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Talking to Loreena McKennitt About Her Town Hall Appearance and The Visit Revisited 30th Anniversary Tour

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The internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Loreena McKennitt has sold 14 million albums. She is set to enchant New York City with her soul-stirring music on October 18th and 19th at The Town Hall, 123 W 43rd St, as part of her The Visit Revisited 30th Anniversary Tour.

With a career spanning decades, McKennitt’s ‘eclectic Celtic’ sound has earned her critical acclaim worldwide. She has gold, platinum, and multi-platinum sales awards in 15 countries across four continents.

Her impressive catalog includes seven studio recordings, two GRAMMY® nominations, and the privilege of performing before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Her music is a fusion of pop, folk and worldbeat that’s often referred to as “eclectic Celtic.” At the center of it are her crystal-clear soprano vocals. McKennitt also plays piano, harp and accordion.

Most recently, she earned a well-deserved induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

T2C: How did you become the premier interpreter of Celtic music?

Loreena McKennitt: I wouldn’t call myself that I became infatuated with Ireland and Scotland in the 70’s. I was smitten by the sound of it.

T2C: You are on tour, with the anniversary of your 4th album, The Visit. Can you tell us how that album came about?

Loreena McKennitt: My first album was Elemental, then To Drive the Cold Winter Away and Parallel Dreams. The Visit was my 4th album, but my first major label.  In 1981, I joined the Stratford Festival acting company and was writing for the theatre. I learned that they were more than anarchists, so I drew upon that. Each song has a trajectory, a bony part more an early environmental view because with England in rule, trees came down for ships. The Celts were obsessed with trees. I blend “A Soul’s Night” a celebration in Japan with “All Souls” the day of the dead. There are an eclectic group of songs in the Celtic history. Even Shakespeare’s Cymbeline is based on a Celtic king.

T2C: How did the tour come about?

Loreena McKennitt: The anniversary was a couple of years ago due to COVID and for many people this was the first recording they heard of mine.

T2C: What was the importance of that album?

Loreena McKennitt:  ”The Old Ways,”  it’s interesting to perform these days with the thoughts and the things on my mind.  I had been traveling to Ireland and some of the traditions were going away. The old ways were disappearing. We have to ask ourselves if our lives are more inferior or are they richer due to technology. It is interfering in child and human development. I support and started Project, that seeks to keep technology out of the hand of children under 16.

Traditions and things seem to be slipping away in Ireland. We’ve seen a loss of traditions and rituals, and people making music together, dancing together, certain ways of being together because we’re now infected so much with the technology. We’ve become more spectators than participants. I see that when I was writing and ruminating on this. We’ve become more spectators than participants.

T2C: What is your favorite song off that album and why?

Loreena McKennitt: There like children, it depends on the day and what I am feeling. “The Lady of Shalott” by Tennyson has the beautiful lyrics “The reaper, reaping late and early,” which for me is my early connection with the land, gardening, the rhythms, seeing the moon that communes with nature. Trying to capture that pastoral world.

T2C: You also write songs. What is your inspiration?

Loreena McKennitt: It surprise me, it is unpredictable. I study the history of the Celts. The first thing I do is I go on travels to places like Morroco, Ireland, Spain and I read books. I gather all the information, but to be in the geography with the smells, the light inspires me and then I stitch or paint that into the fabric of a song.

T2C: What other music do you enjoy?

Loreena McKennitt: My tastes have gone more avert, from Peter Paul & Mary, Joni Mitchell, Tom Watts, Dire Straits, Patchai to Fado.  Music stores have closed down and radio stations are far and few between, so it is much more difficult to be exposed to music. I listen a lot to the BBC classical music station. I manage my own career so I haven’t had time to catch up.

T2C: They say that eyes are the window of the soul, but I think songs are. What song or cycle of songs describes who you are?

Loreena McKennitt: Patchai eclectic music is a medium that no other medium can touch even slightly. There is something about music with the right ingredients that reach into people’s soul. The Sufi’s polish the mirror of your soul. It takes practice. I tried to bring that with the Saint Petersburg Choir onto Dante’s Prayer an Easter Hymn. I wrote that on a Transberian train in 1995. I got home right before Christmas.

T2C: You say you wrote for theater. Can you tell me more about that?

Loreena McKennitt:  I worked at the Stratford Festival for 3 years. I wrote and performed music for a play on William Blake and Two Gentleman of Verona. I also performed and composed for The Abby Theatre in Dublin. In films I composed and performed for “Women and Spirituality,” “Goddess Remembered”, “Bayo”, “Heaven On Earth”, “Disney’s Tinkerbell and “The Santa Claus”, to name a few. I like to support other creative visions instead of your singular one.

