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 2015 award:
Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, produced by the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays.
Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) by Suzan-Lori Parks, produced by The Public Theater.
The Great Society by Robert Schenkkan, produced by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Seattle Repertory Theatre.
The House That Will Not Stand by Marcus Gardley, produced by Berkley Rep.
An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, produced by Soho Rep.
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 Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean Emerita, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University; 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; Tim Pierce, Director, Executive Education Custom Programs, Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management; 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 early February 2015. The Prize will be announced on or after February 22, 2015, 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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