Part of the popular Hermitage @ Booker Series, renowned playwright, librettist, and screenwriter Craig Lucas engages Booker VPA students for an “Open Rehearsal” examining his award-winning plays, before sharing selections publicly with the Sarasota community and discussing his latest work.
(March 9, 2023) — The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Sarasota County, Florida) today announced the culmination of this year’s Hermitage @ Booker Series with a program featuring Tony Award Nominee, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and Hermitage alumnus Craig Lucas, who was also the inaugural recipient of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize in 2009. Elevating the Hermitage mission by enriching the community through unique and inspirational educational experiences, the Hermitage @ Booker Series provides classroom visits with world-renowned artists. The program combines classroom visits tailored to students with free performances and community events open to the public. Previous Hermitage @ Booker programs have featured Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Paula Vogel, internationally acclaimed folk musician Reggie Harris, and award-winning jazz bassist and improviser Luke Stewart, among others.
In this newly announced program, Lucas will join Booker students over the course of their day, examining his lauded plays and musicals and taking a deep dive into his experiences as a playwright, screenwriter, and director. Then, at 5:30pm in the Outdoor Courtyard at Booker High, Craig Lucas and the Visual and Performing Arts students invite community members to observe an ‘open rehearsal’ where the students will present the works in process while engaging with Lucas on crafting their performance. The program concludes with a conversation between Lucas and the audience about what he is working on now, including a musical adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize finalist play, Prelude to a Kiss, which he has developed partly at the Hermitage.
Previously announced programs in March include partnerships with Asolo Repertory Theatre, Embracing Our Differences, and North Port High School. Featured artists and performers include Hermitage Fellows Kit Yan (Jonathan Larson Grant and Kleban Prize recipient), writer-actor Nandita Shenoy (O’Neill Finalist, Kilroys List), and celebrated teaching artist Tina LaPadula (founder, Seattle Teaching Artist Network, former chair Association of Teaching Artists).
(Full program details for all events are provided below, along with bios for artists.)
Nearly all Hermitage programs are free and open to the public (with a $5/person registration fee), offering Gulf Coast audiences a rare chance to engage and interact with some of the world’s leading talent. Due to capacity limitations and social distancing, registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org.
The Hermitage hosts artists on its Gulf Coast Manasota Key campus for multi-week residencies, where diverse artists from around the world and across multiple disciplines create and develop new works of theater, music, visual art, literature, dance, and more. As part of their residencies, Hermitage Fellows participate in free community programs, offering audiences in the region a unique opportunity to engage with some of the world’s leading artists and to get an authentic “sneak peek” into extraordinary projects and artistic minds before their works go on to major galleries, concert halls, theaters, and museums around the world. These free and innovative programs include performances, lectures, readings, interactive experiences, open studios, school programs, teacher workshops, and more, serving thousands in our regional community each year.
For more information about the Hermitage and upcoming programs, or to support the Hermitage’s hurricane repair efforts, visit HermitagArtistRetreat.org.
FULL PROGRAM DETAILS
Newly announced program descriptions:
- “Craig Lucas: An Open Rehearsal” featuring Tony Award nominee, Pulitzer Prize finalist and the inaugural winner of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Craig Lucas – Wednesday, March 22nd @ 5:30pm on the Booker High School Campus: Tony Award nominee and Pulitzer Prize finalist Craig Lucas, the first winner of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize, returns to Sarasota to talk process and show how great works – such as his indelible, Pulitzer Prize finalist Prelude to a Kiss – begin to find their feet. This remarkable playwright, librettist, screenwriter, and director is noted for works that center the “power of compassion and empathy in a brutal universe” (The New York Times). His additional Tony Award-nominated librettos include the musicals An American in Paris, Light in the Piazza, and in Paradise Square. Come see Lucas work with Booker VPA students and hear him discuss transforming his iconic play into a musical during his time at the Hermitage, as well as sharing insight on other works in process. Presented in Partnership with Booker High School VPA. Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org ($5/person registration fee). Booker High School Outdoor Courtyard, 3201 N Orange Ave, Sarasota, FL 34234
Previously announced program descriptions:
- “Comedy and Community” featuring Hermitage Major Theater Award Winner Madeleine George – Friday, March 10th @ 5:30pm on the Hermitage Beach: Madeleine George is one of the first recipients of the Hermitage Major Theater Award, a $35,000 national commission presented by the Hermitage to create an original work of theater. A writer for Hulu’s hit series “Only Murders in the Building” (starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez), Madeleine is working on her newest play at the Hermitage as a result of her HMTA commission. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for her work The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, her award-winning works of theater are funny and infinitely human, formally inventive and smartly observed. Sometimes absurd and always deeply felt, works like the New York Theater Workshop production of Hurricane Diane bring the Greek goddess to modern day New Jersey while skewering passivity towards climate change. Come hear what is next for this brilliant writer and what she has planned for her Hermitage Major Theater Award commission. Made possible with generous support from the Kutya Major Foundation. Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org ($5/person registration fee). Hermitage Beach, 6660 Manasota Key Rd, Englewood, FL 34223
