Vineyard Theatre and Developing Artists Present Developing Artists’ Rebel Verses

Vineyard Theatre and Developing Artists Present Developing Artists’ Rebel Verses

Vineyard Theatre and Developing Artists will partner again to present Developing Artists’ Rebel Verses, a two-week festival of performances by some of the best youth companies in New York City and beyond. Performances are August 8-17 at Vineyard Theatre (108 East 15th Street).  

With a mission to nurture the unapologetic, unrestrained creativity of the next generation, Rebel Verses provides an opportunity for young artists ages 13-19 to perform their own original work and to collaborate and network with their peers and prominent guest artists. Founded 16 years ago by Developing Artists, and co-produced by Vineyard Theatre, Rebel Verses celebrates the work these young artists create in an environment that champions the legitimacy of all stories and backgrounds. 

Each night will include a prominent Guest Artist joining the festival for a special performance. 

  • Spoken word artist Vanessa Hidary (aka “The Hebrew Mamita”) will perform Thursday, August 8. 
  • Recording artist and actor Alex Newell (“Glee,” Once on This Island) will perform Friday, August 9.  
  • Recording artist and actor Tina Fabrique (Ragtime) will perform Thursday, August 15. 
  • “Scandal” star, Emmy Award-winner, and Vineyard Board member, Joe Morton will perform Saturday, August 17.  
  • Sean Carvajal (King LearJesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train) will emcee performances August 15-17.
  • Analisa Velez (Tell Hector I Miss Him) will emcee performances August 8-10. 

Additional artists will be announced in coming weeks. 

Week One will feature performances by young-artist companies The Door (New York City), Epic NEXT (New York City), Poetesses (Jersey City, NJ), Pry Safe (Brooklyn, NY), and Urban Word (New York City). 

Week Two will feature G!rl Be Heard (New York City), Loco-Motion Dance Theatre (New York City), and MCC Youth Company (New York City). Developing Artists, Vineyard Theatre Student Ensemble, and Alumni Theater Company (Pittsburgh) will perform on all nights of the Festival.

Rebel Verses is an opportunity, offered by the Vineyard Theatre and Developing Artists, for young poets, rappers, spoken word artists, and more, to respond, reflect, and reveal their perspective of the world around them,” says Joe Morton, a previous participating guest artist.

Developing Artists, launched in 1999, is led by Artistic Director Jill DeArmon and Executive Director Jinn S. Kim. For the last four seasons DeArmon and Kim facilitated The Vineyard’s education programs. Now run by David Andrew Laws, The Vineyard’s education program is in its 21st year serving local public high school students and teachers. Education programming at Vineyard Theatre is designed to address students’ needs and empower underrepresented voices as artists and audiences. The Vineyard’s programs focus on developing students’ honest and unique voices and creative writing skills, and provide performance opportunities. Rebel Verses is the culmination of new works developed in collaboration by members of the Vineyard Theatre Student Ensemble in partnership with Developing Artists.

Rebel Verses is truly unique, giving passionate young artists the chance to express themselves bravely, and audiences the chance to hear directly from the hearts and minds of the next generation,” says Sarah Stern, Artistic Director of Vineyard Theatre. “We are proud to partner with our friends at Developing Artists and look forward immensely to being inspired by the energy, honesty and creativity of the young artists in this year’s festival; The Vineyard is electric when they are on stage!”

As a home for young artists and an incubator for new voices in theatre, both Developing Artists and Rebel Verses boast a roster of alumni who are now working professionals in the performing arts. Among these artists are Raul Castillo (“Looking”), Sean Carvajal (Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train), Alex Flores (The Maze Runner), Lexi Lawson (Hamilton), Dominique Morisseau (Tony Award-nominee for Best Book of a Musical for Ain’t Too Proud, author of The Detroit Projects trilogy). In 2007, The Vineyard producedHistory of the Word by Developing Artists alumnus Ben Snyder, in collaboration with students at Washington Irving High School and director and Vineyard board member Joe Morton.

Performances of Rebel Verses Youth Arts Festival take place at Vineyard Theatre (108 E. 15th St.) beginning at 7:00 PM each night: Thursday, August 8; Friday, August 9; and Saturday, August 10; Thursday, August 15; Friday, August 16; and Saturday, August 17.

Tickets from $5-$20. To purchase tickets and for more information, or call the box office at 212-353-0303.

Developing Artists provides opportunities for underserved teens to reach their full potential through practical application of the performing arts. We help diverse students to proclaim themselves as ARTivists who relentlessly fight for positive social change. Developing Artists’ signature innovation is the creation of Rebel Verses that unites an underserved segment of the theater community; one that celebrates the voices of young artists by inviting the best youth performing arts companies around to participate in an annual two-week festival. Developing Artists’ Board of Directors includes David Zayas (Fox: “Gotham,” Showtime: “Dexter”), Ana Ortiz (ABC: “Ugly Betty,” Lifetime: “Devious Maids”) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside & Crazy, Co-Creator & Executive Producer of “The Get Down”), who all believe passionately in the organization’s mission.

Vineyard Theatre is an Off-Broadway theatre company dedicated to developing and producing bold new plays and musicals by both emerging and established artists. The theater is committed to creating an artistic home for daring and diverse artists and nurturing their unique voices. For over 35 years, the company has sought to produce work that challenges all of us to see ourselves and our world in new ways, and that pushes 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’sWig Out!; Jenny Schwartz’ God’s Ear; Will Eno’s Middletown; Becky Mode’sFully 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 Rebel Verses 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.

Rebel Verses is funded in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Miranda Family Fund of the Hispanic Federation, and the Tiger Baron Foundation.


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:

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