ‘Sweeney Todd’ and ‘Lookingglass Alice.’

DENVER: Denver Center Theatre Company, housed at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, has announced its 2015–16 season, its 37th. The season will feature world premieres by Theresa Rebeck and Tanya Saracho, plus a reorchestrated version of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd by a popular local gypsy-punk band, DeVotchKa.

“This coming season, we will challenge the boundaries in our theatrical spaces like never before to create incredible experiences for our patrons,” said producing artistic director Kent Thompson in a statement. “It will be a creative, emotionally charged and exhilarating eight months.”

The bounds of gravity will be tested with the first production of the season, Lookingglass Alice (Sept. 11–Oct. 11), a high-flying adaptation of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Lookingglass that utilizes acrobatics and aerial tricks. The production comes from Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, in an adaptation by Lookingglass ensemble member David Catlin, who also directs. The show is produced in association with the Actors Gymnasium.

Following will be Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Sept. 25–Nov. 1), directed by Thompson. Next is Tribes by Nina Raine (Oct. 9–Nov. 15), about a dysfunctional family whose deaf son meets a woman who is slowly going deaf.

For the holidays, the Denver Center will revive its annual tradition of A Christmas Carol, adapted by Richard Hellesen with music by David de Berry.

The new year will feature two world premieres, one The Nest by Theresa Rebeck, about the regulars at the eponymous bar, and the woman who wants to buy it (Jan. 22–Feb. 21, 2016). In a statement, Thompson raved: “I can honestly say The Nest contains the best first scene of a play that I’ve read in 20 years.” The Nest received a reading at Denver Center’s 2015 Colorado New Play Summit last month.

Following that will be Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way (Jan. 29–Feb. 28, 2016), about President Johnson’s struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is not Schenkkan’s first work to be presented at DCTC: His rock musical The 12, about how Jesus’s apostles responded to his crucifixion, begins its run this month, March 27–April 26.

The second world premiere will be another entry from the new play Summit: FADE by Tanya Saracho (Feb. 5–March 13, 2016). The play is a comedy about a Mexican-American woman hired to write a Latina TV character for a Hollywood studio. “Tanya Saracho is a funny, gifted, rising writer who is intensely aware of the layers and complexities in Hispanic culture,” said Thompson in a statement.

Closing the season will be Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (April 8–May 15, 2016), in a newly reorchestrated version by the Grammy-nominated ensemble DeVotchKa, known for accompanying burlesque star Dita Von Teese and for the song “How It Ends.” Sondheim himself reportedly signed off on the concept after hearing some of the band’s recordings.

In addition to the mainstage season, DCTC will also present its 2016 Colorado New Play Summit in spring 2016. The lineup will be announced later in the year.

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