- “Sofía Rocha: Making Musical Waves” featuring the 2022 Hermitage Prize in Composition winner Sofía Rocha – Thursday, March 16th @ 6:30pm at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Downtown Sarasota): Now in its tenth year, the Hermitage Prize in Composition is presented annually in collaboration with the Aspen Music Festival and School. This distinguished honor awards the gift of time, space, and support to an exceptional student in Aspen’s world renowned composition program. This year’s winner, Sofía Rocha, has deep ties to the Gulf Coast of Florida, having grown up in Naples, and writes music of uncompromising emotional intensity. Join us for a “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens” to hear from this inventive next-generation composer as she contextualizes selections of her work being performed by the Pops Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota and the Venice Symphony. Presented in Partnership with the Pops Orchestra and Venice Symphony at Selby Gardens, sponsored in part by Scene Magazine (Downtown Sarasota). Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org ($5/person registration fee). 1534 Mound Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
- “Hermitage Turns 20: Andy Sandberg & Broadway Friends in Concert” A One-Night Only Benefit Concert – Monday, March 20th @ 7:30pm at The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall (Sarasota) This 20th Anniversary Celebration concert will raise funds for ongoing repairs from Hurricane Ian. Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg returns to his roots as a performer to sing this benefit concert at Sarasota’s iconic Van Wezel Hall. Sandberg – a director, writer, performer, and Tony Award-winning producer is joined by celebrated Broadway performers Jeannette Bayardelle (Tony Award Nominee), Laura Bell Bundy (Tony Award Nominee), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Drama Desk Award Winner), Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer (Lucille Lortel Award Winner), and Sarasota’s own Ann Morrison. The star-studded cast is accompanied by Hermitage Fellow and 2023 Grammy Award nominee Rona Siddiqui. Tickets $25, $50, $75, $250) are available online at VanWezel.org or by phone at (941) 263-6799, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236.
- “Complicated, Beautiful, Messy and Strange: The Words and Music of Kit Yan” featuring Hermitage Fellow Kit Yan – Friday, March 24th @ 6pm in Partnership with Asolo Repertory Theater (Sarasota): When Hermitage Fellow Kit Yan thinks about storytelling, they “think about people – how complicated, beautiful, messy, and strange we can be.” The recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant and the prestigious Kleban Prize, Kit’s work has been seen across the country at 5th Ave Theater, Playwrights Horizons, and American Repertory Theater, among others. Join the Hermitage Artist Retreat in partnership with Asolo Rep as they bring you selections of this distinct creator’s vision through song and poetry, including new works from the creator themselves. Presented at Asolo Rep’s Robert and Beverly Koski Center (Sarasota). Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org ($5/person registration fee). 1009 Tallevast Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243
- “Creativity for All” featuring Hermitage Fellows Tina LaPadula and Nandita Shenoy – Thursday, March 30th @ 5:00pm in Partnership with Embracing Our Differences and North Port High School at Butler Park (North Port): Using the large-scale visual art exhibition from Embracing our Differences as a launch pad, Hermitage Fellows Tina LaPadula and Nandita Shenoy invite students and audience members to tell a story. A leading teaching artist, Tina LaPadula is a founder of the award-winning arts non-profit Arts Corps and is the former chair of the Association for Teaching Artists. She has led countless workshops and conversations about the impact of stories and the arts in our lives with a focus on young people. Nandita Shenoy is a writer-actor who has performed and had her work performed across the country from Flint, MI to Silver Spring MD, from the virtual world of Zoom to Off-Broadway in New York, and from Alabama Shakespeare Festival to Cal Shakes. Both of these incredible artists and community builders share insights as they guide this participatory creative process. Presented in partnership with Embracing Our Differences and North Port High School at Butler Park (North Port)Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org ($5/person registration fee). 6205 W Price Blvd, North Port, FL 34287
The Hermitage Greenfield Prize Weekend – Schedule of Events:
- “Aleshea Harris Presents” with Playwright & 2021 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner Aleshea Harris, Friday, April 14, 5:30pm: Winner of the 2021 Hermitage Greenfield Prize, genre-defying playwright and theater maker Aleshea Harris has also been honored with the OBIE, Relentless, and Helen Merrill Awards, as well as a special commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her critically acclaimed works include Is God Is, What to Send Up When It Goes Down, On Sugarland, and Brother, Brother. Described by The New York Times as “a rarefied theatrical intelligence,” Harris’ work seeks to honor the tragedies of the past and present while allowing for a potential hope to come. Join the Hermitage on Friday, April 14th at 5:30pm to hear a presentation of this incredible theater-maker’s Hermitage Greenfield Prize commission. Presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and Asolo/FSU Conservatory. Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org ($5/person registration fee). The Cook Theater (FSU Asolo Center for Performing Arts), 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida 34243.
