Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre has launched the Roth-Vogel New Play Commission in partnership with Tony Award-winning producer Daryl Roth and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel. The annual commission will be awarded to a mid- to late-career playwright to create and develop a new play with the theatre.
Vogel and Roth's relationship with The Vineyard began more than 23 years ago with the world premiere of Vogel's landmark play How I Learned to Drive at the Off-Broadway theatre in 1997. This was followed by collaborations on Indecent, first seen at Vineyard Theatre in 2016, and the Broadway revival of How I Learned to Drive (scheduled for spring 2020 and now postponed).
The Vineyard was set to honor the two women at its spring gala (scheduled to take place April 20); however, the event was canceled due to the shutdowns enforced in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"We are grateful that our friends at The Vineyard chose to honor us at the 2020 Gala, and for the generous contributions made thus far to the event," shared Vogel and Roth in a statement. "Since the gala is unable to happen, in its place we wanted to create something lasting and meaningful in appreciation of that recognition. We are proud to initiate the Roth-Vogel New Play Commission, to be given annually through Vineyard Theatre. We hope this will encourage and inspire work to emerge from these difficult times… Art matters.”
"With this new annual commission, we hope to recognize and invest in writers whose voices need more prominence in our changing world, and to support them with the time, space and attention to create the new work that they've hoped but not yet dared to write," added Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern. "Our relationship with Paula and Daryl—from our first collaboration on How I Learned to Drive to our most recent with Indecent—has been integral to The Vineyard, and we look forward with great anticipation to this next chapter and to the work that will emerge."
The commission will be dedicated to Roth’s mother, Sylvia Connie Atkins, in the spirit of inspiring and supporting artists to be curious and brave and creative.