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Vineyard Theatre Hosts Emerging Artists Luncheon With Colman Domingo


Donna Hanover and Colman Domingo will host a luncheon on Thursday, June 9 at the National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South in Manhattan). The event will celebrate and raise funds for Vineyard Theatre's artistic and education programs. Playwright Branden Jacobs Jenkins will be presented with the Vineyard Theatre's 4th annual Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, given each year to a gifted emerging playwright.

On hand to celebrate the honor will be the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel; former Paula Vogel Award winner Rajiv Joseph, author of BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO now on Broadway; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage; stars of the Vineyard Theatre's world premiere of the Tony-nominated musical THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, Brandon Victor-Dixon and Sharon Washington, along with the musical's Tony-nominated book writer David Thompson; actresses Kathleen Chalfant and Betsy Aidem; playwright Anne Washburn, Glenn Davis from the cast of BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO, and [title of show]'s Michael Berresse, Heidi Blickenstaff and Jeff Bowen, who are currently back at the Vineyard with their new work NOW.HERE.THIS.

An actress, journalist, and the former first lady of New York City, Donna Hanover recently appeared in The Vineyard's world-premiere production of Christopher Shinn's play PICKED. Mr. Domingo, a Tony nominee for his performance in the musical THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, appeared in The Vineyard's world-premiere of the Kander and Ebb musical as well as in his solo show, A BOY AND HIS SOUL.

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 Playwriting 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 2011-12 season. Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins is the author of the play NEIGHBORS and an adaptation of THE OCTOROON.

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 Foundation.

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 was the Vogel Award's second recipient, followed last year by Kara Lee Corthron, author of the plays ETCHED IN SKIN ON A SUNLIT NIGHT, LADYBUG GONNA GETCHA and JULIUS BY DESIGN.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a Brooklyn-based playwright, dramaturg, and performer, who has spent the past year living in Berlin on a Fulbright Fellowship. His work has been seen at The Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, PS122, Soho Rep, New Dramatists, The Matrix Theatre, Theater Bielefeld in Bielefeld, Germany and The National Theatre in London and he is working on commissions from Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3 and Yale Repertory Theater. He is a former New York Theatre Workshop Playwriting fellow, an alum of the Soho Rep Writers/Directors Lab and Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, and a member of the Ars Nova Playgroup. His honors include a Princess Grace Award, the Dorothy Strelsin Playwriting Fellowship, and a fellowship in playwriting from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He also holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU.

About the selection of Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins for this year's honor, Mr. Aibel and Ms. Stern state, "We are delighted to present the 2011-12 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award to Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Branden is a young playwright who brings an original and powerful voice to his work in the theatre, with plays that are ambitious and intimate, funny and heartfelt. His work explores big questions - about identity, race, performance, change, America - with creative and intellectual vigor."

When the Paula Vogel Award was first created, 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, and was praised by Ben Brantley of The New York Times as "The most visually exquisite production of the season. It's enough to make even diehard agnostics believe in the mystical powers of drama." Subsequent to their productions at the Vineyard, both DRIVE and LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE have gone on to numerous productions at U.S. theatres and around the world. Ms. Vogel's other plays include THE BALTIMORE WALTZ, THE MINEOLA TWINS, THE OLDEST PROFESSION, HOT N THROBBING and A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS. After more than 20 years heading the MFA Playwriting program at Brown University, Ms. Vogel is presently the Chair of the MFA Playwriting Program at the Yale School of Drama.

Vineyard Theatre is one of the nation's leading non-profit theatre companies dedicated to new plays and musicals and bold programming. The company is presently producing a Lab Production of NOW. HERE. THIS., the newest work from the creators/cast of the hit musical [title of show].

For more information or to purchase tickets to the Emerging Artists Luncheon on Thursday, June 9 at the National Arts Club, please contact Veronica Bainbridge at 212 353 3366 ext 242 or via email at

Vineyard Theatre, located at 108 E. 15 St., is one of the most popular cultural destinations in the Union Square area. For performance and schedule information, please call The Vineyard's box office at 212 353 0303 or visit


Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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