- “Sandy Rodriguez: Putting Sarasota on the Map,” with 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner in Visual Art Sandy Rodriguez Saturday, April 15, 2pm: 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner in Visual Art Sandy Rodriguez plans to use her commission to create a panoramic exhibition, the centerpiece of which will be a new large-scale map that depicts the southeastern topography and coastline of the U.S. marked by stories of resistance from the colonial period to the present. In this engaging visual conversation, Rodriguez will show examples of her work that resonate thematically and discuss her process, which includes using hand-processed, locally sourced materials for pigments. Joined by Hermitage Alum and Greenfield Prize juror for this year Anne Patterson, as well as fellow juror and Creative Capital President and Executive Director Christine Kuan, celebrate the 15th year of the prize with a sneak peek into this incredible artist’s vision of the world and concept for this storied commission. Presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org ($5/household registration fee). Hermitage Campus, Palm House (Indoors) 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, Florida 34223.
- “Rennie Harris: Street Dance Pioneer” with 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner in Dance and Choreography Lorenzo ‘Rennie’ Harris, Saturday, April 15, 6pm: 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner in Dance & Choreography Rennie Harris believes that hip-hop is the most important original expression of a new generation. He has dedicated his life and his company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, to preserving and celebrating hip-hop culture through workshops, demonstrations, and public performances. Joined in conversation by dance historian Charmaine Warren and Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Executive Producer Emeritus and longtime friend of the Hermitage Joseph V. Melillo, Harris shares insights into his remarkable career bringing street dance to stages all around the world, and how being the first ever recipient of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize in dance will shape his new work “Losing my Religion.” Be among the first to hear about how this piece shifts away from what was to what is and what can be. Presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org ($5/person registration fee). The Hermitage Beach, 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, Florida 34223.
- 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner: A Celebration of Art and Dance, Sunday, April 16, 6pm: The 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner recognizes this year’s recipients, visual artist Sandy Rodriguez and dancer-choreographer Lorenzo ‘Rennie’ Harris. This 15th year of the Prize in the 20th Anniversary Season of the Hermitage will feature live performances, including a selection from 2022 HGP recipient Angélica Negrón, whose commission is anticipated for a first public performance in April of next year. Additional guest artists will be announced at a later date. Presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The Ringling Museum’s Ca’ d’Zan (5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, FL 34243). For tables and sponsorships ($1,250 to $10,000), visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org, or call (941) 475-2098, Ext. 2.
About the Hermitage Artist Retreat:
The Hermitage is a non-profit artist retreat located in Manasota Key, Florida, inviting accomplished artists across multiple disciplines for residencies on its beachfront campus, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Hermitage artists are invited to interact with the local community, reaching thousands of Gulf Coast residents and visitors each year with unique and inspiring programs. Hermitage Fellows have included 15 Pulitzer Prize winners, Poets Laureate, MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellows, and multiple Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar winners and nominees. Works created at this beachside retreat by a diverse group of Hermitage alumni have gone on to renowned theaters, concert halls, and galleries throughout the world. Each year, the Hermitage awards the $30,000 Hermitage Greenfield Prize for a new work of art, the newly announced $35,000 Hermitage Major Theater Award for an original theater commission, and the Aspen Music Festival’s Hermitage Prize in Composition.
