Latino Playwright Tony Meneses ‘twenty50’ Among World Premiers Happening In Denver!

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Paywright Tony Meneses (left) with Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media

Paywright Tony Meneses (left) with Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media

By Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media, Video by Denver Center Theatre Company

The year is 2050, Latinos are now the majority. They are no longer regarded as Mexican Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, Chicano’s or any other qualifying identity. They are now simply Americans. The Wall has been built, Spanish is rarely spoken and when it is, it is mostly by grandparents, although older adults understand and speak a Spanglish form of the Language. The youth are turned off and even offended when parents or grandparents speak Spanish. They don’t understand it, their culture is fading and they could care less. It’s time to move on and be Americans.

Andres Salazar is running for  political office. A potential Congressman from Texas. By this time, Latinx people have been assimilated into the majority of the United States, but race issues are far from resolved. In this tricky political environment, Andres must decide whether identifying himself as a Mexican American will help or hinder him on Election Day, and whether losing some of his own identity is worth the potential social benefits.

But what happens when an undocumented Mexican immigrant mysteriously stumbles upon the Salazar ranch seeking refuge and survival. How does the family react to a situation that threatens to destroy Andres’ political ambitions yet bond them with a past they thought was forgotten.

That’s the gist of twenty50  the World Premier production by  the up and coming playwright Tony Meneses, The production directed by Henry Godinez will be staged in Denver as part of  the 41st season of the DCPA Theatre Company, the producing regional theatre arm of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) January 31 – March 1, 2020 (Opens February 7) | Space Theatre.

The play was part of the New Play Summit held by the DCPA in February where  readings of a various plays in development  were held over the three day summit. Judging by the stunned audience reaction of twenty50 it definitely made an impressionDuring the long standing ovation some uttered “Wow” and another said, “What just Happened?”

“When I read Tony Meneses’ twenty50 for the first time, I instantly felt that I was reading a play that speaks to the things that are urgently being debated in this country right now,” said Coleman. “twenty50 is a perfect example of the deeply moving work that comes out of the Colorado New Play Summit and our commissioning program. Tony is an incredibly special writer and I am honored that the Theatre Company will be the first to produce this powerful story.” said  Artistic Director Chris Coleman.

Latin Life Denver had the chance to meet with playwright Tony Meneses and discuss his inspiration and reasons for producing this insightful production. Look for the complete interview coming soon to LatinLifeDenver.com (See DCPA interview below)

Other plays that will make up the  2019/20 Theatre Company Season are: 

 

Indecent

By Paula Vogel

Directed by Nancy Keystone

Choreography by Dominique Kelley

August 30 – October 6, 2019 (Opens September 5) | Space Theatre

“When creating this season, I wanted to kick it off with a show that would be a big, expansive event. We are launching next season with Pulitzer-winning playwright Paula Vogel’s Tony Award-winning play Indecent,” said Coleman. “Vogel has been an incredible visionary and voice in American theatre for decades and what she created with Indecent is a powerful story about who gets to decide what is beautiful and what is indecent. Audiences can expect folk music, folk dancing and a play that is going to provoke conversation in a very positive way.”

ABOUT THE PLAY:

Pulitzer-winning playwright Paula Vogel tells the emotional true story of Sholem Asch’s groundbreaking play, The God of Vengeance, and the passionate artists who risked everything to share it. Many European productions of the provocative Yiddish story were highly successful in the early 1900s – even with a same-sex romance at its center. But when its Broadway debut was deemed “indecent,” it begged the question of who gets to decide what is considered art and what deserves to be censored. Follow the explosive tale through scandals, war and rewrites as a defiant, dedicated few refused to let it be silenced.

Celebrate the Tony Award-winning play “that deeply touches so much rich emotion about history and the theater, anti-Semitism, homophobia, censorship, world wars, red-baiting and, oh, yes, joyful human passion” (Newsday). Evoking the Jewish experience through traditional songs and dancing, this stirring production will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the art and experiences we often take for granted.

