Best Production of a Comedy - 2012
American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose
American Night tells the story of immigrants in America through a crazed mix of skits, historical references, inspired parody and moments of pathos and insight. As the play opens, the protagonist is studying for his citizenship test, and as he reads, a phantasmagoric tapestry of historical events unfolds. He witnesses the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 — under which huge swaths of Mexico's land were lost to the United States — and runs into such figures as Malcolm X and Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. He gives Sacagawea, the Native American woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their voyage, a bright-green pair of Nikes and advises her to "just do it." The play explores the evils of racism with serious intelligence and irrepressible high spirits, and the Denver Center Theatre Company's joyous, driving production was first-rate, from the fluid tech to the balls-out energy of the cast.