For more information, visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org.
The Hermitage is supported by:
Hermitage programs are supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenues; and by The State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture (Section 286.25 Florida Statutes), as well as the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
ALL ANNOUNCED HERMITAGE PROGRAMS:
Friday, March 10th @ 5:30pm, “Comedy and Community,” with Hermitage Major Theater Award Winner Madeleine George (Hermitage Beach)
Presented with generous support from Flora Major and the Kutya Major Foundation
Thursday, March 16th @ 6:30pm, “Sofía Rocha: Making Musical Waves,” with Hermitage Prize in Composition Winner Sofía Rocha (Marie Selby Botanical Garden, Downton Sarasota)
Presented in partnership with the Venice Symphony and the Pops Orchestra
Thursday, March 20th @ 7:30pm, “Hermitage Turns 20: Andy Sandberg & Broadway Friends,” A Benefit Concert supporting ongoing Hurricane Repairs featuring Jeannette Bayardelle, Laura Bell Bundy, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, and Ann Morrison (Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Downtown Sarasota)
Friday, March 22nd @ 5:30pm, “Craig Lucas: An Open Rehearsal,” with Tony Award nominee, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and the inaugural winner of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Craig Lucas (Booker High School’s Outdoor Courtyard, Sarasota)
Presented in partnership with Booker High
Friday, March 24th @ 6:00pm, “Complicated Beautiful Messy and Strange: The Words and Music of Kit Yan,” with Hermitage Fellow Kit Yan (Asolo Rep’s Robert and Beverly Koski Center)
Presented in partnership with Asolo Rep
Thursday, March 30th @ 5:00pm, “Creativity for All,” with Hermitage Fellows Tina LaPadula and Nandita Shenoy (Butler Park)
Presented in partnership with Embracing Our Differences and North Port High School
Friday, April 14, 5:30pm, “Aleshea Harris Presents” featuring the first public presentation of acclaimed playwright and 2021 Hermitage Major Theater Award Winner Aleshea Harris’ commission
Presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and Asolo Rep/FSU Conservatory
Saturday, April 15, 2pm, “Sandy Rodriguez: Putting Sarasota on the Map,” with 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner in Visual Art Sandy Rodriguez, joined by Anne Patterson and Christine Kuan
Presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation and Community Foundation of Sarasota County
Saturday, April 15, 6pm, “Rennie Harris: Street Dance Pioneer,” with 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner in Dance and Choreography Lorenzo ‘Rennie’ Harris, joined by Joseph V. Melillo and Charmaine Warren
Presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation and Community Foundation of Sarasota County
NEW ARTIST PROGRAM BIO:
Craig Lucas was the first recipient of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize and is now a returning Hermitage alumnus. His distinguished career has earned him four Tony Award nominations and three Obie Awards, and he has been a Pulitzer finalist. His plays include Missing Persons, Reckless, Blue Window, Prelude to a Kiss, God’s Heart, This Thing of Darkness, The Dying Gaul, Stranger, Small Tragedy, Prayer for My Enemy, The Singing Forest, Ode to Joy, The Lying Lesson, I Was Most Alive with You, and Change Agent. Screenplays include Longtime Companion (Sundance Audience Award), The Secret Lives of Dentists (NY Film Critics Best Screenplay Award), Reckless, Blue Window, The Dying Gaul. Libretti include The Light in the Piazza (music and lyrics by Adam Guettel), Two Boys (composed by Hermitage Fellow Nico Muhly, world premiere at the English National Opera, American premiere at the Metropolitan Opera), Orpheus in Love (with composer Gerald Busby), 3 Postcards (with composer/lyricist Craig Carnelia), An American in Paris (music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin), Amélie (music by Dan Messe, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Dan Messe), Sousatzka (music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby), Prelude to a Kiss (music by Dan Messe, lyrics by Hermitage Fellow Sean Hartley, and Dan Messe), Days of Wine and Roses (music and lyrics by Adam Guettel), Paradise Square, and Marry Me A Little, Songs by Stephen by Sondheim (co-conceived with Norman René and Suzanne Henry). His new English-language adaptations include Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya, Galileo and Miss Julie. He has directed the world premiere of The Light in the Piazza, Harry Kondoleon’s plays Saved Or Destroyed & Play Yourself, and the films The Dying Gaul & Birds of America. Lucas has worked with many remarkable directors including Mark Wing-Davey, Oliver Butler, Norman René, Pam MacKinnon, Lisa Petersen, Daniel Sullivan, Tyne Rafaeli, Christopher Wheeldon, Alan Rudolph, Mark Brokaw, Bartlett Sher, and Joe Mantello. He received the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Laura Pels/PEN Mid-career Award, the Hermitage Greenfield Prize, LAMBDA Literary Award, Hull-Warriner Award, Flora Roberts Award, Steinberg/ACTA Best Play Award among many others.
