Arts funding and how it is meted out is a hot-button issue these days — especially if you’re a starving artist seeking a grant. In her comedy The Most Deserving, which opens today in the Denver Center Theatre Company’s Ricketson Theatre, playwright Catherine Trieschmann puts those big questions into a blender with a bunch of well-drawn characters who will make audiences laugh as much as they make them think. Inspired by the kind of overblown civic squabbles she regularly reads about in the paper in her home town of Hays, Kansas, Trieschmann — who playfully notes that her whole book club is coming to Denver to see the play — says it’s basically a “comedy of small-town government” brought to life by “complex, interesting and funny characters who are perhaps a bit blinded to their own prejudices and narrow vision.”
Those characters, from hard-edged arts administrator Jolene (“She runs the organization like the mayor of Chicago,” says Trieschmann. “She likes to crash and burn her enemies”) to the possible grant recipients — an unassuming retired mechanic, Dwayne, and Everett, the trash-to-treasure outsider artist who’s been “discovered” by a starstruck local art historian — are the real strength of the play. And since The Most Deserving is lighthearted — and fictional — the playwright will still be able to show her face in Hays.
See The Most Deserving at the Ricketson, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, daily except Mondays through November 17; for tickets, starting at $35, go to denvercenter.org or call 303-893-4100.
Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 1:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 11. Continues through Nov. 17, 2013