Dael Orlandersmith & Emily XYZ

Dael Orlandersmith won an OBIE Award for Beauty’s Daughter, which she wrote and starred in at American Place Theatre.  She toured extensively with the Nuyorican Poets Café (Real Live Poetry) throughout the US, Europe and Australia.  Her play, Monster, premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in November 1996.

Dael attended Sundance Theatre Festival Lab for four summers developing new plays.  The Gimmick, commissioned by the McCarter Theatre, premiered on their Second Stage on Stage and went on to great acclaim at the Long Wharf Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop.  Yellowman was commissioned by and premiered at the McCarter in a co-production with the Wilma and Long Wharf Theatres. Vintage Books and Dramatists Play Service published Yellowman and a collection of earlier work. She was a Pulitzer Prize Award finalist and Drama Desk Award Nominee as an actress in and for Yellowman which premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2002. She was a Susan Smith Blackburn Award Finalist with The Gimmick in ’99 and won for Yellowman.  She is the recipient of a NYFA Grant,The Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, a Guggenheim and The 2005 Pen/Laura Pels Foundation Award for a playwright in mid-career.

In 2006 Dael won a Lucille Lortel Playwrights Fellowship. In 2007 she completed a new commission for the Mark Taper Forum called Bones, which was done at the Mark Taper Forum in Summer of 2010. In 2008 she received the Whiting award, and Dael Performed a work- in progress piece called STOOP DREAMS at the Public theatre. She performed Stoop Stories 2009 at the STUDIO THEATRE.  In 2011 she won the William Inge award for her play Horsedreams. From 2008- 2011 she taught writing for Solo performance at Sarah Lawrence as an artist-in-residence.  In Spring 2009 she taught writing for solo performance at Princeton  as an artist-in- residence.  She is currently working on a play called Suicide Girlz for the Atlantic Theatre Company.


Emily XYZ is an American writer and performer best known for her spoken-word poetry for multiple voices. Born in upstate New York, she moved to New York City in 1982 and was active in the downtown Manhattan performance art and music scene for the next 20 years.  Her first spoken-word recording, Who Shot Sadat? (1983) was named one of two “indie singles of the year” by Robert Christgau in The Village Voice. Her early experiments included 1986’s Phil Spector, for 8 voices and 3 toy phonographs, before she settled on the two-voice format that has since become a stylistic hallmark.

In 1992, XYZ began working with actress Myers Bartlett; this year marks the 20th year of their collaboration. As part of the seminal spoken word companies Nuyorican Poets Cafe Live! and Real Live Poetry, and on their own, XYZ and Bartlett have performed in theatres, arts centers, galleries, colleges and nightclubs across the U.S. and in Australia, Germany and Canada.

XYZ is the author of The Emily XYZ Songbook: Poems for Two Voices (Rattapallax).  Her work has appeared in numerous venues, including the PBS Television series The United States of Poetry; anthologies such as Up Is Up But So Is Down: New York’s Downtown Literary Scene 1974–1992 (NYU Press) and Aloud: Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (Holt); in a 1998 Nike commercial; in the textbook Literature: Craft and Voice, Vol. 2 (McGraw-Hill); and as techno/dance music remixes.  In 2010, she was named Arts Queensland Poet in Residence and spent three months writing, conducting workshops, and performing with Myers Bartlett in Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia.  She currently lives in upstate NY.

In addition to her longtime collaboration with Emily XYZ on stage and in the recording studio, Myers Bartlett is an established voiceover artist with numerous credits to her name.  She received a BFA in theatre from Boston University and is currently represented by Innovative Artists, NYC.