COMPLETE ARTIST BIOS
(in chronological order of upcoming programs)
Madeleine George is the recipient of the Hermitage Major Theater Award. Herplays include Hurricane Diane (Obie Award), The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Pulitzer Prize finalist; Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award), Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Susan Smith Blackburn finalist), Precious Little, and The Zero Hour (Jane Chambers Award, Lambda Literary Award finalist). Her work hasbeen performed in New York at Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop, and around the country at Perseverance Theater in Juneau, the Huntington in Boston, the Old Globe in San Diego, Shotgun Players in Berkeley, City Theater in Pittsburgh, Theater Wit in Chicago, and Two River Theater in New Jersey, among many other places. She has been a Banff Arts Centre Resident Artist, a two-time Hedgebrook Writer in Residence, a three-time resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm, and a four-time MacDowell Fellow. She’s a member of New Dramatists’ Class of 2017, a Clubbed Thumb Writers Group member, and an alum of the Lark Playwrights Workshop, the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Honors include the Princess Grace Award, a Manhattan Theater Club Playwriting Fellowship, a Lilly Award, and a Whiting Award for Drama. Madeleine holds a BA from Cornell University and an MFA from NYU. She has taught writing in various forms at Barnard College, Bard College, NYU, Rutgers, the Universities of Michigan, Maryland, Arkansas, Indiana, and Minnesota, and Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Cornell, and Brown. For many years she led free writing workshops around New York City, including at Queensboro Correctional Facility; Hopper House, an alternative-to-incarceration program for women; a pre-trial intervention program run by the Brooklyn DA; Island Academy, the public school on Rikers Island; a senior citizens group in Fort Greene Park; and the Ali Forney Center, a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth. Since 2006, she has worked with the Bard Prison Initiative at Bard College, a degree-granting liberal arts program operating in seven New York State prisons. She currently serves as BPI’s Director of Admissions. In 2022, Madeleine’s translation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters premiered at Two River Theater, where she recently completed a six-year stint as the Mellon Playwright in Residence. Her ten-episode audio adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For is forthcoming in 2023 from Audible Originals. Madeleine is a founding member of the Obie-Award-winning playwrights’ collective 13P (www.13p.org). She’s written on shows for FX and HBO, and she is currently a writer/producer on the Hulu mystery-comedy Only Murders in the Building, nominated for WGA and Emmy Awards for Best Comedy.
Sofía Rocha, originally from Boulder, Colorado and having grown up in Naples, Florida, is the 2022 recipient of the Hermitage Prize in Composition at the Aspen Music Festival and School. Rocha writes music of uncompromising emotional intensity while exploring cognition, randomness, rhythm, and counterpoint within post-tonal frameworks. She writes for all manner of performing forces: instrumental, vocal, and electronic. Upcoming projects include newly commissioned works for the 2022 Aspen Music Festival as a Composition Fellow, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Fifth House Ensemble as a Fromm Foundation Fellow at the 2020 Fresh Inc. Festival. Rocha’s first orchestral work, Replier, was chosen as the winner of the 2020 New England Philharmonic annual call-for-scores and will be premiered in May of 2022. Rocha has also received honors from ASCAP, OM/NI Composition Competition, and Tenebrae New Music Ensemble. She has worked with numerous ensembles including the Arditti Quartet, JACK Quartet, DeCoda, loadbang, Brentano String Quartet, Castle of our Skins, Transient Canvas, Hypercube, arx duo, and Duo Entre-Nous, as well as numerous solo performers. Rocha received her master’s degree in composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory as a Chancellor’s Scholar and recipient of Elsberry & Gonder Family and Conservatory Scholarships. There, she studied with Chen Yi, Yotam Haber, Paul Rudy and Zhou Long. Rocha was also the 2019 Composer-in-Residence for the Graduate Fellowship String Quartet. She completed her undergraduate work at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College in 2019, receiving a BA in Music with Honors as a Wagnild Scholar and studying composition with Avner Dorman. She has attended June in Buffalo, Fresh Inc. Festival, the Atlantic Music Festival, Divergent Studio, and the Hypercube Composition Lab as a composer, studying and taking master classes with composers such as Augusta Read Thomas, Hannah Lash, Hilda Paredes, Jeffrey Mumford, Alex Temple, Richard Danielpour, Aaron Helgeson, Amy Beth Kirsten, and David Serkin Ludwig, among others. Besides composing, Rocha is also an avid trombonist and conductor, having performed with numerous symphony orchestras, wind ensembles, and jazz groups.
