Preview: Tori Sampson’s “This Land Was Made” at the Vineyard Theatre

Preview: "This Land Was Made" at the Vineyard Theatre (Closed Saturday July 29, 2018)
By Tori Sampson
Directed by Whitney White
Previewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern announce casting for Vineyard Theatre’s Developmental Lab production of Tori Sampson’s THIS LAND WAS MADE, directed by Whitney White. Vineyard’s Developmental Labs allow a playwright and director to explore a work-in-progress on its feet in collaboration with a full creative team, and include staging and design elements. Presentations are Thursday, July 26 – Saturday, July 28 at Vineyard Theatre (108 East 15th Street).

Patrons who become a Vineyard Member by July 25 receive priority seating; limited seating for the general public will be available on a first-come, first-served basis by calling 212-353-0303, emailing, or at

The cast of THIS LAND WAS MADE includes James T. Alfred (“Empire”), Lauren E. Banks (WAR), McKinley Belcher III (“Mercy Street”), Jessica Frances Dukes (IS GOD IS), Sean Patrick Higgins (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE), Julian Elijah Martinez (ALLIGATOR), Jon Orsini (FISH IN THE DARK), Carra Patterson (JITNEY), Namir Smallwood (PASS OVER), and Austin Smith (HAMILTON).

Liberation. Peace. Love. Self-Defense. Oakland in 1967 was a powder keg of social activism ready to boil over into radical action. For patrons of Miss Trish’s bar, it’s all just talking points — until the full, seductive and explosive force of revolution walks through the door. Tori is a 2017-18 Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow in Minneapolis and the Kennedy Center’s 2016 Paula Vogel Playwright. A recent graduate of the Yale School of Drama, THIS LAND WAS MADE marks her New York debut.

Performance schedule: Thursday, July 26 at 7:00 p.m.; Friday, July 27 at 4:00 p.m.; Saturday, July 28 at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.. A panel discussion on social justice activism with special guest Hawk Newsome, president of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, will take place following the matinee performance on Saturday, July 28.

TORI SAMPSON (Playwright)  A native of Boston, Tori’s plays include IF PRETTY HURTS UGLY MUST BE A MUHFUCKA (Playwrights Horizons, 2019) and CADILLAC CREW (Yale Repertory Theater, 2019). Her plays have been developed at Great Plains Theatre Conference, Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s The Ground Floor residency program, Victory Garden’s IGNITION Festival of New Plays, Playwrights Foundation, and Ubuntu Festival. Tori is a 2017–18 Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow and a 2018-19 Mcknight Fellow. Two of her plays appeared on the 2017 Kilroys List. Her awards and honors include the 2016 Relentless Award, Honorable Mention; the 2016 Paula Vogel Award in Playwriting from The Kennedy Center; the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, Second Place; the Alliance Theatre’s 2017 Kendeda Prize, Finalist; the 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Finalist. Tori is currently working on commissions from Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Atlantic Theater Company. She holds a BS in sociology from Ball State University and an MFA in playwriting from Yale School of Drama.

WHITNEY WHITE (Director) is a director, musician, and actor. Recent work: OTHELLO (Trinity Rep), BLOOD WEDDING (Atlantic Theatre Co/NYU), FREEDOM RIDERS (NYMF), MACBETH IN STRIDE (Miami Theater Center). As Associate Director: MARVIN’S ROOM (Broadway), IF I FORGET (Roundabout). Upcoming: RITA TAMBIEN RITA (Julliard), Aleshea Harris’ WHAT TO SEND UP (The Movement), THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES (Atlantic Theatre, Associate Director). Whitney was the inaugural Roundabout Directing Fellow and is currently a 2050 Fellow at the New York Theatre Workshop. This year she will be in residency at Ars Nova as part of their 2018 Makers Lab, and at The Drama League as part of their Next Wave Residency where she is developing an African American production of Anton Chekhov’s THREE SISTERS set to original music. MFA Acting: Brown University/Trinity Rep, BA: Northwestern University.

HAWK NEWSOME has engaged in protests and activities to combat injustice. Over the past few years, he has worked tirelessly leading protests and seeking justice for the families of those slain by overzealous police officers. He is the founder of Black Lives Matter Greater NY, and has not only helped victims of police brutality, but works with members of LGBT community, victims of human trafficking, the mental health community, founded Black Lives Caucus, lectured students and expanded BLM Greater NY to multiple New York City charter schools.