In a new program created for this season, The Vineyard has commissioned five artists to create new digital or alternative theatre works that will premiere over the course of our season. From short plays to musicals to adventurous digital theatre design, we are excited for the stories these wildly original artists will tell, and to share them with you.
Ngozi Anyanwu’s play GOOD GRIEF (Kilroys List 2016, semi finalist Princess Grace, Humanitas Award), in which Anyanwu also starred, recently ran Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre and was produced at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles in Spring 2017. NIKE… (Kilroys List 2017) was recently workshopped at The New Black Fest in conjunction with The Lark and The Strand Festival in conjunction with A.C.T and Space on Ryder Farm. THE HOMECOMING QUEEN (Kilroys List 2017, Leah Ryan Finalist) recently had its world premiere at the Atlantic Theater which also had a sold out run. Anywanwu has commissions with NYU, The Old Globe and The Atlantic Theatre, and has received residencies from LCT3, Space on Ryder Farm, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, The New Harmony Project, New York Stage and Film and Page 73. She attended Point Park University (BA) and received her MFA in Acting from University of California, San Diego.
Kirsten Childs is the award-winning writer of the musicals The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Miracle Brothers, Fly (with Rajiv Joseph and Bill Sherman), Funked Up Fairy Tales and Bella: An American Tall Tale (directed by Robert O’Hara). Bella received its world premiere in the 2016-2017 season at Dallas Theater Center, with a co-production at Playwrights Horizons. Bubbly Black Girl was recently produced at Theatre Royal Stratford East in the UK and at City Centers Encores! Off-Broadway. For her work, Kirsten has received Obie, Kleban, Larson, Richard Rodgers, Audelco and Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla awards, as well as Lortel and Drama Desk nominations. She is currently working on a commissioned project for The New Group with writer/director Gordon Greenberg. Kirsten has written for Disney Theatricals, the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center, the New Electric Company, City Center Encores!, Works and Process @ Guggenheim Museum, and Premieres/Inner Voices under the producership of Paulette Haupt, Artistic Director of the O’Neill National Music Theater Conference. She is an adjunct professor in NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program and a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.
Jared Mezzocchi is an Lucille Lortel and Obie Award-winning multimedia artist based out of Washington DC. He is a resident artist at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington DC and has directed and designed at theaters across the U.S. including The John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, Milwaukee Rep, Portland Center Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Arena Stage, South Coast Rep, National Geographic, National Gallery of Art, and Centerstage Baltimore, Roundhouse Theater and The National Players. In NYC, he has worked with Manhattan Theatre Club, Big Art Group, The Builders Association, Rob Roth, 3-Legged Dog, New Georges, and HERE Arts Center. Other honors include the Henry Hewes Award, Princess Grace Award, and a Helen Hayes nomination. He is currently co-directing and media designing Sarah Gancher’s Russian Troll Farm, blending theatre, cinema and television technique into a live online performance. Mezzocchi received his MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts at Brooklyn College and is currently on faculty at University Of Maryland, College Park, where he built the projection design curriculum in the MFA design program. His book, A Multimedia Designer’s Method To Theatrical Storytelling, which will be published through Routledge in Spring 2021. Mezzocchi grew up in New Hampshire, where he returns to every summer as Producing Artistic Director of Andy’s Summer Playhouse.
Polly Pen writes book, music and lyrics. She is an Obie Award winner for the score of Bed and Sofa, which received seven Drama Desk nominations. Bed and Sofa premiered at the Vineyard Theatre and received its London premiere at the Finborough Theatre. Polly’s first Off-Broadway production as both composer and co-author, Goblin Market, received five Drama Desk nominations and the BEST PLAYS Special Citation for Musical Composition and Adaptation. Other works include The Night Governess (McCarter Theatre), House for Sale (Transport Group), Her Lightness (Sarasota Opera), The Dumb Cake (a radio musical for NPR), Embarrassments (Wilma Theater) and Christina Alberta’s Father (Vineyard Theatre), which received a Richard Rodgers Award, an Obie and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Music. Polly is the recipient of several NEA grants, The Kitty Carlisle Hart Award and the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Award for Musical Theatre. She has been honored by fellowships at Moulin á Nef in Auvillar, France, Sundance Theatre Lab at Ucross and The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, Italy. Polly received the 2009 Flora Roberts Award for a distinguished body of work. She has been a National Theatre Artist-in-Residence at McCarter Theatre and is a professor at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Polly has served on the Council of The Dramatists Guild, the Board of Dramatists Play Service and the nominating committee of the Tony Awards. Polly’s latest work, Arlington, premiered at the Magic Theatre, San Francisco and the Vineyard Theatre, NYC. The original cast album of Arlington was recently released by Broadway Records. In another life, Polly worked extensively as an actor on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in repertory theatres throughout the U.S.
Madeline Sayet is a citizen of the Mohegan Tribe and the Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. For her work as a director, writer, and performer she has been honored as a Forbes 30 Under 30, TED Fellow, MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, National Directing Fellow, Native American 40 Under 40, and a recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award from President Obama. Her play Where We Belong, first shown in London at Shakespeare’s Globe, will have its US Premiere in DC as part of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s coming season. Recent directing work includes: Staged at Home: a Virtual Benefit Concert (Long Wharf Theatre), Henry IV (Connecticut Repertory Theatre), Whale Song (Perseverance Theatre), She Kills Monsters (Connecticut Repertory Theatre), As You Like It (Delaware Shakespeare), The Winter’s Tale (Amerinda/HERE Arts), Poppea (Krannert Center, Illinois), The Magic Flute (Glimmerglass), Miss Lead (59e59). www.madelinesayet.com