One evening over dinner, Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel delivered what she calls her “annual rant.” Why, she asked director Molly Smith, are theaters always remounting "A Christmas Carol"? Where is the American "Christmas Carol"? On the restaurant tablecloth, Vogel outlined the plot for a new holiday play.

Vogel recounted this origin story to a group of Center constituents who saw the New York Theatre Workshop production of "A Civil War Christmas" in December 2012. In this interview, filmed during that same visit, she discusses her research process; the “shout-out[s]” she gives to the present even when writing a period piece; and her commitment to make visible the experiences of Americans who might otherwise go unheard, be they women in the home or soldiers in the field. Vogel’s current playwriting project is a Center-funded commission for Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater, based on "Don Juan Returns from the War." She has conducted interviews with local veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to inform her eventual script.

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