Vineyard Theatre Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern and Managing Director Suzanne Appel have announced their annual gala which will honor Council Member Carlina Rivera and celebrate the music of Laura Nyro. The gala is scheduled to take place on Monday, May 16, 2022 beginning with dinner at Boucherie (225 Park Avenue S) with a concert to follow at the Daryl Roth Theatre (101 E. 15th Street).
The Vineyard’s Gala event will include cocktails, dinner, an auction and a concert featuring performances by members of the original cast of Eli’s Comin’ (2001), the Vineyard’s award-winning musical featuring the songs of Laura Nyro. The performance will feature OBIE Award winner and Tony Award nominee Mandy Gonzalez, multiple Tony Award nominee Judy Kuhn and Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose.
“Vineyard Theatre is an anchor of the Union Square community, where art and social consciousness go hand in hand,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “As arts and cultural institutions citywide come back after years of pandemic closures and instability, I am grateful for the honor of this recognition, and humbled to share in this celebration of the music of Laura Nyro. Nyro was a fierce advocate for peace and women’s rights, and together we honor her memory in our fight for equity for all New Yorkers.”
The event is sponsored by The Broadway Exchange. Gala Host Committee members include John Barrie and Betsy Smith, Kathleen and Henry Chalfant, Mark Lerner and Steven Frank, Sally Horchow, Cody Lassen, Caryl Orlando, Elise Jan Flagg, Sue Marks, Daryl Roth, Annette Stover and Richard Feiner, and Signature Bank .
Sponsorships are $50,000 and include two premium tables. Tables are $25,000, and $10,000, and individual tickets are $2,500 and $1,000 with a limited number of concert only tickets available for $500. Tickets can be purchased by emailing [email protected], calling (646) 931-4727, or visiting www.vineyardtheatre.org/gala. Funds raised will benefit The Vineyard’s return to live performances with the 2021-2022Season and its Good Neighbor program which provides free and low cost tickets to thousands of New Yorkers every year.
Carlina Rivera represents the 2nd Council District which includes the diverse neighborhoods of the East Village, Flatiron, Gramercy Park, Rose Hill, Kips Bay, Murray Hill and the Lower East Side. During her time in the Council, Carlina has already introduced and passed legislation related to sexual harassment, immigration, criminal justice reform, affordable housing, small business survival and bicycle safety. Carlina was born and raised in the 2nd District of Lower Manhattan by a single mother who emigrated from Puerto Rico. She began her career in afterschool programming, working with children at some of New York City’s highest-needs schools. She went on to serve her local community, creating and organizing initiatives for seniors and homeless New Yorkers as Director of Programs and Services at Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), a local non-profit focused on social justice. Carlina has a history of bringing people together to improve the lives, resources and well-being of the residents of Manhattan’s East Side, whether as a community board member, as an organizer or on a taskforce that secured funding for East River waterfront resiliency in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. After Sandy, Carlina helped coordinate thousands of volunteers to assist over 10,000 homebound residents as part of a recovery network that would go on to support families affected by the Second Avenue and Flatiron Explosions. She has already secured millions of dollars for her district to improve services, programs, schools and cultural institutions. Carlina lives with her husband, pug, and turtle. She graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Journalism, after attending local district schools her entire life.
