Vineyard Arts Project hosts Public Theater group

Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks –Courtesy Vineyard Arts Project

One of the country’s hottest playwrights is on the Island now working on new material while in residency at the Vineyard Arts Project (VAP) in Edgartown. Pulitzer prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks and a cast of New York actors are part of a group of playwrights, directors, and actors from New York’s famed Public Theater who are currently staying at the arts facility to create commissioned work.

This is the sixth year in a row that the VAP has hosted the Public Theater. On Saturday, August 26, Ms. Parks will present “a selection of scenes and songs from her work,” according to VAP founder and director Ashley Melone. The acclaimed playwright will also engage in a question-and-answer period following the performance.

Ms. Parks is a playwright, screenwriter, director, and novelist whose play “Topdog/Underdog,” which played on Broadway in 2002, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. She is the first African American woman to achieve this honor for drama. “Topdog/Underdog” was nominated for a Tony, a Drama Desk Award, and an Obie (for its run at the Public Theater).

Two other plays by Ms. Parks were Pulitzer Prize finalists, and she has won or been nominated for numerous other awards for her work in the theater. As a screenwriter, Ms. Parks wrote Spike Lee’s “Girl 6” and worked on screenplays for “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and “The Great Debaters.”

Currently a duo of plays called “The Red Letter Plays” by Ms. Parks is playing in repertory at the Signature Theater in New York City.

Also at the VAP with the Public Theater group right now are Martyna Majok, winner of multiple theater awards, and Somali-Canadian rapper K’Naan, who entertained a Vineyard audience last year with a performance of songs from a new musical he is working on.

“I’m really thrilled to be working with the Public Theater again,” says Ms. Melone. “Oskar Eustis [Public Theater artistic director] is on-Island again working with all of the artists.”

Works by Suzan-Lori Parks, Saturday, August 26, from 7 to 8 pm at the Vineyard Arts Project. For tickets visit