Hermitage Fellow Kit Yan is a Yellow American New York based artist, born in China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kit is a 2021 Jonathan Larson Grant and Kleban Prize recipient, a 2021 Sundance IDP Fellow and grantee, a Vivace Award recipient for big ideas in musical theater, a former Musical Theater Factory Makers Fellow, Playwright’s Center Fellow, Company One/Pao Arts Fellow, Lincoln Center Writer in residence, Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow and MacDowell Fellow. They have written for Disney and their films have been shown at OUTfest, CAAMfest, The LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, and The Asian American International Film Festival, among many others. Kit is currently developing work for television and film. Kit’s first musical co-created with Melissa Li, Interstate, won “Best Lyrics” at the 2018 New York Musical Theater Festival, showcased in the 2019 NAMT festival, and was produced by Mixed Blood in 2020 and East West Players in 2022. Their second musical Miss Step received a commission from 5th Avenue Theater, and has a forthcoming workshop with Playwrights Horizons and Musical Theater Factory, and a beta production in 2023 at the Village Theater. Their work has also been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, and Diversionary Theater.
Tina LaPadula is an East Coast transplant and warrior for equitable art-making and learning opportunities. For more than 15 years, she poured most of her creative energy into Arts Corps, the award-winning arts and social justice non-profit she helped found. She has collaborated with The Frye Museum, The Museum of History and Industry, and Bumbershoot Arts and Music Festival to curate exhibitions and events that elevate the art and perspectives of young people. As a teaching artist, Tina has taught for Centrum Arts, Seattle Children’s Theatre, The University of Washington, and in a multitude of schools and afterschool programs. She has served as a consultant to many cultural organizations facilitating workshops on racial justice and the arts. Tina supports the growth and development of teaching artists locally and nationally, most notably as the founder of the Seattle Teaching Artist Network, as a faculty member for the WA State Teaching Artist Training Lab, as the former chair of the Association of Teaching Artists, and on the national advisory team for the Teaching Artist Guild. Her writing and opinions have been featured by Americans for the Arts and The National Guild for Community Arts Education.
Hermitage Fellow and theater artist Nandita Shenoy is a New York-based writer and actor. Her play The Future is Female was recently a Finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, recently had its world premiere at Flint Repertory Theater, and her Rage Play was named to the 2020 Kilroys List. Her play Washer/Dryer has been produced multiple times nationally after its world premiere at LA’s East-West Players and an Off-Broadway production at Ma-Yi Theater, in which she also starred. Her first full-length play, Lyme Park: An Austonian Romance of an Indian Nature, was produced by the Hegira in Washington, DC. Her one-acts have been produced in New York City and regionally. Nandita won the 2014 Father Hamblin Award in Playwriting. Her acting credits range from dancing on national tours to Shakespeare festivals to world premieres of new plays by living playwrights. She is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the dtfwaw, Dramatists Guild, Actors Equity Association, and SAG/AFTRA. She also sits on the Steering Committee of the Asian-American Performers Action Coalition (AAPAC), which won a 2020 Obie for their Advocacy in the Field of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Nandita holds a BA in English literature from Yale University. NanditaShenoy.com
Aleshea Harris (2021 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner)
Aleshea Harris is the 2021 recipient of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize, awarded in the discipline of theater. Her play Is God Is (directed by Taibi Magar at Soho Rep) won the 2016 Relentless Award, an OBIE Award for playwriting in 2017, and the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award in 2019. It was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and made The Kilroys’ List of “the most recommended un and underproduced plays by trans and female authors of color” for 2017. What to Send Up When It Goes Down (directed by Whitney White, produced by The Movement Theatre Company), a play-pageant-ritual response to anti-Blackness, had its critically acclaimed New York City premiere in 2018, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, with additional productions in 2021 at BAM and Playwrights Horizons. Her play On Sugarland recently premiered at New York Theater Workshop (Lortel nomination for Best Play). Harris was awarded the Windham-Campbell Literary Prize and the Steinberg Playwriting Award in 2020. She has performed her own work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Orlando Fringe Festival; REDCAT, as part of La Fête du Livre at La Comèdie de Saint-Étienne; and Skirball Center in Los Angeles. In addition to being a Hermitage Fellow, she is a two-time MacDowell Fellow and has enjoyed residencies at Hedgebrook and Djerassi.