Laura Nyro was one of the great singer-songwriters of our time. She released 22 critically acclaimed albums (including Eli and The Thirteenth Confession, New York Tendaberry, Christmas and the Beads of Sweat) and wrote literally dozens of songs that have become firmly fixed in the popular music canon, from her debut in 1966 at the age of 19 to her untimely death in 1997. Her music wasn’t just widely recorded, it also catapulted other performers up the charts, among them The 5th Dimension (“Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Sweet Blindness,” “Wedding Bell Blues”), Blood, Sweat & Tears (“And When I Die”), and Three Dog Night (“Eli’s Comin'”). Barbara Streisand charted three consecutive times with Nyro’s songs. Weaving together a combination of pop, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, rock, and soul, Nyro produced something genuinely rare in the world of pop music: an original sound, fired by a unique vision. Her influence on generations of performers is undeniable and may be one of her greatest legacies. Iconic singer-songwriter Elton John summed up Nyro’s influence on his own work: “The soul, the passion, just the out-and-out audacity of the way her rhythmic and melodic changes came were like nothing I’d ever heard before.” Laura’s passing at age 49 in 1997 robbed popular music of one of its purest lights. On April 14th, 2012, Laura Nyro received a long awaited induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Mandy Gonzalez, currently starring as Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton on Broadway, received an OBIE Award and overwhelming critical praise for her performance in the Off-Broadway production of Eli’s Comin’, directed by Diane Paulus and based on the music and lyrics of renowned singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. Equally at home on the big and small screen, she has appeared in Across the Universe directed by Julie Taymor, After starring opposite Pablo Schreiber and Man on a Ledge with Sam Worthington, a recurring role on the ABC drama thriller “Quantico,” a recurring role on “Only Murders in the Building,” and in the new Disney film, Better Nate Than Never. On Sunday evenings, television viewers can find her working at The White House on the CBS breakout hit “Madam Secretary.” Mandy can be heard as the voice of Mei in Disney’s Mulan 2 and on recordings of the original Broadway cast album of In the Heights, Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Live and The Man Who Would Be King. Mandy is also the author of two books Fearless and Boulevard of Dreams.
Judy Kuhn is a multiple Tony, Olivier and Grammy Award nominee best known for her work on Broadway in such shows as Fun Home, She Loves Me, Chess and Les Misérables. Other Broadway includes Fiddler on the Roof, Richard Nelson‘s Two Shakespearean Actors, Alan Menken & Tim Rice‘s King David and the Charles Strouse/Stephen Schwartz musical Rags. Most recently she played Sara Jane Moore in the Classic Stage Company revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman‘s Assassins directed by John Doyle. Other Off-Broadway includes Helen Bechdel in Fun Home at The Public Theater (Lucille Lortel Award); Eli’s Comin’ (Vineyard Theatre, Obie Award), Fosca in Passion (CSC, Drama League Award nomination). In 2019 she starred in Trevor Nunn‘s Olivier Award-winning production of Fiddler on the Roof in London’s West End (Olivier Award nomination) Film & TV includes: the singing voice of Disney’s Pocahontas; tick, tick…BOOM!, directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda; Enchanted; “Law & Order.” Judy has appeared on concert stages around the world including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and London’s Royal Albert Hall. She has recorded four solo albums.
Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose is currently filming the lead role of the Showtime series, “Let The Right One In.” She most-recently drew notice for her role in Netflix’s “Maid,” which resulted in her NAACP Image Award nomination. She also appeared in Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix), Lena Waithe‘s horror anthology Them: Covenant (Amazon) and Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu). Anika made history voicing Princess Tiana, Disney’s first Black Disney princess, in The Princess and The Frog. The film received three Oscar nominations and Anika became the youngest inductee to ever be honored as a Disney Legend. Theater Credits include: Caroline, or Change (Tony Award), Carmen Jones, A Raisin in the Sun (Tony nomination), Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Footloose. Additional TV and film: “The Quad,” “Roots,” Assassination Nation, Everything, Everything, Dreamgirls.
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 2021-22 season launched with the Broadway transfers of its productions of Tina Satter‘s Is This A Room, named “Best Theater of 2019 and 2021” by The New York Times, Time Out 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 and Time Out “Best Theatre of 2020 and 2021” and winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show, which played in repertory at the Lyceum Theatre fall of 2021. Paula Vogel‘s How I Learned to Drive, which premiered at The Vineyard 25 years ago, began performances on Broadway on March 29 reuniting original cast members Mary-Louise Parker, David Morse and Johanna Day with director Mark Brokaw.
The Vineyard’s fall season also included commissioned new works from Ngozi Anyanwu, Kirsten Childs, Jared Mezzocchi, Polly Pen and Madeline Sayet. The World Premiere of Lessons in Survival: 1971 will be performed from May 25 – June 30. Building on the digital exploration of Lessons in Survival, which was recognized by the New York Times as Best in Theater 2020, this revelatory live staging explores the layers of intimacy and ideas between two Black revolutionary artists of different generations, with astonishing resonance for today.
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.
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. The recently created 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. 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.