Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Vineyard Theatre's 2020-21 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award to be Presented to John J. Caswell, Jr.

The award will be presented at The Vineyard’s Emerging Artists Virtual Salon on Wednesday, October 21 at 5:00 PM ET Via Zoom.

Vineyard Theatre's 2020-21 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award to be Presented to John J. Caswell, Jr.

Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern have announced that John J. Caswell, Jr. is the recipient of the 2020-21 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award. Caswell will be presented with the award at The Vineyard's reimagined Emerging Artists Virtual Salon on Wednesday, October 21 at 5:00 PM ET via Zoom. Caswell is the 13th recipient of Vineyard Theatre's Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, named in honor of playwright and teacher Paula Vogel, whose plays Indecent, How I Learned To Drive (Pulitzer Prize for Drama), and The Long Christmas Ride Home premiered at The Vineyard. The residency-based award is given each year to an emerging writer of exceptional promise, and comes with a cash prize and artistic development support.

John J. Caswell, Jr. is a queer, Mexican-American playwright originally from Phoenix and a current fellow in Juilliard's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. He is the winner of the 2020 Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, a 2019 Relentless Award Finalist, a 2018 MacDowell Fellow, a 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm Creative Resident, a current member of Play Group at Ars Nova, and the 2017 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow.

His work is cited frequently as an example of queer-themed theatre, most recently referenced in articles appearing in Theatre Topics, The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, and the European Journal of Comparative American Studies. Included as a consummate demonstration of auto-ethnographic theatre, his play SHOTS: A Love Story was published as part of Johnny Saldaña's book Ethnotheatre: Research From Page to Stage published by Left Coast Press. He earned his MFA from Hunter College.

Previous recipients of the award include Charly Evon Simpson, Jeremy O. Harris, Antoinette Nwandu, Kate Tarker, Boo Killebrew, Clare Barron, Christopher Chen, Erika Sheffer, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Kara Lee Corthron, Rajiv Joseph, and Tarell Alvin McCraney.

The award will be presented to Mr. Caswell on October 21 at The Vineyard's annual Emerging Artists fall benefit event. Following the award presentation, and continuing with tradition, Charly Evon Simpson (2019 Paula Vogel Award recipient) will sit down with Caswell for a virtual Q and A. Tickets to the event are available at

The Vineyard's Paula Vogel Playwriting Award is made possible through the generosity of The Tournesol Project.

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; and is premiering on Broadway in 2021. Her most recent production at The Vineyard, Indecent, moved to Broadway in 2017, marking Vogel's Broadway debut and winning two Tony Awards. Ms. Vogel's play The Long Christmas Ride Home, also directed by Mark Brokaw, premiered at The Vineyard in 2001. Her other plays include A Civil War Christmas, The Mineola Twins, Hot 'N' Throbbing, The Baltimore Waltz, Desdemona, Baby Makes Seven, and The Oldest Profession.

The Emerging Artists Virtual Salon celebrates Vineyard Theatre's commitment to nurturing the next generation of theatre artists. The Vineyard's artistic development and education programs provide artists with support and resources to develop new plays and musicals, as well as free in-school and after school theatre arts programs for public high school students that normally culminates in the REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival, in collaboration with Developing Artists. The theatre awards the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and Colman Domingo Award annually, and the Susan Stroman Directing Award biennially.

All tickets for this year's Emerging Artists Salon are $500, with sponsorship opportunities available at $5,000. Capacity is limited. For more information about the event, please contact Trent Anderson at 646-931-4727 or email For more information about Vineyard Theatre, visit

The Vineyard's 2020-2021 season artists include Ngozi Anyanwu, David Cale, Kirsten Childs, Lucas Hnath, Marin Ireland, Bill Irwin, Peter Mark Kendall, Jared Mezzocchi, Deirdre O'Connell, Polly Pen, Tori Sampson, Madeline Sayet, Leigh Silverman, Tyler Thomas, Les Waters, Reggie D. White and Whitney White, among others.

The Vineyard's 2020-2021 Artists-in-Residence include The Commissary, Michael R. Jackson, Charly Evon Simpson, York Walker and Whitney White.

Photo Credit: John Keon

Related Articles View More Off-Broadway Stories

More Hot Stories For You