By Ngozi Anyanwu
Directed by Awoye Timpo
with OBERON K.A. ADJEPONG, NGOZI ANYANWU, NNAMDI ASOMUGHA, PATRICE JOHNSON CHEVANNES, HUNTER PARRISH, IAN QUINLAN, LISA RAMIREZ
Produced in association with Audible
New York Premiere | October 11 - November 18, 2018
Nkechi was a good Nigerian-American girl. She did everything right. Went to med school. Made plans. Then life happened. And plans changed. A first-generation coming-of-age journey of love, loss, and growing into adulthood, GOOD GRIEF follows Nkechi as she navigates Pennsylvania’s suburbs alongside her childhood crush, her would-be-philosopher brother, and her immigrant parents. Hailed as a “profound dramatic work” by LA Weekly, this hilarious and heartbreaking new play reunites playwright Ngozi Anyanwu and director Awoye Timpo following their acclaimed collaboration on THE HOMECOMING QUEEN.
‘GOOD GRIEF’ IS TENDER AND AFFECTING! A SWEET AND SORROWFUL PLAY.
Ms. Anyanwu’s language reaches for the stars within the darkness.”
— Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“EMOTIONALLY ASTUTE AND GENUINELY FUNNY!
Nimbly directed by Awoye Timpo. Timpo and her team have created a living space, in which neurons fire and boundaries shift and memories coalesce and disperse like smoke. Anyanwu understands that humor in a story functions like lemon juice or salt — it heightens the flavors around it and adds a sting. With theatrical agility and emotional intelligence, it’s exploring not what grief actually looks like but what it feels like from the inside, the weird internal labyrinth that we’re forced to navigate in the wake of a great loss. Oberon K.A. Adjepong is wonderful. Nkechi’s mother is given twinkle-eyed tenacity by Patrice Johnson Chevannes. Nnamdi Asomugha is excellent.”
— Sara Holdren, New York Magazine
⭐⭐⭐⭐ “GOOD GRIEF’ GIVES YOU A TINGLE, LIKE A GOOD HOOK IN A POP SONG.
Playwright Ngozi Anyanwu has a specific talent: She can craft an exchange in which two people reveal how much they care about each other. In Good Grief, her satisfyingly unsad tragedy at the Vineyard Theatre, the playwright indulges that gift to its utmost. Ian Quinlan oozes perfection.”
— Helen Shaw, Time Out New York
“ANYANWU’S STORYTELLING IS COMPLETELY UNIQUE AND CONSTANTLY ENGAGING. ANYANWU HAS DISTINGUISHED HERSELF AS ONE OF OUR FINEST NEW VOICES IN THE THEATRE SCENE
Her work explores themes and perspectives that no one else’s does. Good Grief is eloquent and emotional in all sorts of unexpected ways, but its themes allow everyone to find a piece of the story to which they can personally relate. It’s a pleasure to go on this dramatic journey.”
— Sarah Moore, Theatre is Easy
“Anyanwu has a gift for dialogue and for depicting the experience of a second-generation African American growing up in lily-white suburbia when Tupac and Biggie were just as popular as The Incredible Hulk and ‘The Goonies.’”
— Thom Geier, The Wrap
“RICH PERFORMANCES! HEARTFELT AND WELL-PERFORMED. A SENSITIVE EXPLORATION OF GRIEF AND REGRET.
Anyanwu has developed highly specific relationships with all of her characters, delivering a performance that is impressively unselfconscious for an author starring in her own play.”
— Zachary Stewart, TheaterMania
“NGOZI ANYANWU IS ONE EMERGING PLAYWRIGHT TO WATCH AND A NEW VOICE TO BE HEARD.”
— Deb Miller, DC Metro Arts
“COLORFUL AND IMAGINATIVE!
Anyanwu again demonstrates her gift for creating likeable characters and writing natural dialogue. Here she also proves herself to be a versatile actor. Ian Quinlan is charismatic and endearing. Oberon K.A. Adjepong and Patrice Johnson Chevannes are both excellent. Bravo to The Vineyard for continuing to offer their stage for original work by new and diverse talent.”
—Elyse Sommer, CurtainUp
“TOUCHING AND TENDER! THE CAST IS EXQUISITE.
Director Awoye Timpo, directs this piece with sympathy and pathos. Finding our purpose in life has never been simple, but thanks to Ngozi Anyanwu’s prolific writing, maybe healing is just a heartbeat away. I so look forward to more plays by this compelling new voice of her generation.”
—Suzanna Bowling, Times Square Chronicles
“GOOD GRIEF IS LYRICAL AND HUMAN. IT IS A SHOW THAT IS WORTH SEEING!
A moving piece that will make you feel feelings and bring you back to moments you’ve shared with your best friend or your first love in all of the best, awkward, and human ways.”