A Doll’s House

By Henrik Ibsen

Adapted by Frank McGuinness

Directed by Artistic Director Chris Coleman

Performed in repertory with 

A Doll’s House, Part 2

By Lucas Hnath

Directed by Rose Riordan
September 6 – November 24, 2019 (Both open September 21) | Ricketson Theatre

“The Theatre Company has done a fantastic job of not only sharing the new voices in theatre, but also showcasing the classics and taking opportunities to share these productions in new ways. In the fall, I am really excited for the DCPA to try something different in The Ricketson Theatre,” says Coleman. “We are producing Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s Houseand Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2concurrently in repertory, which no other company has attempted. Audiences will have the opportunity to attend one or both, allowing them to see how the characters evolve from one play to the next.”

ABOUT A DOLL’S HOUSE:Nora’s life is a picture-perfect portrait, complete with a doting husband, gleeful children and the small pleasures of her 1870s Norwegian home. But underneath her wide-eyed demeanor lies a deceit that she fears will tear her family apart. As the consequences stack up to reveal deeper flaws in her relationship, she slams the door on her marriage to assert her independence in this heart-wrenching and gripping production.

ABOUT A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2:Fifteen years later, Nora’s unexpected return cuts through the subtext to confront her decisions head-on in this Tony-nominated, contemporary sequel. Asking for favors instead of forgiveness, the proudly independent woman demands help from the family she left behind. But as she hilariously roasts the society she has shunned, her husband and children get their long-awaited chance to stand their ground. “Smart, funny and utterly engrossing” (The New York Times), this piece snappily filters the still-prevalent pressures of motherhood and self-fulfillment through a modern perspective.

Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Artistic Director Chris Coleman

November 15 – December 22, 2019 (Opens November 22) | Space Theatre

“This season will be my first opportunity to direct Shakespeare at the DCPA and work in The Space Theatre,” says Coleman. “When I’m working on Shakespeare, what I love most is to figure out how to illuminate it from within, and Twelfth Nightis a compelling comedy with a lot of emotional depth to it. I’m also extremely excited for audiences to hear the music in this production. I’ve invited multi-instrumentalist and composer Tom Hagerman from the band DeVotchKa to compose the music. Audiences who have seen the collaboration with DeVotchKa previously in Sweeney Toddcan expect to hear something just as unique, and a beautiful blending of the music with the story of Twelfth Night.”

ABOUT THE PLAY:

Hilarious hijinks. Unrequited love. Gender-bending disguises. The struggle is real in this Shakespearean comedy, where the clumsiness of romance is on display in every way. Separated from her twin brother after a shipwreck in Illyria, Viola disguises herself as a man to work in the local household of Duke Orsino. The closer they become, the more Viola gets acquainted with Orsino’s crush, the beautiful noblewoman Olivia. Much to their dismay (and to your delight), the trio is inevitably thrust into a love triangle of mistaken identity and wanton foolishness.

Overflowing with quick wit and titillating trysts, this standout play by The Bard is sure to please with its captivating characters and one of his most dynamic heroines.

WORLD PREMIERE

You Lost Me

By Bonnie Metzgar

Directed by Margot Bordelon

January 17 – February 23, 2020 (Opens January 24) | Ricketson Theatre

“In the winter we will produce Bonnie Metzgar’s You Lost Me from the 2019 Colorado New Play Summit. It’s a beautiful, poetic, layered story about finding love in unusual places and about trying to figure out a way to express your full passion when there’s not an easily apparent way to do so,” said Coleman. “Bonnie Metzgar is known in the Colorado theatre community as the former Associate Artistic Director at Curious Theatre Company, and I am thrilled that we will have You Lost Meas the first world premiere of the season and debut it in Colorado.”

