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Vineyard Theatre's Roth-Vogel New Play Commission Selects Eisa Davis as First Recipient

Eisa Davis is a writer, composer, and actress working on stage and screen.

Vineyard Theatre's Roth-Vogel New Play Commission Selects Eisa Davis as First Recipient

Vineyard Theatre Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern announced Eisa Davis as the first recipient of the Roth-Vogel New Play Commission launched in partnership with 12-time Tony Award-winning producer Daryl Roth and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, whose extraordinary collaborations with The Vineyard have spanned over two decades. Awarded annually to a mid- to late-career playwright to create and develop a new play with The Vineyard, this new commission initiative is dedicated to Roth's mother, Sylvia Connie Atkins, in the spirit of inspiring and supporting artists to be curious, brave and creative.

This commission was announced in Spring 2020 in lieu of the annual Vineyard Theatre gala that was not able to happen in person. In a joint statement Roth and Vogel said, "We both have a deep loving relationship with The Vineyard that began with How I Learned To Drive and was book-ended twenty years later with Indecent, and continues to this day with Drive's Broadway premiere. We are grateful that our friends at The Vineyard chose to honor us at the 2020 Gala, and when that was unable to happen, in its place we wanted to create something lasting and meaningful in appreciation of that recognition. We are proud to initiate the Roth-Vogel New Play Commission, to be given annually through Vineyard Theatre. We hope this will encourage and inspire work to emerge from these difficult times. Art matters."

Vineyard Theatre Artistic Directors Sarah Stern and Douglas Aibel add, "We are honored to partner with Daryl Roth and Paula Vogel to launch the Roth-Vogel New Play Commission at The Vineyard. With this new annual commission, we hope to recognize and invest in writers whose voices need more prominence in our changing world, and to support them with the time, space and attention to create the new work that they've hoped but not yet dared to write. We have admired Eisa Davis as an artist and person for years. In her plays, she illuminates the complexities of her characters' inner lives with passion, humor, intelligence, and honesty. Her voice is an original and necessary one in the theatre, and we are thrilled by the prospect of more stories that only she can tell."

Eisa Davis is a writer, composer, and actress working on stage and screen. A recipient of the 2020 Creative Capital Award, a Herb Alpert Awardee in Theater and an Obie winner for Sustained Excellence in Performance, Eisa was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play Bulrusher, and wrote and starred in the stage memoir Angela's Mixtape. Other plays include Paper Armor, Umkovu, Six Minutes, The History Of Light (Barrymore nomination), Warriors Don't Cry (adapted from the memoir by Melba Pattillo Beals), Ramp (Ruby Prize), Mushroom, and ||: Girls :||: Chance :||: Music :||:. A multivolume series of her plays will be published beginning this year by 53rd State Press. Collaborations include AFROFEMONONOMY // WORK THE ROOTS (Performance Space New York), Maze (The Shed), Hip Hop Anansi, Active Ingredients, and Cirque du Soleil's Crystal. She has recorded two albums of her original music, Something Else and Tinctures, and performed her songs at numerous venues in New York and across the country. Current projects include her music-theatre piece The Essentialisn't, the libretto for an opera adaptation of Bulrusher, and the songs for a musical version of Devil In A Blue Dress. An alumna of New Dramatists, Eisa has received awards and fellowships from the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Sundance, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Helen Merrill Foundation, Yaddo, MacDowell, UCross, Williams College, the Van Lier and Mellon Foundations, and Cave Canem. Eisa's acting work includes Kathleen Collins' Remembrance (Downtown Live), a work by Lynn Nottage on Theatre For One's virtual platform Here We Are, The Secret Life of Bees (AUDELCO Award), Kings (Drama League nomination), Julius Caesar (Shakespeare in the Park 2017), Carrie Mae Weems' Grace Notes, Dave Malloy and Rachel Chavkin's Preludes, The Cradle Will Rock, The Piano Lesson (Berniece / music director / composer), This, and Passing Strange. Television work includes "Kindred" (upcoming), "Extrapolations" (upcoming), "Mare of Easttown," "Pose," "Betty," "Succession," "Bluff City Law," "Rise," "God Friended Me," "The Looming Tower," "House of Cards," "Hart of Dixie," and "The Wire." Eisa wrote episodes for both seasons of Spike Lee's Netflix series "he's Gotta Have It", has co-written a couple episodes for the upcoming "Justified: City Primeval" on FX, and is creating a limited series around the Little Rock Nine. Eisa was born in Berkeley and lives in Brooklyn.

Daryl Roth is an award-winning producer whose mission is to champion thought-provoking, inspiring work onstage. She is honored to hold the singular distinction of producing 7 Pulitzer Prize-winning plays: Anna in the Tropics; August: Osage County (2008 Tony Award); Clybourne Park (2012 Tony Award); How I Learned to Drive; Proof (2001 Tony Award); Edward Albee's Three Tall Women; and Wit.

The proud recipient of 12 Tony Awards and London's Olivier Award, her over 125 productions both on and off Broadway include: The 2013 Tony winner for Best Musical, Kinky Boots, which ran for six years on Broadway and is presented on tour in the US and around the world; Larry Kramer's seminal play about the AIDS crisis, The Normal Heart (2011 Tony Award); Paula Vogel's award-winning play Indecent; Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron's international hit play Love, Loss, and What I Wore; and Gloria: A Life, a play about the iconic Gloria Steinem. Upcoming: Funny Girl; the new musical Between the Lines; and the Broadway premiere of Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive.