—Brittany Crowell, New York Theatre Guide
(Fight Director) Vineyard Theatre: Gigantic. Broadway credits: ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE, TUCK EVERLASTING, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, DISGRACED. Off-Broadway: GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY (The Public; Mother Of The Maid), OEDIPUS EL REY (The Public, Drama Desk nom). National Tour: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. London: BURIED CHILD.
(Production Manager) has spent the majority of her career as a Production Stage Manager. Broadway: SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD, DON’T BOTHER ME I CAN’T COPE (Encores! Off-Center); JUNK; PASSING STRANGE. Off-Broadway: Second Stage, The Public, The Vineyard, Atlantic Theater, Culture Project. National Tours: KING LEAR (London’s Globe Theatre) TRISTAN & YSEULT (Kneehigh Theatre Company). Regional: 18+ seasons at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Yale Repertory Theatre, Guthrie Theater, McCarter Theatre, Hartford Stage, Lookingglass Theatre Company. International: HELLO HI THERE (Production Manager, European Tour). This is Cynthia’s first crack as a Production Manager in NYC, and she is happy to be debuting with The Vineyard.
(Assistant Stage Manager) is so happy to be back at The Vineyard! Also at The Vineyard: GOOD GRIEF, INDECENT. Other New York credits include THE CONVENT (A.R.T/NY), 1969: THE SECOND MAN (Next Door @ NYTW), SAMARA (Soho Rep), HUNGRY (The Public), THE WAY WE GET BY (Second Stage), WONDERLAND: ALICE’S ROCK ‘N ROLL ADVENTURE (Atlantic For Kids), and RAGTIME ON ELLIS ISLAND. Regional: ArtsEmerson, Bay Street Theater, Weston Playhouse, Goodspeed Musicals, and several operas.
Alyssa K. Howard
(Production Stage Manager) Vineyard Theatre debut. Recent credits: HENRY VI (NAATCO), TEENAGE DICK (Ma-Yi + The Public), WORD SOUND POWER 2018 (BAM), THE ECHO DRIFT (Prototype Festival), GLASS GUGNOL (Mabou Mines). Other NYC: Playwrights Realm, Atlantic Theater Company, Noor Theatre, Bushwick Starr, 3LD. Regional: Yale Repertory Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Group, McCarter Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Tour: Japan Society/Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Beth Morrison Projects. MFA: Yale School of Drama. BA: Williams College.
(Dialect Coach) Vineyard Theatre debut. Selected credits: Broadway: GOOD PEOPLE, PRODIGAL SON, THE COLUMNIST, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, AH, WILDERNESS!. MTC: RUINS OF CIVILIZATION, RUINED, DEFIANCE; Playwright’s Horizons: FAMILIAR; Women’s Project: IRONBOUND; Signature: AND I AND SILENCE; Labyrinth: NICE GIRL; Soho Rep: BLASTED Regional: Williamstown, Goodman, McCarter, Hartford, Berkshire, Long Wharf. Film: Puzzle, Barry, Shame, Julie and Julia; An Education, Talk to Me, Song Catcher, O Brother Where Art Thou, Requiem for a Dream. TV: “The Affair,” ”Quantico,“ ”Shameless.“
(Lighting Design) Vineyard Theatre debut. Oona is a lighting and scenic designer. Recent credits in NYC at Ars Nova, Altantic Theater, The Flea, Public/UTR, The New Ohio, La MaMa, JACK, The Cherry Lane. Recent regional credits at The Arden Theatre, FringeArts, Opera Philadelphia, Curtis Opera, Cosmo of Las Vegas, Brown/Trinity Rep, Chester Theatre Co. Nominee: Princess Grace Award. Recipient: J.S. Seidman Award for Design Excellence, Weston Award for Design, Zonta Award for Theatre Arts. MFA NYU/Tisch. www.oonacurley.com.
(Costume Design) Vineyard Theatre: THIS LAND WAS MADE (Lab Production). Andy is a NY based Costume Designer and is thrilled to be working on GOOD GRIEF at Vineyard Theatre. Recent credits include RAGS PARKLAND (Ars Nova), MACBETH (Trinity Rep Company), SCRAPS (The Flea), and CABARET (Playmakers Repertory Company). Andy has an MFA in Stage Costume Design from Tisch/NYU. More at www.andyjean.com
(Scenic Design) Vineyard Theatre debut. Off-Broadway: UNCLE VANYA, ONE THOUSAND NIGHTS AND ONE DAY, ILLYRIA, HUNGRY, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?, WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE. Regional: THE ROYALE (Cleveland Playhouse), UNCLE VANYA (Old Globe), NEXT TO NORMAL, CAROLINE, OR CHANGE (Tantrum Theater). TV: “Jesus Christ Superstar Live” (Emmy Award), “Adele, Live in NYC.” Concerts/Tours: “Lana Del Ray,” Bullets Over Broadway, “Circus | Wandering City.”