Angélica Negrón (2022 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner)
Puerto Rican-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón is the winner of the 2022 Hermitage Greenfield Prize. She writes music for accordions, robotic instruments, toys, and electronics as well as for chamber ensembles, orchestras, choir, and film. Her music has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR/Q2), while The New York Times noted her “capacity to surprise.” Negrón has been commissioned by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Kronos Quartet, loadbang, Prototype Festival, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Sō Percussion, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, and the New York Botanical Garden, among others. Negrón received an early education in piano and violin at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico where she later studied composition under the guidance of composer Alfonso Fuentes. She holds a master’s degree in music composition from New York University where she studied with Pedro da Silva and pursued doctoral studies at The Graduate Center (CUNY), where she studied composition with Tania León. Also active as an educator, Negrón is currently a teaching artist for New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program. She has collaborated with artists like Sō Percussion, Lido Pimienta, Mathew Placek, Sasha Velour, Cecilia Aldarondo, Mariela Pabón, Adrienne Westwood, Tiffany Mills and has written music for films, theater and modern dance. She was recently an Artist-in-Residence at WNYC’s The Greene Space working on El Living Room, a 4-part offbeat variety show and playful multimedia exploration of sound and story, of personal history and belonging. Recent and upcoming premieres include works for the Seattle Symphony, LA Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra and NY Philharmonic Project 19 initiative and multiple performances at Big Ears Festival 2022. | AngelicaNegron.com
Lorenzo ‘Rennie’ Harris (2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner)
Lorenzo ‘Rennie’ Harris, winner of the 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize in Dance and Choreography, was born and raised in an African American community in North Philadelphia. In 1992, Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement, a street dance theater company dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture through workshops, classes, hip-hop history lecture demonstrations, long-term residencies, mentoring programs, and public performances. Harris founded his company based on the belief that hip-hop is the most important original expression of a new generation. With its roots in the inner-city African American and Latino communities, hip-hop can be characterized as a contemporary indigenous form, one that expresses universal themes that extend beyond racial, religious, and economic boundaries, and one that can help bridge these divisions. Harris’ work encompasses the diverse and rich African American traditions of the past, while simultaneously presenting the voice of a new generation through its ever-evolving interpretations of dance. Harris is committed to providing audiences with a sincere view of the essence and spirit of hip-hop. Harris was voted one of the most influential people in the last one hundred years of Philadelphia history. Among his awards are honorary doctorates from Bates College and Columbia College. The London Times wrote of Mr. Harris that he is “the Basquiat of the U.S. contemporary dance scene.”
Sandy Rodriguez (2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize)
Sandy Rodriguez (b. 1975, National City, CA) is the recipient of the 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize in Visual Art. She is a Los Angeles-based artist and researcher, and first-generation Chicana raised on the US-Mexico border. Her Codex Rodriguez-Mondragón is made up of a collection of maps and paintings about the intersections of history, social memory, contemporary politics, and cultural production. Rodriguez earned her BFA from California Institute of Arts. She has exhibited her works at the Denver Art Museum, The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Garden, The Amon Carter Museum of American Art and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Busan, South Korea. Her work is in the permanent collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX, The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Garden. San Marino, CA and others. She was awarded the Caltech-Huntington Art+Research Residency, Creative Capital Award and Migrations initiative from Mellon Foundation Just Futures Initiative and Global Cornell. Rodriguez and her work have been featured in BBC News: In the Studio, Hyperallergic, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Spectrum News/NY1, and on several radio programs and podcasts.HermitageArtistRetreat.org