 

ABOUT THE PLAY:

In 1828, 17-year-old Ann Harvey saved 160 Irish people from a wreck off of Newfoundland’s Shipwreck Coast, making her an instant hero. Almost 200 years later, the Harvey family homestead has become the Shipwreck Inn, where present-day proprietress Ann Harvey attempts to leave her own mark (and get some new customers) with a tourist blog. Her nephew Joe-L, on the other hand, would do anything to leave his hometown and start a new life somewhere else.

Freely flow through time as unexpected guests and echoes of the past leave their indelible mark on the people that hold vigil along their remote and rocky shore. A memory house for all those lost at sea, this Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Festival finalist is a poetic, wistful and bright new drama that reminds us that every moment holds the opportunity to change everything.

On the brink of our upcoming presidential election, this suspenseful thriller peels back the façade of campaign-trail craziness to reveal how power and shifting identity blur our truths with those of the greater whole.

Until the Flood

By Dael Orlandersmith

Directed by Neel Keller

March 20 – April 26, 2020 (Opens March 27) | Jones Theatre

“One of the things I love most about the writing that is happening in American theatre now is what is coming from solo performers. In the spring, we will have a very special production of Until the Floodby Dael Orlandersmith,” says Coleman. “Dael is one of the most celebrated African American playwrights, an Obie Award winner and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She is one of the most extraordinary artists I’ve had an opportunity to produce and work with over the years and we are delighted that she will perform her profound one-woman show sharing the stories and interviews from Ferguson, Missouri.

ABOUT THE PLAY:

After the death of Michael Brown shook the nation to its core, Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie Award winner Dael Orlandersmith set out to explore the social unrest in Ferguson, Missouri that followed. Using hundreds of interviews she conducted herself, Orlandersmith created eight fictional characters to represent the broad spectrum of perspectives that continue to define the city and our country at large.

Discover why she’s been called “one of the country’s top talents for solo performance” (Time Out Chicago) as she embodies people from all sides of the controversy in this mesmerizing, fluidly poetic piece. Go on a gripping, emotional journey and see firsthand “the potential of art to reach across cultural boundaries and bring us all closer together” (TheaterMania).

 

Choir Boy

By Tarell Alvin McCraney

Directed by Timothy Douglas

April 10 – May 10, 2020 (Opens April 17) | Space Theatre

“Tarell Alvin McCraney is an Academy Award-winning writer for the movie Moonlight. He is one of the most gifted playwrights in theatre and he has created a unique, inspiring story,” said Coleman. “When I first saw Choir Boyin New York, I thought, ‘I haven’t seen this story on stage before.’ It was an invitation into somebody’s journey to express himself, and I think it’s a beautiful way to end the season.”

ABOUT THE PLAY:

Pharus doesn’t fit in at The Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys. Despite embodying the strong, ethical morals the school seeks to ingrain in its black students, being gay has made him an outsider within its hallowed halls. But this year, his talent and perseverance have paid off with a chance to lead the prestigious choir, a position where he may finally shake the dogged bullying by his fellow classmates. Featuring gorgeous gospel music, you’ll want to raise your voice and cheer as one student boldly stands up to the traditions that seek to silence his voice.

This soaring coming-of-age musical drama was the Broadway debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight), whose deeply human storytelling illuminates the chaotic collision of masculinity, tradition and self-discovery on the path to adulthood.

 

Theatre Company Tickets and Subscriptions:

Renewing and new subscribers have the first opportunity to reserve tickets. Subscription packages are now available online at denvercenter.org/theatrecompany or by calling 303.893.4100. Subscribers enjoy savings up to 31% off single ticket prices, free ticket exchanges, payment plans, priority offers to added attractions, discounted extra tickets, dedicated VIP hotline, and the best seats at the best prices. Single ticket on-sale date will be announced at a later time.

Patrons with a 2019/20 DCPA Subscription Package will have priority access to purchase Hamilton tickets prior to the public on-sale and all additional details regarding Hamilton will be announced at a later date.

Due to the nature of live performance, all productions, prices and dates are subject to change.