Vineyard Theatre Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern announce the company’s winter production, completing its upcoming 2019-2020 season. DANA H., by Lucas Hnath, adapted from interviews with Dana Higginbotham conducted by Steve Cosson, and directed by Les Waters, will make its New York premiere, featuring Deirdre O’Connell in the title role, in the winter of 2020 following its engagements at Center Theatre Group and Goodman Theatre. DANA H. is a co-production of Vineyard Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Center Theatre Group.
In DANA H., Dana was a chaplain of a psych ward where she met a charismatic patient, an ex-convict searching for redemption. A harrowing true story, Dana was held captive with her life in this man’s hands — trapped in a series of Florida motels, disoriented and terrified — for five months. Told in Dana’s own words and reconstructed for the stage by her son Lucas Hnath (A DOLL’S HOUSE PART 2, HILLARY AND CLINTON), “one of the freshest playwriting voices to emerge in the past five years” (The New York Times), this innovative work shatters the boundaries of the art form and our understanding of good and evil with the Los Angeles Times calling it “a profound contribution to the theater.”
DANA H. had its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre at Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, in June 2019 and will open at The Goodman’s Owen Theatre, Chicago, in September 2019, prior to its New York premiere at Vineyard Theatre.
DANA H. will join the previously announced productions IS THIS A ROOM, conceived and directed by Tina Satter and the world premiere of TUVALU OR, THE SADDEST SONG by Antoinette Nwandu, directed by Danya Taymor. All shows will be presented at Vineyard Theatre (108 East 15th Street). The Vineyard’s 2019-20 Developmental Lab will be announced at a later date.
IS THIS A ROOM
Conceived and Directed By Tina Satter
A true story, still unfolding. June 3, 2017. A 25-year-old former Air Force linguist named Reality Winner is surprised at her home by the FBI, interrogated, and then charged with leaking evidence of Russian interference in U.S elections. Reality remains in jail with a record-breaking sentence. The FBI transcript of her interrogation is the heart of IS THIS A ROOM, conceived as a play and directed by Obie Award-winner Tina Satter, in which an extraordinary human drama unfolds between the complex and witty Reality, and the agents who question her. As Reality’s autonomy shrinks before her eyes, a simmering real-life thriller emerges, asking what it is to have honor in this American moment, and how the personal can reverberate globally.
IS THIS A ROOM originated with a limited run in January 2019 at The Kitchen.
By Lucas Hnath
Adapted From Interviews With
Dana Higginbotham Conducted By Steve Cosson
Directed By Les Waters
Featuring Deirdre O’Connell
A co-production with Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group
Dana was a chaplain of a psych ward where she met a charismatic patient, an ex-convict searching for redemption. A harrowing true story, Dana was held captive with her life in this man’s hands — trapped in a series of Florida motels, disoriented and terrified — for five months. Told in Dana’s own words and reconstructed for the stage by her son Lucas Hnath (A DOLL’S HOUSE PART 2, THE CHRISTIANS), “one of the freshest playwriting voices to emerge in the past five years” (The New York Times), this innovative work shatters the boundaries of the art form and our understanding of good and evil.
TUVALU OR, THE SADDEST SONG
By Antoinette Nwandu
Directed By Danya Taymor
Los Angeles in the mid-nineties and twelve-year old Jackie is at a crossroads. She’s just been accepted to a private school in Brentwood, the affluent, white neighborhood that also happens to be ground zero for the O.J. Simpson murder trial. At home, the Lord is alive and well, the rent’s past due, and Momma’s boyfriend just came back to town. Sexuality and spirituality, race and class, love and violence collide as Jackie attempts to make sense of her life in relation to the women in her real and imaginary landscapes. With an astonishing mix of humor, tenderness and theatrical daring, this coming-of-age story explores the barriers that keep Jackie from finding her authentic self, and the cost of overcoming them.
