The event kicked off with an original song from [title of show] creators Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell and also included musical performances of the Vineyard's past hits. Merkerson performed songs from Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, Kuhn sang songs by Laura Nyro from Eli's Comin' and Jackson performed from John Kander and Fred Ebb's Flora, The Red Menace.
The evening also featured a tribute to Paula Vogel with the presentation of the company's inaugural Paula Vogel Playwriting Award. (The Vineyard first produced the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's How I Learned to Drive Off-Broadway in 1997 as well as her more recent work The Long Christmas Ride Home in 2003). Tarell McCraney, the winner of that award as well as the winners of the 2007 Kitty Carlisle Hart Musical Theatre Award (The Burnt Part Boys creators Nathan Tysen and Chris Miller) were honored.
At left (from top): Patricia Clarkson and Julianne Moore; Lili Taylor; Penny Fuller and Tony Roberts; Judy Kuhn; Ken Roberson; Becky Mode and Mark Setlock; Ann Harada; Cheyenne Jackson; Tarell McCraney, winner of the Paula Vogel Award and artistic director Douglas Aibel; Malcom Gets; Marsha Mason and Robyn Goodman; Jason Moore; S. Epatha Merkerson; Anne Fausto-Sterling and Paula Vogel; Bart Freundlich; Kathleen Chalfant and Veanne Cox.
photos by Aubrey Reuben