T2C: You were induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. What is your biggest accomplishment?

Loreena McKennitt: The fact I did well in the music industry considering I wanted to be a veterinarian. The fact my music has meaning to my audiences. Major success was never what I set out for in life. I am a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba and the recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals. In 2013 I was appointed to the rank of Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France.

I am also an Honorary Colonel of the 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was awarded the RCAF Commander’s Commendation in recognition of outstanding professionalism and dedication. In September 2014, I was appointed as the Honorary Colonel of the Royal Canadian Air Force. I started and support the Three Oaks Foundation provides financial support to cultural, environmental, historical and social groups.  I also help support the indigenous people, truth and reconciliation.

T2C: What would you like listeners to take away from your music?

Loreena McKennitt: I hope they connect with the music, the journeys and get a reprise from the troubling times we live in. This much we can do in our own household’s. We can be kind and compassionate, not be afraid of fear and stand up for the good. In order for fear to reign good people doing nothing.

T2C: What haven’t we asked you?

Loreena McKennitt: I live on a farm and study the ecosystem. I study history so we do not repeat ourselves. It is so important we learn from what is happening not to weaponized technology. Music can heal and we need to keep that in mind.

Loreena will have a new album out in March of 2024 titled The Road Back Home.

For updates on Loreena’s album, please visit https://loreenamckennitt.com/

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

YOUNG’S 12 — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Since he began making records in the 60’s, Neil Young has seldom let a year or two pass between albums. Even as the last LP by Buffalo Springfield was being prepped for release, the Canadian singer-songwriter was making his self-titled solo debut, which came out just a few months later.

Young has never been reluctant to follow his creative muse, even if he’s in the middle of another project. More than one time during his career he’s shelved a project just to move on to something else. Sometimes – as in the case of Homegrown and Chrome Dreams – those records would be released at a later (sometimes much later) date; in other instances, we’re still waiting.

All this productivity and activity can lead to periods of inconsistency, as you’ll see in the below list of the 12 Worst Neil Young Albums. One era in particular stands out: the ’80s (spoiler: Six successive albums during the decade make the list). But LPs from the ’60s, ’70s, ’90s and the ’00s are here, too.When you’re as prolific as Young, they can’t all be After the Gold Rush and Harvest. Even when the records didn’t reach his usual standards, most of them still found new ways to continue on the restless path he started in the mid-’60s. From synth-pop and traditional country to ’50 rock ‘n’ roll and horn-spotted soul, Young’s instincts rarely took him to expected destinations.

Are You Passionate?’ (2002)

Young’s 24th album was supposed to be another Crazy Horse collaboration, Toast, which didn’t get released until 2022. Instead, he pivoted to a record with Booker T. & the MG’s that was billed as a soul album and included Young’s response to 9/11, “Let’s Roll.” One of the shelved Crazy Horse tracks is included, and it concludes with a nine-minute jam. Scant direction and thin songs sink Are You Passionate?

‘Peace Trail’ (2016)

Young’s 36th studio LP was sandwiched between a live album with Promise of the Real and a solo archival release recorded in 1976. Both are preferable to this quickly assembled record made with drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Paul Bushnell. Its political points are similar to the ones he’d been supporting since the ’60s, but now with a technological lean (there’s even some Auto-Tune on a track). Instantly disposable.

‘Storytone’ (2014)

The second of two albums released by Young in 2014 (the first was the solo acoustic A Letter Home), Storytone featured big band and orchestral backings to songs inspired by a new romance with actress Daryl Hannah. Forgettable and uncertain – swing and classical don’t mix all that well – the album arrived during a period of prolific activity. An equally unmemorable stripped-down version of the album was released at the same time.

‘Old Ways’ (1985)

Young’s country album Old Ways was first proposed after 1983’s Trans, the synth-based LP he delivered to Geffen. The label balked and insisted on a rock album instead; they got the 1950s throwback Everybody’s Rockin’. Young returned to his country album in 1985, enlisting Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and fiddle and pedal steel musicians. Another unremarkable genre detour during Young’s most dour decade.

‘Everybody’s Rockin” (1983)

Young’s second Geffen LP was as baffling as the first. But where Trans moved forward, Everybody’s Rockin’ was a throwback to 1950s rockabilly, complete with a retro look (pompadour, face-dominating sideburns) and name (Neil and the Shocking Pinks). Four songs were covers; an original (“Wonderin'”) dated to 1970. It runs less than 25 minutes. Geffen soon sued Young for making deliberately uncommercial records.

