Vineyard Theatre Announces Fall Forward Festival
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 08:10 pm EDT 10/04/21

Vineyard Theatre Announces
Fall Forward Festival

With new works from
Ngozi Anyanwu, Kirsten Childs,
Jared Mezzocchi, Polly Pen
and Madeline Sayet

(New York, NY - October 4, 2021) Vineyard Theatre Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern are pleased to announce the Fall Forward Festival featuring new works from Ngozi Anyanwu, Kirsten Childs, Jared Mezzocchi, Polly Pen and Madeline Sayet, beginning today through December 31. During the pandemic shutdown, the Vineyard commissioned these five daring artists to create new works of alternative theatre. The Vineyard's Fall Forward Festival will share the works that have emerged -- some fully realized, and some in process --a mix of live in-person, live virtual, filmed and audio performances, as varied as the artists creating them.

The Fall Forward Festival includes Kirsten Childs' Aunt Lillian, a wickedly funny audio musical about a battle of wills between two young girls and their no-nonsense aunt, directed by Awoye Timpo; Ngozi Anyanwu's Maybe Dorothy Was Right, a short film and love letter to New York and the theatre, directed by Alfonso Johnson; Jared Mezzocchi's On the Beauty of Loss, an introspective multimedia virtual live performance exploring the emergence of social technology and its impact on memory and grief; a live in-person reading of Polly Pen's 56 Flowers, a chamber musical about a receptionist who finds herself drawn to the story of the 19th century composer Carrie Jacobs-Bond; and a live in-person reading of Madeline Sayet's The Fish, a new full-length play following two Mohegan-Jewish siblings on a search to find out what their ancestors never meant for them to know.

Please visit https://www.vineyardtheatre.org/fall-forward-festival/ for access to each event in Vineyard Theatre's Fall Forward Festival.

By Kirsten Childs
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Audio Musical, 20 minutes
Available today -December 31 (FREE)

Cast Includes:
Amber Iman, Ashley D Kelley, NaTasha Yvette Williams, Darlesia Cearcy, Jasmin Walker, Brandon Gill, and Kevin Massey

Band Includes:
Jacinth Greywoode (Keys), Kevin Wunderlich (Guitar), Parker McAllister (Bass), Spencer Cohen (Drums)

From Obie Award-winning composer Kirsten Childs (The Bubbly Black Girl..., The Vineyard's Miracle Brothers), this wickedly funny and captivating audio musical delves into a story from her own childhood. When Aunt Lillian travels from North Carolina to Los Angeles to help care for Kirsten and her siblings, a battle of wills begins.

By Ngozi Anyanwu
Directed by Alfonso Johnson
A Short Film, 8 minutes
Available to the public October 7-December 31 (FREE)
A short film love letter to New York City and the theatre.

Playwright and actress Ngozi Anyanwu (Good Grief) takes us to the neighborhoods and theatres that have been part of her NYC journey, in this short film made in collaboration with filmmaker Alfonso Johnson.

A love letter
A welcome back
A homecoming
A remembering
A goodbye
A reconciling
A hello
A visit
To this place I know but wasn't born
To this place that I wasn't born, but somehow birthed me

**Vineyard Members are invited to attend a one-hour live chat with Maybe Dorothy Was Right writer/performer Ngozi Anyanwu, director Alfonso Johnson, and Vineyard Theatre Artistic Director Sarah Stern on November 1 at 7pm.

Created by Jared Mezzocchi
Original composition by Lee Kinney
Live Streaming Performance
November 11 - November 21, 2021
Member booking begins October 19
General booking begins October 27

On The Beauty of Loss is an introspective live digitally-based multimedia performance that explores how the emergence of social technology has shifted the ways humans collect memories and comprehend grief. This journey explores the loss of two family members, a father passing before the invention of the iPhone, and a grandfather reaching the end of his life 16 years later, in the peak of the pandemic. Our journey places the audience in a car, traveling hundreds of miles... and challenges the live virtual performance space to be as live as it has ever been.

By Polly Pen
Directed by Dustin Wills
In-Person Reading at Vineyard Theatre (108 West 15th Street)
October 24 at 3pm & October 25 at 7pm

In this new musical, a receptionist at a small animal hospital finds herself drawn to the story of Carrie Jacobs-Bond, a relentlessly cheerful yet obstacle-prone early 20th century composer, whose heart-filled songs brought her fame and fortune. A searching and comic look at how we fill our time, from Obie Award-winning composer Polly Pen.

By Madeline Sayet
In-Person Reading at Vineyard Theatre (108 West 15th Street)
December 2021

A new full-length play following two Mohegan-Jewish siblings on a search to find out what their ancestors never meant for them to know (live reading in person).

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.

The Vineyard's productions of 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., chosen as The New York Times "Best Theatre of 2020" and as a Critic's Pick, and winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show, are both currently playing on Broadway in repertory at the Lyceum Theatre. Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, which premiered at The Vineyard 25 years ago, will open on Broadway this spring reuniting original cast members Mary-Louise Parker, David Morse and Johanna Day with director Mark Brokaw.

Notable Vineyard Theatre 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.

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 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 and culminate in presenting Developing Artists' REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival. 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 2021-2022 Artists-in-Residence include John J. Caswell, Jr., Michael R. Jackson and Tyler Thomas, with more to be announced.

Vineyard Theatre's leadership includes Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern and Managing Director Suzanne Appel.

Follow Vineyard Theatre on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Kirsten Childs (Playwright, Aunt Lillian) 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, The Edge of Night (a Playwrights Horizons SoundStage musical podcast, directed by Awoye Timpo) 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. 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. She is an adjunct professor in NYU's Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program and a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.

