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Steamboat Magazine

In the Limelight

05/17/2022 12:00PM ● By Shannon Ross

A staged reading of "Black Mountain Women" from the 2019 Colorado New Play Festival. | Photo courtesy of Colorado New Play Festival/Bruce Thayer

Steamboat Springs, CO - No costumes. No sets. Simply superb theater. That’s what the Colorado New Play Festival brings to the Yampa Valley. 

The festival supports playwrights, providing an environment to see their words come to life off of the page. This summer, the festival features the work of five playwrights. 

When producing director Jim Steinberg reviews theater company submissions, he looks for a good mix, considering diverse locations and voices, as well as their stage potential. 

“A play has many mothers,” says executive producer Lori Steinberg. “We’re just one of them.” 

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights, Fulbright scholars and artists from around the country have participated in the New Play Festival during its 25 years. Of the companies that have traveled to the Yampa Valley, “Over 70 percent of the plays have gone on to be produced,” executive director Dagny McKinley says. 

A public reading of this year’s scripts is slated for Friday and Saturday, June 17-18. 

“Walden” by KJ Sanchez explores both isolation and connection through dispatches from space. Sanchez, who is the head of the graduate playwriting/directing area at The University of Texas at Austin, ponders social issues on Earth from one young woman’s perspective on the moon. 

Idris Goodwin’s “Parental Advisory” explores the intricacies of obscenity in hip-hop music. A DJ and a rapper riff during the play, attempting to find an answer to the question, “When do you introduce your kids to the Wu-Tang Clan?” 

An unlikely comedic tale can be found in “A Million Tiny Pieces,” by Spenser Davis, which follows two journalists as they travel to Russia to sniff out the legal rights to the 1984 game “Tetris.” The Steinbergs call the play a “riotous piece, something light for those looking for comedy.” 

Liba Vaynberg’s “The Gett” hails from the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York. It is a tale set either 6,000 years or six days ago, about navigating the Jewish American experience after divorce. 

Playwright José Cruz González returns to the New Play Festival with “Under a Baseball Sky.” The story has deep roots in the Mexican-American community; the play is in both Spanish and English. 

The New Play Festival is a meeting ground for artists and community members alike. 

Individual and festival passes are available. Rehearsal readings are free and available to the public Monday-Thursday, June 13-16, at Colorado Mountain College. “The readings are a great opportunity to watch the creative process take shape,” McKinley says. 

Aspiring writers from The Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Colorado demonstrate their flare for wordplay during the festival’s kickoff “Playwright Slam” at Bud Werner Memorial Library. 

The Steinbergs say they enjoy giving playwrights the opportunity to enjoy Steamboat’s summer while collaborating for the stage, year after year. 

Learn more about the Colorado New Play Festival at