Memberships are now on sale for The Vineyard’s 2019-2020 season and can be purchased online at www.vineyardtheatre.org or by calling the box office at 212-353-0303. Becoming a member ensures great seats to all Vineyard productions for a fraction of the full ticket price. Other privileges include the ability to reserve seats before tickets go on sale to the general public, discounted guest tickets, invitations to new play readings and Developmental Labs, and other exclusive benefits.
Vineyard Theatre is an Off-Broadway theatre company dedicated to nurturing the voices of daring artists, and to developing and producing work that challenges all of us to see ourselves and our world from new perspectives. One of the country’s preeminent centers for the creation and production of new plays and musicals, our work seeks to push the boundaries of what theatre can be and do.
The Vineyard’s 2018-19 season included Ngozi Anyanwu’s GOOD GRIEF, directed by Awoye Timpo, Jeremy O. Harris’ “Daddy”, directed by Danya Taymor, and Mara Nelson-Greenberg’s DO YOU FEEL ANGER?, directed by Margot Bordelon. Other notable premieres include 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]; Lanie Robertson’s LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL; 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 and Susan Stroman Directing Award provide residences to early-career artists, and our education programs serve over 700 NYC public high school students annually, culminating in the Rebel Verses Youth Arts Festival in collaboration with Developing Artists. 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.
Vineyard Theatre’s leadership includes Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern and Managing Director Suzanne Appel.
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Lucas Hnath (Playwright, DANA H.) received a 2017 Tony Award nomination for Best Play with A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2. Hnath’s other plays include HILLARY AND CLINTON, THE THIN PLACE, RED SPEEDO, THE CHRISTIANS, A PUBLIC READING OF AN UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY ABOUT THE DEATH OF WALT DISNEY, ISAAC’S EYE, and DEATH TAX. He has been produced on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre, Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. His plays have also been premiered at the Humana Festival of New Plays, Victory Gardens, and South Coast Repertory. He is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect, a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, and an alumnus of New Dramatists. Awards: Whiting Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Kesselring Prize, Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, Obie Award for Playwriting, Steinberg Playwright Award, and the Windham-Campbell Literary Prize.
Les Waters (Director, DANA H.), an Obie Award winner, was Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville from 2012–2018, where he directed THE THIN PLACE, EVOCATION TO VISIBLE APPEARANCE, LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO, RECENT ALIEN ABDUCTIONS, MACBETH, FOR PETER PAN ON HER 70TH BIRTHDAY, THE GLORY OF THE WORLD, LUNA GALE, AT THE VANISHING POINT, THE CHRISTIANS, OUR TOWN, GNIT, GIRLFRIENDS, LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, and BIG LOVE. From 2003–2011, he served as Associate Artistic Director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. His productions have been seen in New York at Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theatre Company, The Public Theater, Second Stage Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Connelly Theater, Clubbed Thumb, Soho Rep, and Brooklyn Academy of Music, and regionally at theatres such as Arena Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, and American Repertory Theater. In 2009, he made his Broadway debut with IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY. He led the MFA directing program at University of California, San Diego from 1995–2003.
Dana Higginbotham is a writer, educator and chaplain. For the past 20 years, her work as a chaplain in both hospitals and hospices throughout Florida has involved providing counsel for those who live with the effects of trauma, loss and life threatening or life limiting issues. She develops and leads workshops on “Stress Debriefing,” “Living with PTSD,” and “Bereavement Intervention.” The “Practical Spirituality” curriculum she developed is used to address both addiction and adolescent affective disorders. She holds a master’s of divinity and a PhD in counseling.
