Columbia University Libraries/Information Services, on behalf of the board of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, has announced the five finalist works for the 2016 award:
An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, produced by Soho Rep
Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, produced by The Public Theater
Indecent by Paula Vogel, produced by Yale Repertory Theatre
Sweat by Lynn Nottage, produced by Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, produced by South Coast Repertory
The Edward M. Kennedy Prize is given annually through Columbia University to a new play or musical that, in the words of the Prize’s mission statement, "…enlists theater's power to explore the past of the United States, to participate meaningfully in the great issues of our day through the public conversation, grounded in historical understanding, that is essential to the functioning of a democracy."
The Prize Board of Governors includes Mandy Hackett, Associate Director, The Public Theater, New York, NY; Jean Howard, George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities and Chair, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University; Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History in Honor of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Columbia University; Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright; Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient; Amanda Smith, author.
Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith created the prize to honor the life and legacy of her late brother, Senator Ted Kennedy. Finalists were selected through nominations from a group of 20 theater professionals around the country. The jury will meet at Columbia in February 2016. The Prize will be announced on or after February 22, 2016, the anniversary of Senator Kennedy’s birth. The winning play will receive an award of $100,000, and will be honored in a ceremony at Columbia later this spring.
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