The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Blog

Posts tagged Kent Haruf

New Denver Center season: The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Christopher Durang, Lord Of The Flies and more

We asked members of the Denver Center Theatre Company family to help introduce the 2014-15 season. Our guests include Kent Thompson, Bruce Sevy, Christy Montour-Larson, Sam Gregory, Charlie Miller, Emily Tarquin, Charlie Korman and Brianna Firestone. Video by John Moore.

By John Moore and Alexandra Griesmer

The Denver Center Theatre Company’s 2014-15 season, which includes the previously announced launching of the newly re-imagined classic Broadway musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, also includes Lord of the Flies and the company’s first staging of a Christopher Durang play in its 36-year history, it was announced today.

The eight-show season, which opens Sept. 26, is entirely new to Denver audiences. It includes the world premieres of Appoggiatura, the tender story of an unusual American family that travels to Venice to become lost … and found, written by Pulitzer Prize-nominated James Still; and Benediction, which will complete Kent Haruf’s Plainsong trilogy. That’s a series of homespun stories set in the small fictional ranching town of Holt, Colorado, and adapted for the stage by Eric Schmiedl. Both plays were introduced to Denver audiences with staged readings at the Denver Center’s recent Colorado New Play Summit in February.

Summit Spotlight: ‘Benediction’

By John Moore

Set in the high plains of Eastern Colorado, Benediction completes the trilogy of playwright Eric Schmiedl’s stage adaptations of the popular novels by Kent Haruf.

Following Plainsong and Eventide, Benediction introduces audiences to new characters at the crossroads in the fictional town of Holt. Among them are dying old man who dreams of a reconciliation with a son he violently chased out of town more than 30 years before; a young orphan girl who is befriended by an elderly woman and her daughter; and a renegade big-city teacher who has been banished to Holt with his unhappy family.

While playing with the narrative form — Schmiedl largely sets aside the direct-address that marked his first two stage productions — there is something deeply familiar and resonating with the continuation of this Denver Center tradition. Though the characters are knew, the feeling is familiar.

Director Kent Thompson, whose commitment to bringing Haruf’s works to the stage dates back to 2006, describes Benediction as “an Our Town for our times.” 

Here’s our inside look at the making of this epic new work that rounds out the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit.

Featured in this video are Schmiedl and a cast of more than 15, including Mile Hartman, Joyce Cohen, Brian Shea, Lynnda Ferguson, Billie McBride, Tara Falk, Michael Santo and Tricia Moreland.

Favorite line: Lorraine: “You are not afraid … to be alone with him?”

Mary: “Oh, honey. This is my husband. I’ve been with this man most of my life. I know him better than I know anybody else in the world. There’s nothing here to scare me.”

Video by John Moore.

Please enjoy our other 2014 Summit Spotlight videos:

The Comparables



Victory Jones and the Incredible One Woman Band

Summit Soliloquies, Day 7: Eric Schmiedl

By John Moore

Today, we continue “Summit Soliloquies,” a week-long video series leading up to the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit. Here, playwrights past and present talk to you about writing, the Denver Center, the Summit and more.

Part 7: Eric Schmiedl, whose “Plainsong Trilogy” culminates with his adaptation of acclaimed novelist Kent Haruf’s “Benediction,” which will be read at the 2014 Summit at noon on Sunday, Feb. 9 in the Space Theatre.

Photos: 2014 Colorado New Play Summit, Day 1 


"Victory Jones" Director Wendy C. Goldberg and actor Ben Morrow

By John Moore

The 2014 Colorado New Play Summit opens Friday, but the work began in earnest today as the casts and creative teams for all five new readings gathered, met … and got to work.

Now in its ninth year, the Colorado New Play Summit has become one of the most important new-play festivals in America. Last year, four Summit readings earned their way onto the 2013-14 season.

2014 Colorado New Play Summit will complete “Plainsong” trilogy


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.