Steve Cosson (Interviewer, DANA H.), New York credits include THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY (Vineyard Theatre and Center Theatre Group), PAUL SWAN IS DEAD AND GONE, TIMES SQUARE (The Civilians), THE ABOMINABLES (Children’s Theatre Company), THE UNDERTAKING (BAM Next Wave, US Tour, Theatre de la Ville, Paris, 59E59), RIMBAUD IN NEW YORK (BAM), THE BELLE OF AMHERST (Westside Theater), THE GREAT IMMENSITY (The Public Theater), MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY (Playwrights Horizons). Regional theater credits include PRETTY FILTHY, (I AM) NOBODY’S LUNCH, and GONE MISSING. Cosson was a Metropolitan Museum of Art Artist-in-Residence from 2014-2015. SteveCosson.com
Tina Satter (conceiver and director, IS THIS A ROOM) is a playwright, director, and teacher who was a recipient of a 2016 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award, a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Impact Award, and was named an Off-Off Broadway Innovator to Watch by Time Out New York. She is the leader of Half Straddle, an Obie-winning, New York City-based ensemble of performers and designers. With Half Straddle, she has written and directed nine full-length plays, and a number of smaller projects, and re-imagined them for a range of spaces as they have toured to numerous theaters and festivals in the U.S. and internationally. She has taught and led workshops on writing, directing, and feminist approaches to art-making at a number of schools and universities. She is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. In 2017, she received a PANOS commission from Culturgest in Lisbon, Portugal to write a play for teenagers, and worked with the Portuguese directors on the translation and dramaturgy of her play, SMALL BREATH. Tina attended Mac Wellman’s graduate playwriting program at Brooklyn College and received an M.A. from Reed College and a B.A. from Bowdoin College. Her first collection of plays, SEAGULL (THINKING OF YOU), was published by 53rd State Press in 2014. The full text of GHOST RINGS and a live vinyl recording were put out by 53rd State Press in 2016.
Antoinette Nwandu (Playwright, TUVALU OR, THE SADDEST SONG) Antoinette Nwandu is a New York-based playwright. Her Jeff-award and Lucille Lortel-award winning play, PASS OVER, had its New York debut at LCT3 in June 2018. A filmed version of the Steppenwolf production—directed by Spike Lee—had its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and screened as part of SXSW 2018. Her play BREACH: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate had its world premiere at Victory Gardens in 2018. Antoinette’s work has been supported by the Sundance Theater Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, Ignition Fest, the Cherry Lane Mentor Project, the Kennedy Center, Page73, PlayPenn, Southern Rep, The Flea, Naked Angels, Fire This Time, and The Movement Theater Company. Honors include the Vineyard Theatre Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company’s Douglas Turner Ward Prize, a Literary Fellowship at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, and spots on the 2016 and 2017 Kilroys lists. Antoinette is a MacDowell Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, and an Ars Nova Play Group alum. She is currently under commission from Echo Theater Company, Colt Coeur, and Audible.
Danya Taymor (Director, TUVALU OR, THE SADDEST SONG) is a New York-based director and translator. Recent work: Jeremy O. Harris’ “Daddy“ (Vineyard, The New Group), Danai Gurira’s FAMILIAR (Steppenwolf), Antoinette Nwandu’s PASS OVER (LCT3/Steppenwolf), Martyna Majok’s QUEENS (LCT3), Justin Kuritzkes’ THE SENSUALITY PARTY (The New Group), Nathan Yungerberg’s ESAI’S TABLE (Cherry Lane Mentor Project), Brian Watkins’ WYOMING (Lesser America) and MY DAUGHTER KEEPS OUR HAMMER, Sarah Gancher’s THE PLACE WE BUILT and LEGOM’s I HATE FUCKING MEXICANS (The Flea). Her production of Antoinette Nwandu’s PASS OVER (Steppenwolf) was filmed by Spike Lee and premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. An alumna of the Women’s Project Lab, Sundance Theatre Lab, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Van Lier Fellowship and the 2050 Fellowship at NYTW. She is a Usual Suspect at NYTW, an artist in residence at TFANA, a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre an associate artist at The Flea, and a recipient of the Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity from Lincoln Center. Education: Duke University.
CENTER THEATRE GROUP, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, which, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, Managing Director Meghan Pressman and Producing Director Douglas C. Baker, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2100-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.
GOODMAN THEATRE, “Chicago’s flagship resident stage” (Chicago Tribune), is a premier not-for-profit theater distinguished by the quality and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Key to the theater’s success are its distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Kimberly Senior, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Awards for artistic excellence include two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards and more than 160 Joseph Jefferson Awards. GoodmanTheatre.org