Daniel Alexander Jones
Hailed by Backstage Magazine as “a true theatrical original,” by American Theatre Magazine as an artist whose work will “change American stages for decades to come,” and by the Public Theater as “a boundary breaking visionary,” artist Daniel Alexander Jones is not one to follow the rules. Although Jones is a playwright, a performer, a recording artist, and a director— rather than conform to just one genre or role— he says that “energy is [his] true medium.”
In 2000, Jones received the inaugural grant from Creative Capital which “supports innovative and adventurous artists through funding, counsel, and career development services.” He was later granted the 2005 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts which is “given annually to five risk-taking mid-career artists [who are] respected for their creativity, ingenuity, and bodies of work.” In 2015 he received the Doris Duke Award which honors artists “who have demonstrated artistic vitality in their work and a deep commitment to their field,” as well as the Art Matters Grant which “provides fellowships to individual artists working with social issues and experimenting in form.” Jones was a 2016 United States Artist Fellow, which “celebrates artists who have significantly contributed to the creative landscape and arts ecosystem of the country.”
Jones’ critically-acclaimed original work, Black Light, is part of American Repertory Theater’s 19-20 Season and will be performed in Cambridge, MA at OBERON September 19-29, 2019. Commissioned by Joe’s Pub and produced by the Public Theater in 2017, Black Light is described as “a spiritual revival for turbulent times. Jomama Jones invites us to the Crossroads to contemplate what we must choose at this moment in our own lives, in our civic relationships, in our country, and our world.” Jones describes Jomama as his “alter ego,” and has created three other original performance pieces for her: An Evening with Jomama, Radiate, and Night Flowers. Jomama has also recorded five albums of original songs. In an interview with MPR News (Minnesota Public Radio), Jones explained how Jomama appeared to him as a fully formed being: “…she arrived in a way that was very different from the other kind of characters that I’ve performed or written…It was an energy that was very big, extremely clear, and distinct from me.” New York Magazine affirms that “Jomama [moves us] to go from Black Light back out into daylight with our senses somehow both sharpened and softened: more able to hear others [and] more able to see ourselves.”
Jones’ other original performance works include Phantasmatron, Hera Bright, The Book of Daniel, Bel Canto, Earthbirths, Clayangels, Duat, An Integrator’s Manual, and Bright Now Beyond, among others. Jones is a former Core Writer of the Playwrights’ Center, and from 2003-2010 he was a Resident Playwright with New Dramatists. He has written essays and conducted artist interviews for HowlRound Theatre Commons. And he is currently working on a book of creative nonfiction called WAVES (A Manual for Bearing Light), which “chronicles his journey through a series of powerful lessons learned from pivotal mentors, places, and moments in time. Resonant with the call and response of Blackness, Queerness, Experimentation, Lineage, and Transformation, the book offers evidence of lives lived beyond binaries and boundaries…”
Jones did his undergraduate study at Vassar College (1991) in Africana Studies with a focus on literature and the arts, and graduate theatre study at Brown University (1993). He is currently an Associate Professor of Theatre at Fordham University where he teaches playwriting, solo performance, and theatre history.
The October 1st DeVoy Perspectives on Theatre Series lecture will focus on challenging the conventional “rules” of theatre; Jones will speak about the process for his experimental projects, and the value of having a diverse array of artistic mentors, particularly women and people of color. The lecture will be followed by an artist Q&A session.