Oberon K. A. Adjepong
Vineyard Theatre debut. Theatre: A WINTER’S TALE, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, PERICLES (TFANA); The HOMECOMING QUEEN (Atlantic Theater), UNCOMMON SENSE (Tectonic Theater Project), PARTY PEOPLE (The Public), 12 ANGRY MEN (Billie Holiday), TAMBURLAINE (TFANA), LIKE I SAY, CELLOPHANE (The Flea); MOTHER COURAGE AND THE THE BLACKS (Classic Stage, CTH); SANGO (AUDELCO nomination/NBT). Regional: CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS (Center Stage), ELECTRIC BABY (Two River Theater), GOOD GOODS (Yale Rep), RUINED (La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company; IRNE Award, Berkeley Rep); TIMON OF ATHENS, CORIOLANUS (Shakespeare Theatre). TV/Film: “Blacklist,” “The Knick,” Crown Heights. Training: BADA and Howard University.
Vineyard Theatre debut. Most recently seen as the Angel in ANGELS IN AMERICA at Berkeley Rep, and Blanche Dubois in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Ubuntu Theater Project. Lisa has performed at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Atlantic Theater, Working Theater, Berkeley Rep, Ubuntu Theater amongst others. Her plays EXIT CUCKOO (nanny in motherland), ART OF MEMORY, TO THE BONE, and PAS DE DEUX (lost my shoe) have been performed in New York and regionally to great acclaim. This one is for her brother, Sean Ramirez.
Awoye Timpo (Director) is a New York-based director. Her Off-Broadway credits include In Old Age by Mfoniso Udofia (New York Theatre Workshop); Good Grief by Ngozi Anyanwu (Vineyard Theatre); The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d by Jonathan Payne (Playwrights Realm); The Homecoming Queen by Ngozi Anyanwu (Atlantic Theater Company); Carnaval by Nikkole Salter (National Black Theatre); Ndebele Funeral by Zoey Martinson (59E59, South African tour, Edinburgh Festival); and Sister Son/Ji by Sonia Sanchez (Billie Holiday Theater). Her regional credits include School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Berkeley Repertory Theatre); Paradise Blue (Long Wharf Theatre) and Skeleton Crew (Chester Theater). Awoye is the Founding Producer of CLASSIX, a collective dedicated to looking at the classical canon through an exploration of work by Black writers.
Vineyard Theatre debut. Ian started his career on the stage as a child actor in the Broadway cast of THE LION KING. He can currently be seen in the critically-acclaimed National Geographic miniseries “The Long Road Home.” Other notable work in television: “Orange Is The New Black,” “Sneaky Pete,” “Gotham,” “The Carrie Diaries,” and “The Family.” Born and raised in New York City, Ian graduated from Fordham University with a BA in Theatre Performance.
Vineyard Theatre debut. Hunter was recently seen recurring on NBC’s series “This is Us.” For 8 seasons, Hunter starred as Mary Louise Parker’s son, Silas, on Showtime’s acclaimed series, “Weeds.” Other TV credits include: Amazon’s “The Good Girls Revolt,” CBS’s “The Good Wife.” Hunter received rave reviews for his Broadway debut as Melchior in the Tony Award-winning hit musical, SPRING AWAKENING. Other theater credits include Broadway: GODSPELL (Jesus), as well as the Hollywood Bowl production of HAIR (Claude) opposite Kristen Bell. Film: Oscar-winning film Still Alice with Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin; It’s Complicated, opposite Meryl Streep; PaperMan with Emma Stone and Jeff Daniels.
Patrice Johnson Chevannes
Vineyard Theatre debut. Patrice is an award-winning actress whose Broadway credits include RACING DEMON and THE CRUCIBLE (starring Liam Neeson). Off-Broadway: THE HOMECOMING QUEEN, HENRY V, TAMBURLAINE, PERICLES. Regional: STEEL HAMMER, OTHELLO (Desdemona, opposite Sir Patrick Stewart). Patrice has written and directed three award-winning independent feature films: Kings County, NY’s Dirty Laundry, and Hill and Gully. She is proud to be a part of the upcoming Netflix Series, “Chambers,” starring Uma Thurman and Tony Goldwyn.
Vineyard Theatre debut. Nnamdi is an award-winning actor, producer, and former NFL All-Pro Defensive Back. His critically-acclaimed portrayal of Carl King in the Amazon Studios film, Crown Heights, garnered him an Independent Spirit Award nomination and an NAACP Image Award nomination. He also produced Crown Heights, which won the Audience Award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and served as an Executive producer on the Netflix film, Beasts of No Nation. He is a producer on the current Broadway play, AMERICAN SON.
