The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Blog

Posts tagged Chay Yew

Director Chay Yew: Think of “black odyssey” as “Field of Dreams”

By John Moore

Chay Yew, director of the Denver Center Theatre Company’s “black odyssey,” understands the “Hyphenated American” — he even wrote a collection of plays by that name. Born in Singapore and now running the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, Yew is perhaps uniquely situated to understand other hyphenated Americans whose stories remain half-told … and half-heard.

“We have so much catching up to do,” said Yew. “We have so much to learn.”

Because of the country’s rapidly changing ethnic makeup, Yew said, “Race is no longer that siloed here. To be an American is a reflection of all of its diversities.” Or should be.

Photos: Opening night of ‘black odyssey’

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Dr. Vincent G. Harding (center), civil-rights leader, teacher, scholar, engaged citizen, and seeker, is especially noted for his decades of social justice work, as well as his close association with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is joined by “black odyssey” playwright Marcus Gardley, left, and director Chay Yew. Other opening-night guests included Art Jones and artist.

By John Moore

Last night was the opening performance of the world premiere play black odyssey by Marcus Gardley. This Denver Center Theatre Company commission uses Homer’s The Odyssey as a framework for exploring generations of African-American history up to the present day. The cast includes Jason Bowen, Tony Todd, Cleavant Derricks, Kim Staunton, Eric Lockley, Brenda Pressley, Shamika Cotton, Eugene Fleming and Sequoiah Hippolyte, and plays through Feb. 16 in the Space Theatre. Call 303-893-4100 or go to www.denvercenter.org. Photos by John Moore.

It’s opening night of ‘black odyssey’!

We’re putting all the pieces in place for tonight’s opening performance of the world premiere play black odyssey. This Denver Center commission uses Homer’s The Odyssey as a framework for exploring generations of African-American history up to the present day. It stars Tony Todd, Cleavant Derricks and Kim Staunton and plays through Feb. 16 in the Space Theatre. Call 303-893-4100 or go to the Denver Center’s ticketing page. Photo by John Moore. To see our production photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen, click here.

Tony Todd: “Candyman” clamps his hook into Denver Center stage

Meet the cast, episode 49: Tony Todd, star of “Candyman” and “Platoon” is making his Denver Center debut in the world-premiere drama, “black odyssey,” playing Jan. 17 through Feb. 16.

By John Moore

Whether commanding the silver screen or stalking the stage, Tony Todd always seems larger than life.

To moviegoers, Todd was loved and loathed as The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand. In the Denver Center Theatre Company’s new world-premiere play black odyssey, Todd’s 6-foot-5 frame and menacing voice strike fear into the hearts of gods and audiences alike as he declares to Deus, “As long as (my son) is in pain, so will your great nephew, Ulysses!”

Todd plays Paw Sidin, god of the sea and king of the fish. That’s pronounced “Poseidon” (get it?) in Marcus Gardley’s inventive reimagining of Homer’s classic, “The Odyssey.”

What exactly is happening here? All we can tell you for now is that there is some beautiful and evocative work going on behind the scenes in preparation for the Denver Center Theatre Company’s upcoming world premiere staging of “black odyssey” that you are simply going to have to see to believe. Written by Marcus Gardley and directed by the acclaimed Chay Yew, this re-imagining of Homer’s “The Odyssey” centers on a black soldier returning home from a harrowing tour in Afghanistan. It fuses modern reality, humor and song with ancient myth. It opens Jan. 17 in the Space Theatre. Photo by John Moore.

What exactly is happening here? All we can tell you for now is that there is some beautiful and evocative work going on behind the scenes in preparation for the Denver Center Theatre Company’s upcoming world premiere staging of “black odyssey” that you are simply going to have to see to believe. Written by Marcus Gardley and directed by the acclaimed Chay Yew, this re-imagining of Homer’s “The Odyssey” centers on a black soldier returning home from a harrowing tour in Afghanistan. It fuses modern reality, humor and song with ancient myth. It opens Jan. 17 in the Space Theatre. Photo by John Moore.

'black odyssey': So this is happening …

One of the fun ongoing stories we’ll be telling you about the Denver Center Theatre Company’s upcoming world premiere production of ‘black odyssey’ is how our tech experts (texperts?) transform this blue 1971 Cadillac coup deville into a gold vessel that you will have to see to believe. Stay tuned. We’ll be telling you how it happens in photos, words and video. The play opens for previews on Jan. 17.

'black odyssey'

By Marcus Gardley; directed by Chay Yew

First day of rehearsal for ‘black odyssey’

Today was the first day of rehearsal for the  Denver Center Theatre Company’s world premiere of playwright Marcus Gardley’s “black odyssey.” It magically recasts Homer’s Odysseus as a black soldier returning home from the Gulf War. The play runs from Jan. 17 through Feb. 16 in the Space Theatre.

From left: music composer Jaret Landon Williams, lighting designer Charles MacLeod, director of new-play development Bruce K. Sevy, Gardley and director Chay Yew.  Call 303-894-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org.

2014 Colorado New Play Summit will complete “Plainsong” trilogy

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Jamie Ann Romero and Quincy Dunn-Baker read “The Legend of Georgia McBride” at the 2013 Colorado New Play Summit. Photo by Kyle Malone.

By John Moore

The Denver Center Theatre Company’s 9th annual Colorado New Play Summit will include a reading based on the novel Benediction, completing author Kent Haruf’s trilogy of rural Colorado tales, all  adapted for the stage by Eric Schmiedl.

The Colorado New Play Summit previously introduced Haruf’s “Plainsong” in 2007 and “Eventide” in 2009, both of which went on to full productions on Denver Center mainstage seasons.