Daphne Rubin-Vega, Brandon Victor Dixon and More Sign on for REBEL VERSES

By: Jul. 17, 2018

Vineyard Theatre and Developing Artists will partner again to present Developing Artists' REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival, Thursday through Saturday August 9-18 at Vineyard Theatre (108 E. 15th St.). Since the festival's inception in 2001, REBEL VERSES has provided young artists, ages 13-19, with the opportunity to collaborate and network with their peers and prominent artists, and to showcase their original work. This two-week event, now in its second season Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre, will feature over one hundred artists and performers from ten young-artist companies hailing from all five boroughs of New York City and beyond.

Each night will include a prominent Guest Artist joining the festival for a special performance. Stage and screen star Daphne Rubin-Vega will kick off the festival on Thursday, August 9 and Laura Gómez ("Orange is the New Black") joins August 16. Additional performers include Emmy Award-nominee and Vineyard Theatre Board Member Brandon Victor Dixon (NBC's "Jesus Christ Superstar," HAMILTON), Emmy Award-winners Kevin Mambo (FELA!) and Joe Morton ("Scandal," Vineyard Board Member), Flaco Navajo (poet/actor/singer); performance dates and additional artists to be announced. Week One will feature performances by young-artist companies The Door (NYC), Alumni Theatre Company (Pittsburgh, PA), and The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (NYC). Week Two will feature MCC Youth Company (NYC), Epic Next (NYC), 6th Borough Slam (Jersey City, NJ), and Girl Be Heard (Brooklyn). Developing Artists and Vineyard Theatre Student Ensemble will perform on all nights of the Festival.

Born out of a need in New York City for new voices in theatre, REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival is a journey into the unapologetic, unrestrained creativity of the next generation.

"There is a void in our community that Developing Artists fills by establishing a creative home for young people and instilling in them a sense of confidence and freedom of expression. Growing up in the New York public school system, I wished for an artistic outlet that would give voice to my culture and experience," says spokesperson Daphne Rubin-Vega, who also serves on Developing Artists' Advisory Board. "The positive impact Developing Artists has on both the performing arts community and our city as a whole is immeasurable. REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival is a hotbed of new forms of learning through the arts, empowering young people to become successful artists and allowing them to recognize that their stories are a part of the fabric of this world."

Developing Artists launched in 1999, led by Artistic Director Jill DeArmon and Executive Director Jinn S. Kim. DeArmon and Kim joined The Vineyard in 2015-16 as Education Directors for The Vineyard's Education program, now in its 19th year serving local public high school students and teachers. Developing Artists and Vineyard Theatre are thrilled by the synergy of their combined Arts-Education efforts, which are focused on student empowerment and the development of writing and collaboration skills, culminating in creating new works for REBEL VERSES.

"The Vineyard and Developing Artists share a mission to empower young artists to create original work for the stage, and to know their voices have value," says Sarah Stern, Artistic Director of Vineyard Theatre. "We are excited to build on this shared vision and to once again partner on REBEL VERSES. Together we seek to create more opportunities for young artists who are speaking powerfully to their experiences and to our current moment, and to help their voices reach and inspire an even wider audience."

As a home for young artists and an incubator for new voices in theatre, both Developing Artists and REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival boast a roster of alumni who are now working professionals in the performing arts. Among these artists are Raul Castillo ("Looking"), Sean Carvajal (JESUS HOPPED THE 'A' TRAIN) Alex Flores (The Maze Runner), Lexi Lawson (HAMILTON), Dominique Morisseau (Playwright THE DETROIT PROJECTS). In 2007, The Vineyard produced HISTORY OF THE WORD, by Developing Artists alumnus Ben Snyder, in collaboration with students at Washington Irving High School and director and Vineyard board member Joe Morton.

Performances of REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival take place at Vineyard Theatre (108 E. 15th St.) beginning at 7:00 PM each night: Thursday, August 9; Friday, August 10; and Saturday, August 11, Thursday, August 16; Friday, August 17; and Saturday, August 18

Tickets from $5-$25. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit www.vineyardtheatre.org or call the box office at 212-353-0303.

Developing Artists is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for underdog teens to reach their full potential through a practical application of the performing arts. Since 1999, Developing Artists has helped kids find their place and their connection to their community through participation in the arts. Developing Artists' signature innovation is the creation of REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival that unites an underserved segment of the theater community; one that celebrates the voices of young artists by inviting the best youth performing arts companies around to participate in an annual two-week festival. Developing Artists' Board of Directors includes David Zayas (Fox: "Gotham," Showtime: "Dexter"), Ana Ortiz (ABC: "Ugly Betty," Lifetime: "Devious Maids") and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (BETWEEN RIVERSIDE & CRAZY, Co-Creator & Executive Producer of "The Get Down"), who all believe passionately in the organization's mission.

Vineyard Theatre is an Off-Broadway theatre company dedicated to developing and producing bold new plays and musicals by both emerging and established artists. The theater is committed to creating an artistic home for daring and diverse artists and to nurturing their unique voices. For over 35 years, the company has sought to produce work that challenges all of us to see ourselves and our world in new ways, and that pushes the boundaries of what theatre can be and do.

Vineyard Theatre's education programs serve over 700 New York City public high school students annually, culminating in the REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival in collaboration with Developing Artists. The Vineyard has been honored for its leadership in our Union Square community and education programs serving NYC public high school students with the Harvest in the Square Award and the Cus D'Amato Community Service Award. The Vineyard has consistently premiered provocative, groundbreaking works; most recently, the world-premiere of David Cale's HARRY CLARKE, directed by Leigh Silverman and starring Billy Crudup, which played a sold-out extended run, won a Drama Desk, Obie, Lucille Lortel, Off Broadway Alliance and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and was released as an audio play on Audible; Jordan Harrison's THE AMATEURS, directed by Oliver Butler; and THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE by John Kander and David Thompson, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman. The Vineyard has also premiered Paula Vogel and Rebecca Taichman's INDECENT, which transferred to Broadway last season, winning two Tony Awards; Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Pulitzer Prize finalist GLORIA; DOT by Colman Domingo; Nicky Silver's THE LYONS; Marx, Lopez and Whitty's Tony Award-winning musical AVENUE Q; Kander and Ebb's THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS; Bell and Bowen's [title of show]; Paula Vogel's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (1998 Pulitzer Prize); Edward Albee's THREE TALL WOMEN (1994 Pulitzer Prize); Lanie Robertson's LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL, Tarell Alvin McCraney's WIG OUT!; Becky Mode's FULLY COMMITTED; Jenny Schwartz' GOD'S EAR; Will Eno's MIDDLETOWN; Michael Mayer and Peter Lerman's BROOKLYNITE, and many more. The Vineyard's Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and Susan Stroman Directing Award recognize and support emerging artists with tailored residencies. Vineyard Theatre has been honored with special Drama Desk, Obie, and Lucille Lortel Awards for its contribution to the theatre.

REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival is funded in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the NYC & Company Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and funding from Creative Engagement administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Additional support is provided by the Miranda Family Fund of the Hispanic Federation and the Tiger Baron Foundation.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos


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