Ngozi Anyanwu‘s (Playwright) play Good Grief (Kilroys List 2016, semi finalist Princess Grace, Humanitas Award), in which Anyanwu also starred, ran Off-Broadway at Vineyard Theatre and was produced at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles in Spring 2017. Nike… (Kilroys List 2017) was recently workshopped at The New Black Fest in conjunction with The Lark and The Strand Festival in conjunction with A.C.T and Space on Ryder Farm. The Homecoming Queen (Kilroys List 2017, Leah Ryan Finalist) had its world premiere at the Atlantic Theater to a sold out run. Anyanwu has commissions with NYU, The Old Globe and The Atlantic Theatre, Two Rivers Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre and has received residencies from LCT3, Space on Ryder Farm, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, The New Harmony Project, New York Stage and Film and Page 73. She attended Point Park University (BA) and received her MFA in Acting from University of California, San Diego. And will be presenting a world premiere of her play The Last of the Love Letters at The Atlantic Theatre Company to open their upcoming season.
Audible is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio content, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. To unleash the power of the spoken word, Audible pairs outstanding talent with great works, developing and producing theater projects in the studio and onstage to amplify innovative language-driven storytelling and extraordinary performances. Our Emerging Playwrights Fund invests in playwrights around the globe whose work can be heard by millions of Audible listeners. Audible’s inaugural productions: Off-Broadway, David Cale’s HARRY CLARKE, starring Billy Crudup at the Vineyard Theatre; Broadway, LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS, written by and starring John Leguizamo.
Henry Russell Bergstein, CSA
(Casting Director) Vineyard Theatre: GOOD GRIEF, THE AMATEURS, HARRY CLARKE, THE LYONS (and Broadway), GLORIA (and Goodman), DOT, THE LANDING, CAN YOU FORGIVE HER?, KID VICTORY (and Signature DC), TOO MUCH SUN, BILLY & RAY, SOMEWHERE FUN, THE NORTH POOL, ARLINGTON, OUTSIDE PEOPLE, CHECKERS, PICKED, MIDDLETOWN, THE METAL CHILDREN, WIG OUT!. Other theater: KPOP, SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS, NATASHA, PIERRE, & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812; THE WILDNESS (Ars Nova). Sundance Theatre Lab: 5 seasons. Television: US Casting for “Black Mirror,” Comedy Central’s “The Other Two” with Allison Estrin, HBO’s “Succession” and Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” with Douglas Aibel. Film: Saturday Church, It Felt Like Love, Easy Living; with Douglas Aibel – Grandma, Love After Love, How to Talk to Girls at Parties; with Allison Estrin – Spider-Man: Homecoming (NY Casting). Also: “Homecoming The Podcast” S1-2.
(Props Master) Vineyard Theatre: HARRY CLARKE, GIGANTIC, GLORIA. Andrew is a Brooklyn-based set and props designer. He has previously worked with Walt Disney Entertainment, Roundabout Theatre Company, MCC Theatre, The Flea, Signature Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, Carnegie Hall, Classic Stage Company, Primary Stages, The Public, Theatre for a New Audience, Cherry Lane Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, among others. BFA: University of Arizona School of Theater Arts.
DR Theatrical Management
(General Management) is proud of its association with The Vineyard over the past six seasons. Current/upcoming productions include: GLORIA: A LIFE; NYTF’s FIDDLER ON THE ROOF; New Dramatists 70th Annual Spring Luncheon. National Tours/Regional Productions: HAVANA MUSIC HALL (Miami, FL). Past Productions include: INDECENT (Broadway); LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE; IN & OF ITSELF, ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS…; WIESENTHAL; VITALY; BUYER & CELLAR; THE TEMPERMENTALS; ERNEST SHACKLETON…; THE WOODSMAN; MY NAME IS ASHER LEV; TRACES; Vineyard Theatre’s HARRY CLARKE, THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE, GLORIA; The New Group’s THE SPOILS, RASHEEDA SPEAKING, STICKS AND BONES. DRTheatrical.com.
(Sound Design) Vineyard Theatre: CAN YOU FORGIVE HER?, SOMEWHERE FUN, THE NORTH POOL. Broadway: MARVIN’S ROOM (revival), SIGNIFICANT OTHER (world premiere). Off-Broadway: premieres of I WAS MOST ALIVE WITH YOU, ANIMAL, THE VILLAGE BIKE, MAN FROM NEBRASKA, TRIBES, and WOMEN OR NOTHING. Upcoming: Daniel Fish’s OKLAHOMA!, for which Kluger created new orchestrations for traditional bluegrass instruments. Kluger has produced dozens of other scores for Off-Broadway theaters including Lincoln Center, Roundabout Theatre Company, Atlantic Theatre Company, Second Stage, and Playwrights Horizons, as well as some of the country’s premier regional theaters: The Mark Taper Forum, The Ford’s Theater, Yale Repertory Theater. www.danielkluger.com