The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Paula Vogel

b. November 16, 1951

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Paula Vogel until we are able to commission a full entry.

Paula Vogel in 2010, image courtesy of Alan Safier via Wikimedia Commons.

Although she made her Broadway debut with Indecent in 2016, playwright Paula Vogel has long been hailed for her unflinching exploration of taboo topics, from the AIDS crisis to child abuse. Vogel graduated from the Catholic University of America in 1974 and earned a master’s degree from Cornell in 1976. She debuted her first play, Swan Song of Sir Henry, in 1974 and went on to produce new plays every few years. In 1992 she won an Obie award for The Baltimore Waltz, which focused on the AIDS crisis, and followed this success with a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for How I Learned to Drive, a play about child abuse. In 2017 she was nominated for a Tony award for Indecent, which investigated the censorship of Sholem Asch’s 1923 play God of Vengeance for its treatment of religion and lesbian romance. Since the 1980s, Vogel has run playwriting “boot camps,” challenging participants to create plays in 48 hours. She headed the graduate playwriting program at Brown University until 2008, when she became chair of the playwriting department at Yale School of Drama. She earned her PhD from Cornell in 2016. Among her many honors, she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2013 and won the 2017 Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2022, Vogel was profiled in the book 50 Key Figures in Queer US Theatre.  

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Paula Vogel." (Viewed on December 5, 2023) <>.


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