‘Landing on Water’ (1986)

Three genre-specific albums left Young at odds with Geffen Records in the mid-’80s to the point where the label sued him for making records that didn’t sound like Neil Young records. Landing on Water was his return (albeit once again stitched together from years-old sessions) to fuss-free rock music. Good luck finding a memorable song, though. Even Young has referred to Landing on Water as a “piece of crap.”

‘Broken Arrow’ (1996)

After 1989’s career-reviving Freedom, Neil Young had an admirable run in the first half of the ’90s. Then Broken Arrow arrived. Shaken by the death of longtime producer David Briggs, Young and Crazy Horse falteringly recorded the LP over a month, often with no guidance or direction (the first three songs each run more than seven minutes and are little more than aimless jams). An unsteady new era was around the corner.

‘This Note’s for You’ (1988)

After a contentious five-album run with Geffen, Young returned to Reprise for his 16th LP. But he still wasn’t ready to discard the ’80s explorations that marked the decade. The flimsy This Note’s for You, co-credited to the Bluenotes (a horn-based group with other ties to Young’s past), dipped into jump blues music while adhering to a slim conceptual thread about commercialism. At least it contained a minor hit in the title track.

‘Life’ (1987)

Neil Young made five albums with Geffen in the ’80s, none of them particularly good. But at least most of them have some sort of identifiable tag: synth-pop, rockabilly, country. Life has nothing to single it out. Mostly recorded live with overdubs added later, the Crazy Horse collaboration ended Young’s controversial relationship with Geffen on a sour, but expected, note. Maybe the most easily dismissed LP in his entire catalog.

‘Trans’ (1982)

After more than two dozen years with Reprise Records, Neil Young jumped to the flourishing Geffen label for his 12th album. Nobody expected his first record under the new contract to be a futuristic new-wave LP made with synths and a vocoder altering Young’s voice – especially the label. Young has said he made Trans to communicate with his son, who had cerebral palsy. A year later Geffen filed a lawsuit.

‘American Stars ‘n Bars’ (1977)

Neil Young’s catalog is scattered with albums stitched together from various session sources. For his eighth LP, he collected nine songs recorded over a two-and-a-half-year period, starting in 1974. The results were mixed. The stripped-back country rock made with Crazy Horse on Side One has little connection to the plugged-in fury of “Like a Hurricane,” a mid-decade highlight, and the solo acoustic “Will to Love.” Aimless.

‘Neil Young’ (1968)

Young’s solo debut isn’t terrible, it’s just a letdown after the buzz he generated with Buffalo Springfield. Only a handful of songs (including “The Loner,” fleshed out onstage over the years) make an impression; the rest finds the still-growing singer-songwriter tentatively stepping away from his former band while occasionally tethered to their era-identified folk rock. Better things were to come.

SHORT TAKES — On Wednesday’s Today Show, Carson Daly revealed his first concert ever was Ziggy Marley. And as he and a friend took their seats, it seemed to Daly as if smoke rose from the stage. Daly’s friend said it was happy smoke

Leah McSweeney

I never heard of Leah McSweeney (another Bravo Housewife), but Tuesday she filed a lawsuit against Andy Cohen. More lurid details for sure. Is Andy this year’s Harvey? I’ll tell you, between Cohen, Puffy and the gals … it’s a huge, huge mess and heads will definitely roll at NBC/Comcast. Stay tuned … Yankee-Bernie Williams is at the Carlyle?

I haven’t heard his music, but this reminds me of Knick-Earl Monroe years back introducing his Pretty Pearl Records. I honestly don’t even remember the artists, but the project came and went pretty quick … Debbie Gibson on the 80’s Cruise with Wang Chung; Escape Club; English Beat; Soft Cell; Air Supply; Ray Parker; Animotion; and Tommy Tutone. Check it out here: https://the80scruise.com/lineup/

Richard Lewis photo by Stephen Sorokoff

So sad about Richard Lewis. He used to be a very, very frequent companion to me back in the day at Lorelei on West 58th street. He was always so funny and sweet. A true companion for the naughty 90’s. He’ll be much missed …

Kjersti Long

Zach Martin interviews 17-old wunderkind Kjersti Long on his NEW HD radio today …  Felix Cavaliere and The Rascals at the Patchogue Theater on April 26 and SONY Hall on May 17th … Happy BDay Zach Lloyd; Mitch Ryder; Roy Trakin; and Judy Libow!

Debbie Gibson

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jacqueline Boyd; Nancy Harrison; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Jim Kerr; Debbie Gibson; Heather Moore; Roger Friedman; Mark Bego; Melinda Newman; Joe Lynch; Obi Steinman; Felix Cavaliere; Amanda Naylor; Tolouse Bean; Howard Jones; Mark Alpert; Donald Johnson Kyla Nicole; Angela Tarantino;n Barry Fisch; and SADIE!

