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Paula Vogel, Greg Pierce et al. Set for Vineyard's Paula Vogel Playwriting Award Luncheon with Linda Lavin 6/21

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Best Actress Tony nominee Linda Lavin will be joined by an array of notable playwrights, directors and actors -- Vineyard Theatre artists all -- when she hosts The Vineyard's 5th annual luncheon presentation of the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award to emerging playwright Erika Sheffer (RUSSIAN TRANSPORT), on Thursday, June 21 (12 p.m. – 2 p.m.) at the National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South) in Manhattan.

Along with Ms. Lavin -- a 2012 Best Actress Tony Award nominee and Obie Award winner for Nicky Silver's comedy THE LYONS, which had its world-premiere at The Vineyard last fall -- luncheon attendees will include the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel along with playwrights Greg Pierce (THE LANDING) and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (NEIGHBORS), actors Judy Kuhn (ELI'S COMIN'), Colman Domingo and Sharon Washington (both of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS) and Li Jun Li and Matt Dellapina (both of OUTSIDE PEOPLE), joined by directors Terry Kinney (AFTER ASHLEY) and Anne Kauffman (GOD'S EAR). Also attending will be Vineyard Theatre Artistic Director Douglas Aibel, Co-Artistic Director Sarah Stern, Executive Producer Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell and Managing Director Rebecca Habel.

Tickets ($250) are available to mingle and dine with Vineyard artists in the intimate and beautiful setting of the National Arts Club by contacting Veronica Bainbridge at 212 353 3366 ext. 242 or via email at vbainbridge@vineyardtheatre.org.

Named in honor of playwright and teacher Paula Vogel -- whose plays THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME and HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (Pulitzer Prize for Drama) debuted at the Vineyard -- the Paula Vogel Award is presented annually by The Vineyard to an emerging playwright of exceptional promise. The residency-based award comes with a cash prize and artistic development support over the 2012-13 season.

Proceeds from the luncheon benefit The Vineyard's artistic and education programs. The Paula Vogel Playwriting Award is made possible through the generosity of the Tournesol Project.

Erika Sheffer's first play, RUSSIAN TRANSPORT received its world premiere at The New Group in January 2012, directed by Scott Elliott. The play was nominated for the John Gassner Award by the Outer Critics Circle, which is presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright. Her work has been read at Naked Angels, Primary Stages, The Woodshed Collective and Personal Space Theatrics. She has performed original pieces at Upright Citizens Brigade and Dixon Place. Ms. Sheffer received a fellowship from SPACE on Ryder Farm to develop her newest play and is an alum of The Movement Theater Company's New Works/Moving Up Writers Group. Selected acting credits include RED LIGHT WINTER directed by Adam Rapp, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, directed by Mark Lamos, as well as several productions for The Folger and The American Shakespeare Center. Ms. Sheffer holds a B.F.A. in Drama from Syracuse University.

The Paula Vogel Award's first recipient was playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play WIG OUT! was a popular and critical success when it debuted at The Vineyard in 2008. Rajiv Joseph, author of the play BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO last season on Broadway, was the Paula Vogel Award's second recipient, followed by Kara Lee Corthron in 2010, author of the play ETCHED IN SKIN ON A SUNLIT NIGHT and JULIUS BY DESIGN. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, author of the play NEIGHBORS and an adaptation of THE OCTAROON, was last year's recipient.

When the Paula Vogel Award was established, Ms. Vogel said, "They say a person is judged by the company he or she keeps, and I am so honored by my association with the Vineyard Theatre -- they are a company I always want to keep. I am doubly honored: honored by having the award in my name from The Vineyard, and honored to be blessing a new generation of rising playwrights. The Vineyard fulfills the promise of its name: in planting the seeds of new plays, we as audiences reap the harvest."

Paula Vogel's long and cherished relationship with the Vineyard began with the theatre's acclaimed production of HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, directed by Mark Brokaw; the play won the Pulitzer Prize, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards for Best Play. THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME, also directed by Mark Brokaw, premiered at The Vineyard in 2001. Ms. Vogel's other plays include THE BALTIMORE WALTZ, THE MINEOLA TWINS, THE OLDEST PROFESSION, HOT N THROBBING and A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS.

One of the nation's leading non-profit theatre companies dedicated to new plays and musicals and bold programming, The Vineyard has consistently premiered provocative, groundbreaking works including the Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Edward Albee's THREE TALL WOMEN, Nicky Silver's PTERODACTYLS and RAISED IN CAPTIVITY, the Laura Nyro musical ELI'S COMIN', Gina Gionfriddo's AFTER ASHLEY, Tarell Alvin McCraney´s WIG OUT!, The Civilians' THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY, A BOY AND HIS SOUL, written and performed by Colman Domingo, Adam Rapp´s THE METAL CHILDREN, Will Eno's MIDDLETOWN and Christopher Shinn's PICKED. This season, The Vineyard has premiered Nicky Silver's THE LYONS with Linda Lavin and Dick Latessa, Zayd Dohrn's OUTSIDE PEOPLE and NOW. HERE. THIS. by the cast/creators of [title of show]. Most recently, The Vineyard presented a developmental lab production of the new musical THE LANDING with music by John Kander and book and lyrics by Greg Pierce.

The Vineyard produced the world premiere of the musical THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS – with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, book by David Thompson, with direction and choreography Susan Stroman – in March 2010 at The Vineyard and then on Broadway. Vineyard Theatre is a recipient of the Tony Award for the musical AVENUE Q and continues as producer of the musical´s current production at New World Stages in New York. The Vineyard also produced the musical [title of show] both off and on Broadway and is represented on Broadway this season with its production of THE LYONS at the Cort Theatre.

In addition to its Tony Award nomination and the Obie Award for Ms. Lavin, THE LYONS received 3 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, two Drama Desk Award nominations and two Drama League Award nominations, along with 5 Best of Off-Broadway TINA Awards: Vineyard Theatre Best Season (Non-Profit), Best Off-Broadway Play THE LYONS, Best Actress Play Linda Lavin, Best Lighting Design NOW. HERE. THIS. Jeff Croiter and Grant Yeager; Best Long-Running Off-Broadway Show AVENUE Q.

For more information, visit www.vineyardtheatre.org.

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