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Suzan-Lori Parks’ trilogy wins Kennedy Prize for Drama

February 23, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — Suzan-Lori Parks’ historical trilogy set during the Civil War has won a theater award honoring the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, one of the largest prizes given for dramatic writing.

Parks’ “Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)” traces the journey of a slave named Hero, his wife, Penny, and the best friend he betrayed, Homer. Spanning a total of three hours, the plays premiered last fall at the Public Theater to largely rave reviews. It is the initial trio in a planned nine-play cycle.

The Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History honors a new play or musical that explores the United States’ past and deals with “great issues of our day.” Given every year through Columbia University, it comes with $100,000.

The winning play Monday beat out four other finalists: Robert Schenkkan’s “The Great Society,” Marcus Gardley’s “The House That Will Not Stand,” and two by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins — “Appropriate” and “An Octoroon”

The prize was established by Kennedy’s sister Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith in consultation with playwright Tony Kushner. It is given every Feb. 22, the anniversary of the late senator’s birth.

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Online: http://kennedyprize.columbia.edu

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