Cambria Heights playwright lays groundwork to create after-school nonprofit

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Dara Bragg, a playwright, director and producer — a Cambria Heights’ native — will be combining her arts seminar and arts award, Success in the Arts and Success in the Arts Awards, into a nonprofit.

Her goal is to open the Success in the Arts after-school program in 2021, according to the playwright and director whose work spans 20 years and includes more than 100 plays through four production companies.

“I want to have my own performing arts after-school program,” said Bragg. “I want to bring Off-Broadway to Queens.”

In 2011, she created Success in the Arts, a roundtable where established entertainers like Kim Wayans of “In Living Color” and Kiki Haynes of “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” fame share their knowledge of Hollywood with up-and-coming artists, according to the director.

“I just wanted to bring in some entertainment insiders and even celebrities to talk to them about their success and let them know it wasn’t an overnight success,” said Bragg. “It’s not like these reality shows where people get instant fame. These people have gone through blood, sweat and tears to get to where they were.”

Other panelists for her sessions included A&R executive Conrad Dimanche of rapper Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Records, Julito McCullum of the “Wire” and Lawrence Saint-Victor of “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “Guiding Light.”

“Everybody that I had there would come off the panel and interact with the people,” said Bragg. “That’s what I wanted to see because some celebrities are not like that. Not every celebrity has a great rapport with people, sometimes they can be standoffish.”

In 2017, Bragg introduced the Success in the Arts Awards to recognize unsung independent artists.

“The award show is to highlight and honor these independent artists who have talent and they haven’t really been appreciated,” said Bragg. “They might not getting an Oscar, or a BET Award or a Golden Globes award, but they are getting a SITA Award.”

Bragg has plans for another seminar in late January and her third awards showcase in late September.

Through her production companies Babb Filmworks & Theatrical Productions, Lady B. Productions, Deekyshaeel Entertainment, and Destined Creativity Productions, she has staged several plays and intends to restage her 2016 hit play “Why Me??” with the backing of Councilman Donovan Richards in Far Rockaway in February 2019.

She also plans on restaging “A Woman’s Worth” in mid-March and “DELIVERANCE” in late play, and introducing the new play “So…Addicted” in late April, with exact times, dates and locations to be announced in the upcoming weeks.

What Bragg is most looking forward for is getting her non-profit off the ground.

“It’s going to have all the different performing arts,” said Bragg. “Singing, dancing, acting, all of that is going to be a part of it.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Posted 12:00 am, December 15, 2018
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