Brandon Victor Dixon and Heidi Blickenstaff join Vineyard Theatre’s Composers in Conversation with John Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda - July 22
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 10:32 am EDT 07/12/21

Brandon Victor Dixon
Heidi Blickenstaff
Vineyard Theatre's 2021 GALA SERIES
John Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda
Composers in Conversation July 22

Vineyard Theatre's 2021 Gala Series culminates in an intimate conversation between legendary musical theatre composers John Kander (Cabaret, Chicago, The Vineyard's The Scottsboro Boys) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights, Hamilton). Brandon Victor Dixon and Heidi Blickenstaff will join previously announced artists including Mandy Gonzalez, Bryonha Marie Parham, and George Salazar, to perform favorite selections from Mr. Kander and Mr. Miranda's songbooks, as the two men also share insights about their unique writing processes. The "Pay-What-You-Can" virtual event will debut on Thursday, July 22 at 7pm ET, with on-demand access available through Sunday, July 25 at 11:59pm ET.

The event is directed by Jen Bender with musical direction by Macy Schmidt.

All proceeds from this special benefit event will directly support The Vineyard's artistic and education programs and re-opening plans, with "Pay-What-You-Can" tickets. To learn more, purchase tickets, or make a donation, please visit www.vineyardtheatre.org/composers-in-conversation. You can also reach out to The Vineyard's Box Office Monday-Friday 1PM-6PM at boxoffice@vineyardtheatre.org or by phone at 646-931-4711.

Viewing options include the ability to chat with fellow audience members during the Live Watch Party premiere on Thursday, July 22 at 7pm ET, with on-demand access beginning following the premiere through Sunday, July 25 at 11:59pm ET.

This Community Event is the final installment in The Vineyard's 2021 Gala Series: The Tasting Room. Between May and June 2021, Vineyard Theatre offered a series of intimate virtual conversations with prolific figures spanning multiple sectors - a wide range of thinkers and creators who spoke candidly about what it means to contribute to the cultural life of our country before, during, and beyond our current moment.

These conversations have been presented as The Vineyard's innovative alternative to their annual in-person gala, with all proceeds directly supporting the theatre's ongoing artistic and education programs, sustained operations, and reopening plans.

Vineyard Theatre gratefully acknowledges the Blavatnik Family Foundation as Series Sponsor.

JOHN KANDER was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, attended Oberlin College, and earned his Masters at Columbia University. He was a protégé of Douglas Moore and studied composition with Jack Beeson. John's first Broadway musical was A Family Affair in collaboration with long time friends James and William Goldman. John was introduced to Fred Ebb in 1962, which started a collaboration that lasted four decades. Kander and Ebb created Flora the Red Menace, Cabaret (Tony Award), Zorba, The Happy Time, 70 Girls 70, Chicago, The Act, Woman of the Year (Tony Award), The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), Steel Pier, Curtains, The Scottsboro Boys and The Visit. Together, their movie and television writing credits include original material for the Academy Awards, "Liza with a Z" (Emmy Award), HBO's "Liza Minnelli's Steppin Out" (Emmy Award), Funny Lady (Oscar nomination, Best Song), Lucky Lady, New York, New York, Stepping Out, and Chicago, The Movie (Oscar nomination, Best Song). In the early 1980's the song "New York, New York" became the official anthem of New York City. Alone, Mr. Kander composed scores for television and movies, including An Early Frost, Breathing Lessons, The Boys Next Door, Kramer vs. Kramer, Blue Skies Again, and Places of the Heart, as well as the composition, "A Letter from Sullivan Ballou" for Renee Fleming. Mr. Kander collaborated with playwright and lyricist Greg Pierce on The Landing which premiered at the Vineyard Theatre and Kid Victory which premiered at The Signature Theatre in Fairfax, VA and at The Vineyard in NYC. In the spring of 2018, John teamed up again with book writer Tommy Thompson and Director/Choreographer Susan Stroman on The Beast in the Jungle, a new dance play based on the Henry James novel, which also premiered at the Vineyard Theatre.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA is a Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winning songwriter, actor and director. He is the creator and original star of Broadway's Tony-winning Hamilton and In the Heights. His additional Broadway credits include Freestyle Love Supreme (Co-Founder, Guest Star), Bring It On: The Musical (co-composer/co-lyricist, Tony nomination for Best Musical), and West Side Story (2009 revival, Spanish translations). Miranda is the recipient of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award, the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors and the 2019 Portrait of a Nation Prize. He received an Emmy Award with Tom Kitt for their song, "Bigger" from the 67th Annual Tony Awards. Mr. Miranda, and The Miranda Family, are active supporters of initiatives that increase people of color's representation throughout the arts and government, assure access to women's reproductive health, and promote resilience in Puerto Rico. TV/Film credits include: In the Heights, Hamilton , "His Dark Materials," "Fosse/Verdon," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (2018 Emmy Nomination, Guest Actor), "Saturday Night Live" (2017 Emmy Nomination, Guest Actor), "Sesame Street," "The Electric Company," "House," "DuckTales," 200 Cartas, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Moana (2017 Oscar nomination, Grammy Award for Best Original Song) and Mary Poppins Returns. He lives with his family in New York.

HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF. Broadway: Something Rotten! (Bea), Outer Critics and Grammy nominations; The Addams Family (Alice); Disney's The Little Mermaid (Ursula); The Full Monty; and [title of show] (Heidi). Heidi created the role of Katherine in Disney's Freaky Friday for Disney Channel and Disney on Broadway. Other New York: City Center's Encores! The Most Happy Fella (Cleo), The Vineyard Theatre: Now. Here. This., and [title of show]. Favorite Regional: Weston Playhouse: Next To Normal (Diana), Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre and "PBS: First You Dream: The Music Of Kander And Ebb," and Ford's Theatre: Meet John Doe (Ann Mitchell) Helen Hayes Award.

BRANDON VICTOR DIXON is Emmy and Grammy nominated for his role of Judas in NBC's "Jesus Christ Superstar Live" and starred in "RENT Live!" on Fox as 'Tom Collins.' He was recently seen as Dan in Next to Normal at the Kennedy Center. Previous Broadway credits include: Aaron Burr in Hamilton, Eubie Blake in Shuffle Along (Tony Award nomination), Berry Gordy in Motown The Musical (Grammy and Drama League Award nominations), and Harpo in The Color Purple (Tony Award nomination). National tour: Simba in The Lion King. Off- Broadway: F**king A, Rent and The Scottsboro Boys (Lucille Lortel, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Laurence Olivier Award nominations). Television: "Modern Love," "Power" (Series Regular) on Starz, Netflix's "She's Gotta Have It," "Gone", "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "One Life to Live," and "The Good Wife." Dixon was raised in Maryland, and is a graduate of Columbia University. He is the co-founder of WalkRunFly Productions. Qurator: The Movie Ratings App (available on iOS/Android) and the WeAre Foundation [501(c)3]

MANDY GONZALEZ has appeared on Broadway in Hamilton, In The Heights (Drama Desk Award), Wicked, Aida, Lennon, and Dance of the Vampires. Mandy received an OBIE Award for her performance in Vineyard Theatre's production of Eli's Comin'. On television, she has had recurring roles on "Madam Secretary" and "Quantico," with guest appearances on "Doubt," "White Collar," "The Good Wife," among others. Mandy has appeared in the films Across the Universe, After, and Man on a Ledge and was the voice of Mei in Mulan 2. She has performed with The New York Pops, Philly Pops, Cleveland Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Forth Worth, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Arkansas, Anchorage, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Youngstown Symphonies, among many others. Mandy's debut album, FEARLESS, debuted at #13 on the iTunes charts. Mandy is the founder of the #FearlessSquad, an online platform that focuses on positivity and inclusiveness.

BRYONHA MARIE PARHAM. Broadway: Prince of Broadway; The Book of Mormon; After Midnight; The Gershwin's Porgy & Bess; Ragtime. Off-Broadway/NY: Promenade (City Center); Candide (Carnegie Hall); NY Philharmonic's Show Boat and Sweeney Todd (Beggar Woman); Ragtime @ Lincoln Center. National Tours: Falsettos. World Premiere: Dave (Arena Stage); Prince of Broadway (Tokyo Orb). Concert: New York Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra (MASS), Kansas City Symphony, 92Y Lyrics &; Lyricists. Television: "SpongeBob Musical LIVE;" "Madam Secretary;" "Show Boat" and "Sweeney Todd LIVE @ Lincoln Center" for PBS (Emmy); 66th/68th Annual Tony Awards; "The Today Show." IG/Twitter: BryonhaMarie

GEORGE SALAZAR is best known for playing "Michael Mell" in Be More Chill (garnering a Lucille Lortel Award, two Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards, and Drama Desk & Outer Critics Circle Award nominations). He was last seen onstage opposite Mj Rodriguez as "Seymour" in the critically-acclaimed Pasadena Playhouse production of Little Shop of Horrors. Other NY theater credits include Godspell (2011 Broadway revival); The Lightning Thief (Drama Desk nom.); tick, tick…BOOM!; Here Lies Love. TV: "Superstore"; "Nancy Drew"; "Bull"; "Divorce." Albums: Two-Player Game, Be More Chill, The Lightning Thief, The Jonathan Larson Project, Godspell .

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.

During the pandemic shutdown, The Vineyard produced Bill Irwin's The Busking Project outdoors and seven digital programs, including the eight-episode series, Lessons In Survival, which was named "Best Theater of 2020" by The New York Times.

The Vineyard's 2019-2020 Season included Tina Satter's Is This A Room, named "Best Theater of 2019" by The New York Times and New York Magazine and winner of the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience; and Lucas Hnath's Dana H., New York Times Best Theatre of 2020 and New York Times Critic's Pick, which won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show. Other notable 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 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.

The Vineyard's 2020-2021 Artists-in-Residence include John J. Caswell, Jr., The Commissary, Michael R. Jackson, Charly Evon Simpson, Tyler Thomas, York Walker and Whitney White.

Vineyard Theatre's leadership includes Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern and Managing Director Suzanne Appel.
Link http://www.vineyardtheatre.org/composers-in-conversation

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