donnetta lavinia grays
Actor - Playwright - Screenwriter
Photo Credit: Beowulf Sheehan
Donnetta Lavinia Grays - raised in Columbia, South Carolina - is a Brooklyn based playwright and actor whose writing credits include WHERE WE STAND (Lucille Lortel Nominee, Drama League Nominee, 3X AUDELCO Nominee, World Premiere Co-production - WP Theater and Baltimore Centerstage. O’Neill Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), WARRIORS DON’T CRY (Theaterworks USA/Bushnell commission), LAST NIGHT AND THE NIGHT BEFORE (World Premiere - Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Kilroys List. Colorado New Play Summit. National New Play Network Showcase. Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award Winner. O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), LAID TO REST (O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist.) THE REVIEW OR HOW TO EAT YOUR OPPOSITION (WP Pipeline Festival. O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist.) THE NEW NORMAL and THE COWBOY IS DYING.
Donnetta is a recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwright Award, Lilly Award, National Theater Conference Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award, and is the inaugural recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. She is a former Space on Ryder Farm Working Farm Resident, is a Time Warner Foundation WP Playwrights Lab alumna, a Civilians R&D Group alumna, an Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit alumna, and a terraNova Collective Groundbreakers Playwright group alumna. Her work has been previously developed with, Hedgebrook (*Covid Class), New Harmony Project, Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Labyrinth Theater Company, New York Theater Workshop, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Portland Stage Company, Pure Theatre Company, [the claque], Naked Angels, Classical Theater of Harlem, Slant Theater Project, terraNova Collective, and TOSOS.
In 2018 Donnetta founded Gap Toothed Griot, LLC as a home for her particular brand of storytelling. Donnetta - as GTG - is currently under commission with True Love Productions, Steppenwolf, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and WP Theater. For television she has been staffed on Spectrum Original/Lionsgate’s "Manhunt", "Y: The Last Man" for FX Network/Color Force and is currently the Executive Story Editor on "Joe Exotic" starring Kate McKinnon for NBC Universal.
Gap Toothed griot
Photo Credit: Elke Young
Donnetta’s celebrates an acting career which spans over two decades. Her credits include Broadway's IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY and WELL. She has originated numerous roles including the Off-Broadway debut of her solo show WHERE WE STAND (WP Theater/Baltimore Centerstage), MEN ON BOATS (Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb), O EARTH (The Foundry Theatre), OF GOVERNMENT, TIN CAT SHOES and 16 WORDS OR LESS (all with Clubbed Thumb), BE THE DEATH OF ME and IN THE FOOTPRINT (The Civilians- as an Associate Artist), and SHIPWRECKED! AN ENTERTAINMENT (Primary Stages).
Regionally, she has enjoyed runs at American Conservatory Theater, Barrington Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, Arena Stage, Hartford Theaterworks, Portland Stage Company, Baltimore Centerstage, Huntington Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and LA Women's Shakespeare Co. She is a 2-time Connecticut Critic's Circle Award Winner and a Helen Hayes Award Nominee.
Her film and TV credits include THE BOOK OF HENRY, WILD CANARIES, THE ENGLISH TEACHER, and THE WRESTLER. She has enjoyed recurring roles on NEW AMSTERDAM, HAPPY, RUBICON, MERCY and LAW AND ORDER SVU. And guest starring roles on HIGH MAINTENANCE, THE NIGHT OF, BLUE BLOODS,THE BLACKLIST, A GIFTED MAN, LAW AND ORDER, LAW AND ORDER:CI and THE SOPRANOS. Donnetta is a Part-Time Lecturer at The New School of Drama. BA: College of Charleston. MFA: University of California, Irvine.