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Events

Eli Marcus Brings His Networking Event to Fushimi Times Square

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Eli Marcus, Chief Marketing Officer of NYC’s largest circulation Visitor Magazine, City Guide, has done it again. On February 28th he organized a wonderful networking event for those in the hospitality and theater communities. And true to form he did so in a beautiful new restaurant on 43rd Street off 8th Avenue – in the heart of Times Square. Fushimi Times Square is the latest outlet for the Japanese group who has had success in Staten Island, Bay Ridge and Williamsburg. Their restaurant at 311 W43rd Street is a welcome entry to the area and now that the scaffolding is gone from that block it is a pleasant walk to the welcoming door of this beautiful space.

Fushimi Beautiful decorations

The decor has a beautiful sculpture of a fish hanging from the ceiling which depicts the delicious selections of sushi and sashimi prepared by the talented chefs.

The talented chefs are in view as they create these delicacies.

Guests at the evenings event were served appetizers of amazing tuna tartare and a variety of warm dishes of dumplings, and eggrolls – pork, shrimp and vegetarian.

Tuna tartare is a burst of flavor

Dumplings and Eggrolls were served

Barry Huang, manager of Fushimi Times Square is a silhouette in the long entry way to this beautifully designed restaurant.

Eli and Ramon

Eli invited some interesting people to the event. Publicist to megastars, Ramon Henry II, has an interesting podcast  and is the author of The Fame Game.

Eli and Hugh Hysell

Hugh Hysell is a major force in the New York social circles and it was great to see him at the event.

Errol, Quinn and Eli

Errol Rappaport, promoter, and singer, actress, Quinn Lemley, who just returned from London where she performed her one woman show about Rita Hayworth joined Eli at the event.

Rocksax gave out merch to lucky winners

Rocksax, purveyor of officially licensed music merchandise was in attendance and gave out some of their product to some lucky attendees.

The beautiful bar

In addition to the wonderful food, Fushimi’s beautiful bar is a welcome spot to relax.

The crowd

As usual the attendees had an excellent time meeting, chatting and enjoying the food

Barry and Eli

Eli looks on as the Fushimi manager, Barry Huang thanks the guests for coming

Barry and the DJ

Barry and the DJ kept the food, drinks and music going through the event

I look forward to returning to Fushimi at 311 west 43rd Street for a full dinner of their excellent visionary Japanese-fusion dishes.

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Broadway

Grand Hotel: The 35th Anniversary Original Broadway Cast Reunion Concert at 54 Below

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Grand Hotel original cast members Karen Akers, Timothy Jerome, Bob Stillman, David Jackson, David Andrew White, and Walter Willison, reunited last night at 54 Below. Even original bass player Ray Kilday was there.

Tim Jerome

The fabulous David Jackson, David White

54 Below was transformed into Berlin’s Grand Hotel for the event. The staging was immersive as Walter Willison, introduced, directed and produced. The choreography (originally done by Broadway legend Tommy Tune, was there celebrating his 85th birthday on Monday night).

Two tango dancers (Michael Choi and Vanda Polakova), circled the room making their way to the stage for “I Waltz Alone.” The concert featured choreography by Michael Notardonato, who also served as associate director.

Bob Stillman Jennifer Bassey Davis

Ken Jennings

Willison, who also played Colonel Doctor Otternschlag) kept Maury Yeston’s entire glorious score. “I Want to Go to Hollywood” for example. That number was skillfully sung by Susan Wood Duncan, who played Flaemmchen in the touring cast.

Bob Stillman

Walter Willison

Ken Jennings stepped in as Otto Kringelein, leading the company in a moving “We’ll Take a Glass Together!” was sung in the bar area.

Diane J. Findlay

A highlight was Diane J. Findlay

Karen Akers

Jennifer Bassey Davis as Elizaveta Grushinskaya, and Akers as Rafaella, were haunting.

Susie McCollum

Harper Lee Andrews and Susie McCollum played the roles their mothers originated.

The cast

On Monday Happy Birthday closed the show to a reprise of “We’ll Take a Glass Together” and thus they did.

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Entertainment

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Maury Yeston and Victoria Clark Rescheduled

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I am so pleased to announce that on March 13th we are rescheduling our interview with are two time Tony winner Maury Yeston and two time Tony winner Victoria Clark.

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a new show that is filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our first episode click here second episode click here and for our third episode click here.

Hope you can join us for what will be one fabulous musical night.

