Vineyard Theatre will present its 5th annual Paula Vogel Playwriting Award to emerging playwright Erika Sheffer, author of the play RUSSIAN TRANSPORT, it has been announced by Vineyard Theatre's Artistic Director Douglas Aibel and Co-Artistic Director Sarah Stern.
Named in honor of playwright and teacher Paula Vogel -- whose plays THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME and HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (Pulitzer Prize for Drama) debuted at the Vineyard -- the Paula Vogel Award is presented annually by The Vineyard to an emerging playwright of exceptional promise. The residency-based award comes with a cash prize and artistic development support over the 2012-13 season.
Ms. Vogel will present the award to Ms. Sheffer on Thursday June 21 at a luncheon at the National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South in Manhattan) to be hosted by Linda Lavin, who starred in Nicky Silver’s acclaimed THE LYONS at The Vineyard last fall and just received a 2012 Tony Award nomination for the show’s Broadway transfer.
Proceeds from the luncheon benefit The Vineyard's artistic and education programs.
The Paula Vogel Playwriting Award is made possible through the generosity of the Tournesol Project.
The Paula Vogel Award's first recipient was playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play WIG OUT! was a popular and critical success when it debuted at The Vineyard in 2008. Rajiv Joseph, author of the play BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO last season on Broadway, was the Paula Vogel Award's second recipient, followed by Kara Lee Corthron in 2010, author of the play ETCHED IN SKIN ON A SUNLIT NIGHT and JULIUS BY DESIGN. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, author of the play NEIGHBORS and an adaptation of THE OCTAROON, was last year’s recipient.
Erika Sheffer’s first play, RUSSIAN TRANSPORT received its world premiere at The New Group in January 2012, directed by Scott Elliott. The play was nominated for the John Gassner Award by the Outer Critics Circle, which is presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright. Her work has been read at Naked Angels, Primary Stages, The Woodshed Collective and Personal Space Theatrics. She has performed original pieces at Upright Citizens Brigade and Dixon Place. Ms. Sheffer received a fellowship from SPACE on Ryder Farm to develop her newest play and is an alum of The Movement Theater Company’s New Works/Moving Up Writers Group. Selected acting credits include RED LIGHT WINTER directed by Adam Rapp, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, directed by Mark Lamos, as well as several productions for The Folger and The American Shakespeare Center. Ms. Sheffer holds a B.F.A. in Drama from Syracuse University.
When the Paula Vogel Award was established, Ms. Vogel said, "They say a person is judged by the company he or she keeps, and I am so honored by my association with the Vineyard Theatre -- they are a company I always want to keep. I am doubly honored: honored by having the award in my name from The Vineyard, and honored to be blessing a new generation of rising playwrights. The Vineyard fulfills the promise of its name: in planting the seeds of new plays, we as audiences reap the harvest."