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"Vietgone" by Qui Nguyen, at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, through April 22.Pictured: James Seol, Stephen Hu, and Jomar Tagatac. (Photo by Kevin Berne)
James Seol, Stephen Hu, and Jomar Tagatac in "Vietgone" at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. (Photo by Kevin Berne)

Denver Center Theatre Company Announces 2018-19 Season

The lineup will feature 13 productions, including world premieres by Donnetta Lavinia Grays and Itamar Moses.

DENVER: The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) Theatre Company has announced its 2018-19 season, the company’s 40th, which will be led by incoming artistic director Chris Coleman. The organization has also announced the eighth season of Off-Center, its unconventional theatre series that utilizes unique spaces.

“As we step into the next chapter of the theatre company’s history, I am particularly interested in producing work that connects us to humanity in a deeper way,” said Coleman in a statement. “Throughout this season you’ll see a collision of voices, something traditional next to something brand new and edgy. I’m thrilled at the lineup we’ve put together. These playwrights and directors are the cream of the crop, and I look forward to the conversations these works will open up with the Denver community.”

The company season will kick off with Vietgone (Aug. 24-Sept. 30), by Qui Nguyen with original music by Shane Rettig, based on the real-life courtship of Nguyen’s parents, two Vietnamese war refugees who relocate to Arkansas. Seema Sueko will direct.

Next up will be Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (Sept. 7-Oct. 14), with music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, and with original dances by Agnes de Mille. This adaptation of the musical, which centers on love and chasing a brighter future, will be set in one of the 50 all-African-American towns in the early days of the Oklahoma territory. Coleman will helm the production.

Following will be The Constant Wife (Sept. 21-Oct. 21), by W. Somerset Maugham, about a 1920s housewife who knows more than she lets on. Shelley Butler will direct.

Next up will be A Christmas Carol (Nov. 21-Dec. 24), by Charles Dickens, adapted by Richard Hellesen, with music by David de Berry. This musical adaptation of the classic book about the miserly Mr. Scrooge will be directed by Melissa Rain Anderson.

Ringing in 2019 will be the world premiere of Last Night and the Night Before (Jan. 18-Feb. 24), by Donnetta Lavinia Grays, about a woman on the run from trouble who shows up with her daughter on her sister’s doorstep. Valerie Curtis-Newton will direct.

Next will be Anna Karenina (Jan. 25-Feb. 24), by Kevin McKeon, adapted from the novel by Leo Tolstoy, which follows the socialite Countess Anna Karenina’s foray into forbidden love. Coleman will direct the production.

Following will be the world premiere of The Whistleblower (Feb. 8-March 10), by Itamar Moses, about a screenwriter who experiences a change in perspective after achieving his dream of creating his own TV show.

Closing out the season will be Sweat (April 26-May 26), the Pulitzer winner  by Lynn Nottage about a community affected by a factory facing layoffs in Reading, Pa. Nataki Garrett will direct.

Off-Center’s eighth season will complement the company season with five productions.

“We are thrilled to announce a season of unique Off-Center experiences that will take audiences into unexpected Denver spaces and showcase local artists, stories, and communities,” said Charlie Miller, curator of Off-Center. “From original micro plays to new theatrical experiments to a large-scale immersive hip-hop show, our offerings complement the theatre company season and tell exciting stories in unconventional ways.”

The Off-Center season will open with Mixed Taste: tag team lectures on unrelated topics (July 11-Aug. 22), a joint program with MCA Denver, in which two speakers have 20 minutes to enlighten the audience on separate topics but are not allowed to make any connections. The series will take place at the Seawell Ballroom.

Next will be Bite-Size: An evening of micro theatre (Oct. 23-Nov. 18), a program of five short plays with bookish twists created and directed by Meridith Crosley Grundei. The show will be performed in and around BookBar, an independent bookstore and wine bar in the Tennyson Street Arts District.

Following will be The SantaLand Diaries (Nov. 23-Dec. 24), by David Sedaris and adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, which will be a joint production with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company. This solo show based on Sedaris’s classic essay follows Crumpet the elf, Santa’s not-so-helpful sidekick, and will be performed at the Jones.

Next will be Powered by Off-Center (March 2019), which gives the local artistic community a new place to play and a platform to experiment, which will be presented at the Jones.

Finishing up the season will be Untitled Immersive Hip-Hop Show, a large-scale immersive adventure by playwright Idris Goodwin and director Jenny Koons, commissioned by Off-Center. Title, location, dates, and details will be announced at a later date.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts calls itself the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization, including its presentations of Broadway tours and its original stagings of plays, cabaret, musicals, and innovative and immersive works.

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