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Events

A Look At The Vineyard Theatre’s Starry Gala

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Photo Patti LuPone and Jesse Tyler Ferguson© Bruce Glikas @bruglikas@broadwaybruce_

Here are photos from the Vineyard Theatre’s 2024 Annual Gala honoring Tony Award-winning actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Take Me Out) held Monday, February 26, 2024, at the Edison Ballroom, the festive evening included performances by Sara Bareilles with Rosie’s Theatre Kids, Patti LuPone, Lea DeLaria, Celia Keenan-Bolger and more. Sarah Saltzberg served as host and Hiram Delgado, Bill Heck, Ken Marks, Michael Oberholtzer and Eduardo Ramos paid hilarious tribute to their Take Me Out co-star.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson at Vineyard Theatre 2024 Gala © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Chelsea Clinton at Vineyard Theatre 2024 Gala © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

Also attendance to support were Chelsea Clinton, Kevin Cahoon, Crystal Dickinson, Brandon J. Dirden, Brandon Victor Dixon, Renata Friedman, Montego Glover, Michael R. Jackson, Haskell King, Christine Lahti, John Lavelle, Luke Macfarlane, Justin Mikita, Deirdre O’Connell, Hadi Tabbal and Rolanda Watts.

Celia Keenan-Bolger, Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton, Sara Bareilles, Kevin Cahoon, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Lea DeLaria © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Christopher Shinn, Emily Bergl and Luke Macfarlane © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

Celebratory toasts were also given to Rosemarie Bray, Educator at Union Square Academy of Health Sciences and Christina Poon, General Manager of W Hotel – New York – Union Square. The Gala will be

Montego Glover, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Sara Bareilles © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

The Gala was co-directed by Leigh Silverman (Suffs, Harry Clarke, Sandra) and Colin Hanlon (DOT, “Modern Family”) with musical direction by Vadim Feichtner (Spelling Bee, Falsettos, New Brain).

Sara Bareilles and Rosie’s Theatre Kids © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

The Gala host committee includes the Patrick J. Adams, Blavatnik Family Foundation, John Barrie and Betsy Smith, Kathleen and Henry Chalfant, Ken and Rande Greiner, Mark Lerner and Steven Frank, Padma Lakshmi, Sue Marks, Justin Mikita, David J. Schwartz andTrudy Zohn, Annette Stover and Richard Feiner and Julia Vitullo-Martin. Under the artistic leadership of Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern, Vineyard Theatre develops and produces new plays and musicals that push the boundaries of what theatre can be and do. For over 40 years, The Vineyard has nurtured a community of fearless theatre makers whose work has expanded the form, the field, and the larger culture. Vineyard Theatre has transferred eleven shows to Broadway, seven directly after their acclaimed Vineyard premieres: Lucas Hnath’s Dana H. and Tina Satter’s Is This A Room (both New York Times Best Theatre of 2021); Paula Vogel’s Indecent; Nicky Silver’s The Lyons; Kander, Ebb and Thompson’s The Scottsboro Boys; Bell and Bowen’s [title of show]; and Avenue Q by Marx, Lopez and Whitty (Tony Award, Best Musical). In recent years, four additional shows launched at The Vineyard have been revived in their first Broadway productions: Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive; Lanie Robertson’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar And Grill; Becky Mode’s Fully Committed; and Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Three Tall Women. From our home in NYC’s Union Square, The Vineyard develops and premieres new plays and musicals which go on to be seen around the country and the world. Recently, Jeremy O. Harris’ play “Daddy” (2019) received its London premiere at the Almeida; Ngozi Anyanwu’s Good Grief (2018) and David Cale’s Harry Clarke (2017) were recorded by Audible; Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Gloria (2014), a finali st for the Pulitzer Prize, transferred to Chicago’s Goodman Theatre; Paula Vogel’s Tony Award-winning Indecent (2016) aired on PBS’s “Great Performances” and was one of the most-produced plays nationwide in 2019; and Oscar Nominee Colman Domingo’s Dot (2016) is being adapted into an AMC series. The Vineyard’s first major digital work, Lessons in Survival, was named one of the top theatrical experiences of 2020 by the New York Times and has been viewed by audiences in more than 40 countries. 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 New York City public high school students annually, culminating in Developing Artists’ REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival. The Roth-Vogel New Play Commission is awarded annually to a mid to late-career playwright to create and develop a new play with The Vineyard. Our work and artists have been honored with numerous awards including Pulitzer Prizes and Tony Awards, and the company is proud to be the recipient of special Drama Desk, Obie, and Lucille Lortel Awards for artistic excellence and support of artists. 

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