Cover art of the Dramatist The Season That Was/Not Was Issue: a dark curtain coming down on an idyllic, colorful town
Colorado 2019/20 Season in Review
  • Abby Apple Boes and Damon Guerrasio in Queen of Conspiracy at Miners Alley Playhouse. Photo by Rachel D. Graham.
    Abby Apple Boes and Damon Guerrasio in Queen of Conspiracy at Miners Alley Playhouse. Photo by Rachel D. Graham.
  • Calista Masters and Gina Wencel in The Never Summer at Theater 29. Photo by Brian Miller.
    Calista Masters and Gina Wencel in The Never Summer at Theater 29. Photo by Brian Miller.

I was caught off guard. It certainly doesn’t seem like a year ago since I wrote my first Season in Review article for the Colorado Region in The Dramatist. But so much has happened since then. And now, sadly, of course, so much will also not happen. It’s fair to say that we’ve all been caught off guard, and unfair (to say the very least) about what’s happening to the world. One relatively small thing we can do is hope for and look forward to when theatre as we have known and loved it is back in our lives—when our new plays and our friends’ and colleagues’ new plays are being commissioned and selected and rehearsed and presented and celebrated... 

So many new works were produced here in Colorado over the past season. More were scheduled but didn’t make it to the stage since the world changed. I am sure I’ve missed some, but here are highlights of world premiere full-length plays that happened and almost happened (hopefully still will) in Colorado from May of 2019 to May of 2020.

The Denver Center for Performing Arts Theatre Company scored with You Lost Me, written by Bonnie Metzgar and directed by Margot Bordelon. It ran in January and February. Metzgar lived in Colorado and was an Associate Company Member and Associate Artistic Director at Curious Theatre Company from 2004 through 2007. The Denver Center also produced twenty50, by Guadalajara/Albuquerque/Dallas playwright TONY MENESES in February.

Curious Theatre Company didn’t have a premiere on its main stage, but did commission Inheritance written by Norma Johnson and directed by Artistic Company Member Jada Suzanne Dixon. The play examined Denver’s troubling history with the KKK and toured to high schools and community groups throughout the 2019-2020 season.

In August of 2019, The Catamounts presented The Last Apple Tree, an original, site-specific musical conceived and directed by Amanda Berg Wilson, and celebrating the legacy of one farm homestead in Westminster, Colorado. The book was by JESSICA AUSTGEN, music and lyrics were by Bonnie and Taylor Sims.

Also based in Boulder is Local Theater Company, who presented Discount Ghost Stories: A Colorado Folklore Concert in June and July at Trident Booksellers and Cafe, with music and lyrics by ALEXANDER  SAGE OYEN, book by Rob Wright and Pesha Rudnick, original dramaturgy by Jessica Kahkoska, and directed by Austin Regan. Flame Broiled. or the ugly play was written and directed by the fabulous RODNEY HICKS and produced by Local in October and November. Sadly, Local’s spring show was to be Sin Eaters by Anna Moench, slated to run in April and May, but was canceled. 

Buntport Theater is all about doing wonderful original work, where the ensemble writes, makes, designs, produces, and acts in all their own plays. Universe 92 ran in September and October. Cabaret De Profundis Or How To Sing While Ugly Crying was written by the Buntporters with Nathan Hall who also composed and arranged all the music. Cabaret De Profundis was postponed until things get better around here.

Over at And Toto Too Theatre Company, CARRIE PRINTZ’s Fractured Moonlight, directed by Susan Lyles, was set to premiere in April, but has been postponed. Hopefully [rescheduled] for November. 

And down in the stunningly beautiful Southwestern part of the state, Creede Repertory Theatre produced Hazardous Materials by Beth Kander, and directed by Kyle Haden in August and September. 

Lisa Wagner Erickson and the talented folks at Theater 29 are always knocking out a number of premieres. From May to May of this past season, these included: You’ll Find Flies by Dakota C. Hill, directed by Brandon Stiller, and produced by Chase & Be Still Productions in June; The Never Summer by ELLEN K. GRAHAM, directed by Hart DeRose, and produced by Feral Assembly in August; Another Night of Grand Guignol, adapted and directed by Rhea Amos, produced by Pandemic Collective in October. 

In December, Theater 29 also presented Hidden Worlds & Strange Negotiations, which was an evening of plays by local playwrights directed by Veronica Straight-Lingo and produced by Lulubird Project. It included: Apollo Flies by JESSICA AUSTGEN, Signage of the Times by EDITH WEISS, Tock, Talk, Tock by TAMI CANADAY, There’s No Place Like Gnome by LISA WAGNER ERICKSON, Worse Than Cold Feet by REBECCA GORMAN O’NEILL, Home by Ellen K. Graham, This Side of the Room by Dakota C. Hill, and Mating by Edith Weiss.

Riot Confidential by Tami Canaday, directed by Hart DeRose, and produced by Mr. Vulfran’s Carriage Productions was slated to open at Theater 29 in April, but will be rescheduled. 

Last May, Miners Alley Playhouse had an awesomely successful premiere of the fact-based drama Queen of Conspiracy (by me, Josh Hartwell), directed by Len Matheo.

Let’s all stay healthy and kind. And keep hoping and looking forward to more world premieres in our regions and all over the world.