Awoye Timpo (Director, Aunt Lillian) is a New York-based director. Her Off-Broadway credits include In Old Age by Mfoniso Udofia (New York Theatre Workshop); Good Grief by Ngozi Anyanwu (Vineyard Theatre); The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll'd by Jonathan Payne (Playwrights Realm); The Homecoming Queen by Ngozi Anyanwu (Atlantic Theater Company); Carnaval by Nikkole Salter (National Black Theatre); Ndebele Funeral by Zoey Martinson (59E59, South African tour, Edinburgh Festival); and Sister Son/Ji by Sonia Sanchez (Billie Holiday Theater). Her regional credits include School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Berkeley Repertory Theatre); Paradise Blue (Long Wharf Theatre) and Skeleton Crew (Chester Theater). Awoye is the Founding Producer of CLASSIX, a collective dedicated to looking at the classical canon through an exploration of work by Black writers.

Ngozi Anyanwu (Playwright, Maybe Dorothy Was Right). Her play Good Grief (Kilroys List 2016, semi finalist Princess Grace, Humanitas Award), in which she also starred, ran Off-Broadway at 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) had its world premiere at the Atlantic Theater to a sold out run. Anyanwu has commissions with NYU, The Old Globe and The Atlantic Theatre, Two Rivers Theatre, Steppenwolf 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. The world premiere of her play The Last of the Love Letters will be presented by The Atlantic Theatre Company to open their upcoming season.

Alfonso Johnson (Director, Maybe Dorothy Was Right) won top honors at the 2018 American Black Film Festival winning the HBO award for Best Short Film for Moths & Butterflies. Past recipients include Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II), and Gerard McMurray (The First Purge). Alfonso's films have appeared in over 100 film festivals internationally and have been distributed on multiple platforms including HBO, Verizon Fios, Comcast, Xfinity, and Dish Cable Networks. As a writer, Alfonso has written content for BET+, WarnerMedia, BandWagan Media, and Viacom. He is an alumni of the 2020 HBO Directors Access Program, and three Film Independent programs: the Screenwriters Lab, FastTrack, and the Producers Lab. Currently Alfonso is in development for his debut feature film (The Legend of) Man-Child Kenny.

Jared Mezzocchi (Playwright, On the Beauty of Loss) is an Obie Award-winning director and multimedia designer, playwright, and actor. Mezzocchi's work spans the United States at notable theaters such as The Kennedy Center, Geffen Playhouse, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Cornerstone Theater Company, Portland Center Stage at The Armory, South Coast Repertory, HERE Arts Center, and 3LD. In 2016, he received the Lucille Lortel and Henry Hewes Award for his work in Qui Nguyen's Vietgone at the Manhattan Theatre Club. In December of 2020, The New York Times highlighted Jared on a list of the top 5 national artists making an impact during the pandemic. His digital performance work was also celebrated as a 2020 New York Times Critic's Pick on Sarah Gancher's Russian Troll Farm where it was praised for being one of the first digitally native successes for virtual theater. In Spring 2021, Jared wrote and starred in Someone Else's House, directed by Margot Bordelon, a ghost story centered around actual events with his family. This production was an 11-week run, performed live online each night to audiences all over the world. His book, A Multimedia Designer's Method to Theatrical Storytelling , will be released in Spring 2021/22 through Routledge Publishers. He is a two-time MacDowell Artist Fellow, a Princess Grace Award winner, and is the Artistic Director of Andy's Summer Playhouse. Jared is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland and the CEO of his production company, Virtual Design Collective (ViDCo).

Polly Pen (Playwright, 56 Flowers) 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 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 Vineyard Theatre, NYC. The original cast album of Arlington was 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.

Dustin Wills (Director, 56 Flowers) is a wandering theatre and opera director. Upcoming: Hansol Jung's Wolf Play (Soho Rep & Ma-Yi Theatre), Handel's Alcina (Yale Opera), Kate Tarker's MONTAG (Soho Rep), Jeremy O. Harris' A Boy's Company Presents: Tell Me If I'm Hurting You. Recent: Keith Reddin's Black Snow (Juilliard), Phillip Howze's Frontières Sans Frontières (Bushwick Starr-named a Top Ten Theatrical Production of 2017 by New York Magazine), Will Arbery's Plano (Paper Chairs, Austin TX), Casey Llewellyn's O, Earth (Foundry Theatre-Off-Broadway Alliance Best Play 2016), and a 2018 Baryshnikov Arts Center Residency. Recent opera: Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Stravinsky's Le Rossignol. He has devised new work with Teatro L'Arciliuto in Rome, Italy, created large-scale puppetry pageants with Creative Action, trained with Augusto Boal in Theatre of the Oppressed legislative performance, and for a couple of years gave rogue tours of the Vatican. He is a Princess Grace Award recipient, as well as a Drama League and Boris Sagal directing fellow. MFA: Yale School of Drama.

Madeline Sayet (Playwright, The Fish) is a citizen of the Mohegan Tribe, Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program, and Co-Artistic Director in Residence at Red Eagle Soaring: Native Youth Theatre. 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, premiered this past June to critical acclaim as a film adaptation from Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Recent directing work includes: Tlingit Christmas Carol (Perseverance Theatre), Henry IV (Connecticut Repertory Theatre), Whale Song (Perseverance Theatre), As You Like It (Delaware Shakespeare), Poppea (Krannert Center), The Magic Flute (Glimmerglass), and Miss Lead (59e59). Sayet is an Assistant Professor in the English Dept at Arizona State University.
Link https://www.vineyardtheatre.org/fall-forward-festival/

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