Part of what gets me excited about Denver's theater scene is its continuous support of new talent from around the country. That endeavor takes center stage (pun intended) during the Denver Center Theatre Company 's annual Colorado New Play Summit  (February 8–10, 2013). The weekend is a showcase for both established and upcoming American playwrights; the public enjoys performances while sitting alongside professionals such as artistic directors, dramaturges, and more. The official lineup, which includes five staged readings and two world premieres, was announced yesterday.
The Most Deserving: Georgia-born playwright Catherine Trieschmann takes a comedic look at what happens when arts and politics collide as a small-town Kansas art council is charged with awarding $20,000 to a deserving local artist.
The Legend of Georgia McBride: Casey is having a tough time. The rent's due but he's broke; his wife just learned that she's pregnant; and his boss replaces his Elvis impersonator act with a drag show. Music and humor converge in Matthew Lopez's latest.
The Vast In-Between: The Denver Center commissioned this piece by Laura Eason, which shines the spotlight on relationships in modern economic realities. Cate's marriage takes a hit when her unemployed husband refuses to settle in his job search. At the same time, it's discovered that the man down the street has had two families in two different cities for years. Cate may just find herself drawn into her own double life.
Just Like Us: Based on the book by the first lady of Colorado, Helen Thorpe , this adaptation follows four Latina girls (two who are documented, two who are not) as they navigate high school and beyond.
Black Odyssey: Homer's Odysseus is recast as a black soldier returning home from a tour in the Gulf War. Playwright Marcus Gardley meshes old-world myths with contemporary reality as Greek archetypes take new forms.
Grace, or the Art of Climbing: A hit at last year's Summit, Lauren Feldman's story gets world premiere, full-stage treatment (pictured, above). Rock climbing becomes the axis for a youthful athlete facing doubt and depression as she trains for a world climbing competition.
Ed, Downloaded: The second (and final) full production and world premiere at this year's Summit comes from Michael Mitnick. Ed gets a second go at life when he's offered the chance to become immortal by having his brain downloaded. He can pick 10 memories to take with him into eternity—but when his girlfriend discovers they're memories of another woman, things take a dramatic turn.
Full summit passes are available now  for $225 (they include guaranteed seating at all readings, admission to two world premieres, meals, receptions, and hotel discounts). Tickets for individual readings go on sale in early January.
—Image courtesy of Kyle Malone
Follow assistant editor Daliah Singer on Twitter at @daliahsinger .