Daryl is a Trustee of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and served on the Board of Lincoln Center Theater for twenty years, where she remains the Co-Chair of the Patron Committee and an Honorary Trustee. Previously, she served on the Boards of the New York State Council on the Arts, The Sundance Institute, the Vineyard Theatre, and LAByrinth Theater Company. She actively supports a diverse group of charitable and cultural institutions, and is involved in LGBTQ+ rights causes, animal rights organizations, and numerous theatre, dance, public television, and cultural arts organizations.

The Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award annually honors a gifted theatre artist or organization, providing them with financial support as they develop new works in an artistic residency. The Daryl Roth Theatre, a landmark building on Manhattan's Union Square, is home to three distinct performance spaces.

Honors include The New Dramatists Outstanding Career Achievement Award; New York Living Landmarks Award; and the Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award. She is proud to have been inducted into the 2017 Theatre Hall of Fame and be named to Crain's 2019 "50 Most Powerful Women in New York."

Paula Vogel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose plays include Indecent (Tony Award nomination for Best Play), How I Learned to Drive (On Broadway this spring, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Lortel Prize, OBIE Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Awards for Best Play), The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot'n'Throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven, The Oldest Profession and A Civil War Christmas. In 2020, she founded the digital theatre series Bard at the Gate. Upcoming projects include The Mother Play commissioned by Second Stage and The Mark Taper Forum; an adaptation of They Shoot Horses Don't They, co-directed by Marianne Elliott and Steven Hoggett; a memoir; and a book on playwriting.

Honors include induction in the American Theatre Hall of Fame, the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lily Award, the Thornton Wilder Prize, the Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the William Inge Award, the Elliott Norton Award, a Susan Smith Blackburn Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Award, a TCG Residency Award, a Guggenheim, a Pew Charitable Trust Award, and fellowships and residencies at Sundance Theatre Lab, Hedgebrook, The Rockefeller Center's Bellagio Center, Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, and the Bunting. She is particularly proud of her Thirtini Award from 13P, and honored by three Awards in her name: the Paula Vogel Award for Playwrights given by the Vineyard Theatre, the Paula Vogel Award from the American College Theatre Festival, and the Paula Vogel mentorship program, curated by Quiara Hudes and Young Playwrights of Philadelphia.

Paula was playwright in residence at The Signature Theatre (2004-05 season), and Theatre Communications Group publishes six volumes of her work. Paula continues her playwriting intensives with community organizations, students, theater companies, subscribers and writers across the globe. She was the 2019 inaugural UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Hearst Theater Lab Initiative Distinguished Playwright-in-Residence and has recently taught at Sewanee, Shanghai Theatre Academy and Nanjing University, the Universities of Texas at El Paso and Austin, and the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. From 1984 to 2008, Paula Vogel founded and ran the MFA playwriting program at Brown University; during that time she started a theatre workshop for women in Maximum Security at the Adults Correction Institute in Cranston, Rhode Island. From 2008-2012, she was the O'Neill Chair at Yale School of Drama. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

About Vineyard Theatre

Vineyard Theatre is an Off-Broadway theatre company dedicated to nurturing the voices of daring artists and developing and producing work that pushes the boundaries of what theatre can be and do. One of the country's preeminent centers for the creation of new plays and musicals, our work seeks to challenge and inspire all of us to see ourselves and our world from different perspectives.

The Vineyard's 2021-22 season launched with the Broadway transfers of its productions of Tina Satter's Is This A Room, named "Best Theater of 2019 and 2021" by The New York Times, Time Out and New York Magazine and winner of the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience; and Lucas Hnath's Dana H., chosen as The New York Times and Time Out "Best Theatre of 2020 and 2021" and winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show, which played in repertory at the Lyceum Theatre fall of 2021. Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, which premiered at The Vineyard 25 years ago, will open on Broadway on March 29 reuniting original cast members Mary-Louise Parker, David Morse and Johanna Day with director Mark Brokaw.

The Vineyard's fall season also included commissioned new works from Ngozi Anyanwu, Kirsten Childs, Jared Mezzocchi, Polly Pen, and Madeline Sayet.

Notable Vineyard Theatre premieres include Ngozi Anyanwu's Good Grief; Jeremy O. Harris' "Daddy"; Mara Nelson-Greenberg's Do You Feel Anger?; David Cale's Harry Clarke (2018 Drama Desk, Obie, Lucille Lortel Awards); Paula Vogel and Rebecca Taichman's Indecent (two 2017 Tony Awards); two Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, Paula Vogel's How I Learned To Drive and Edward Albee's Three Tall Women; Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Gloria; Nicky Silver's The Lyons; Marx, Lopez and Whitty's Avenue Q (Tony Award, Best Musical); Kander, Ebb, and Thompson's The Scottsboro Boys; Bell and Bowen's [title of show]; Polly Pen's Goblin Market; Tarell Alvin McCraney's Wig Out!; Jenny Schwartz' God's Ear; Will Eno's Middletown; Becky Mode's Fully Committed; Colman Domingo's Dot, and many more.

The Vineyard's Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, Susan Stroman Directing Award, and Colman Domingo Award provide residencies to early-career artists and our education programs serve over 700 NYC public high school students annually and culminate in presenting Developing Artists' REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival. Works developed and premiered at our home in Union Square have gone on to be seen around the world and The Vineyard is proud to be the recipient of special Drama Desk, Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards for artistic excellence.

The Vineyard's 2021-2022 Artists-in-Residence include The Commissary, Ryan Haddad, Michael R. Jackson, Lightning Rod Special, Tyler Thomas, and Reggie D. White.

Vineyard Theatre's leadership includes Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern and Managing Director Suzanne Appel.

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