A message from Brandon Victor Dixon:
Do you remember your first experience at The Vineyard? I do.
I was introduced to The Vineyard through the loving arms of Susan Stroman, David Thompson, John Kander, and the spirit of the late, great Fred Ebb. Armed with the perpetual desire to manifest truth through art, they took on the daunting task of telling the true story of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, nine black boys falsely accused of rape in 1931. To tell this story was a challenge, but to do so as a musical, and a minstrel show, is an endeavor you do not undertake…unless you are supported by a place as uniquely special as Vineyard Theatre. That support, from the show’s early development, carried THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS to Broadway, the West End, and across the country. Once you walk in the door of The Vineyard, everything begins to grow.
That is why I happily joined The Vineyard’s Board of Directors this year. A year in which Paula Vogel’s INDECENT will be one of the top ten produced plays in the country, David Cale’s HARRY CLARKE is available as an audio-play on Audible, THREE TALL WOMEN made it to Broadway, and Ngozi Anyanwu’s GOOD GRIEF is illuminating our shared humanity on The Vineyard stage. As my relationship with this theatre company has grown, I understand more and more that these shows could not have been born anywhere else.
As a Board Member, I see The Vineyard’s core values of integrity, creative risk taking, and nurturing diverse voices guide the work this company develops and produces. I’m proud that The Vineyard is committing to more than doubling its investment in artistic development activities, like readings and workshops, residencies and commissions this season—the kind of support artists need to create work that both speaks to our time and stands the test of it.
I’m going to be dramatic for a moment, if you’ll indulge me.
There is for me no more special a place in this world than a theatre. Whether on stage or off, it’s vital to me that the theatre be a place to seek a greater understanding of ourselves and each other; to say the things we cannot say but must be said.
But it is extremely difficult to be a theatre that engages in that level of creation, of discourse–it takes vision, rigor, a willingness to take risks, and resources that defy the odds. Did you know that ticket sales and memberships cover only 25% of the work the Vineyard does each season?
And so this theatre, Vineyard Theatre, our theatre’s ability to produce startling, honest, insightful, innovative, emotional, AWARD-WINNING work stuns me. Because it means they are that committed to the liberation of their spirit and of ours. And they are ardent enough to have built a family of artists and audiences that feel the same. At The Vineyard, we know we have the opportunity to experience moments that expand who we are. That is a rare and special find.
Please join me in continuing to nurture and protect the rare gift that is The Vineyard – knowing that it is made possible because of the glorious manner in which you all feed and support this home. We get what we give!
I’ve sent in my gift and I hope yours is soon to follow.
Thanks for reading, and for your support. I hope to see you at The Vineyard this season!
Brandon Victor Dixon