Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Suzan-Lori Parks’ FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS, PARTS 1, 2 & 3 is the 2015 Winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History

Suzan-Lori Parks. Photo by Lia Chang

Suzan-Lori Parks. Photo by Lia Chang

Suzan-Lori Parks’ Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3 is the 2015 winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, as announced by Columbia University and Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith this week. Ambassador Smith created the prize to honor the life and legacy of her brother, the late senator from Massachusetts. The prize is announced each year on or near his birthday, February 22.

“We are thrilled to award this year’s prize to Suzan-Lori Parks’ Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3, an exceptional work that exemplifies the mission of the prize to explore the history of our country through the power of theatre,” said Ambassador Smith. “Ted was a great student of American history and enjoyed theatre immensely, and I know he would salute this deserving young artist’s success and her illumination of important historical issues that affect our country.”

Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3 received its world premiere at The Public Theater on October 14, 2014 in a co-production with A.R.T. (American Repertory Theater) at Harvard University as part of The National Civil War Project.

Father Comes Home From The Wars Opening Night Celebration on October 28, 2014 at The Public Theater- Cast members Sterling K Brown, Jenny Jules, Jeremie Harris, Peter Jay Fernandez, Tonye Patano, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, Louis Cancelmi, Russell G. Jones, Jacob Ming Trent, director Jo Bonney and Julian Rozzell Jr. Photo by Lia Chang

Father Comes Home From The Wars Opening Night Celebration on October 28, 2014 at The Public Theater- Cast members Sterling K Brown, Jenny Jules, Jeremie Harris, Peter Jay Fernandez, Tonye Patano, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, Louis Cancelmi, Russell G. Jones, Jacob Ming Trent, director Jo Bonney and Julian Rozzell Jr. Photo by Lia Chang

Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Father Comes Home From the Wars” is #2 on TIME’s Top 10 Plays & Musicals List; Ends Run December 7 at The Public Theater 
The Public Theater Extends Suzan-Lori Parks’s FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS through December 7

Ms. Parks will receive an award of $100,000. The Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning at Columbia University Libraries will work with her to create a website featuring study and teaching guides, historical research and scholarly discussions and interpretations of the plays. The website will be available to any theatre artist, teacher or class studying the work and its historical context.

The company of Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3). Photo by Joan Marcus

The company of Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3). Photo by Joan Marcus

“We at the Columbia University Libraries are honored to administer the Kennedy Prize, and in doing so are delighted to recognize outstanding new contributions to American theatre,” said Damon Jaggars, Columbia’s interim vice provost and University Librarian. “The educational website created for the winning play will provide an important resource for teachers and students of history and drama from all over the world.”

Plays and musicals which were first professionally produced in 2013 or 2014 were eligible for this year’s award. The other finalists, announced on December 18, were Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, The Great Society by Robert Schenkkan, The House that Will not Stand by Marcus Gardley, and An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.

“The jury deeply admires all five of this year’s nominated works and was struck by the fact that each in its own way addresses, with eloquence and insight, the as-yet-unhealed traumas brought on by the legacy of American slavery,” said the panel of jurors for this year’s prize. “From amongst this distinguished group, the jury awards the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History to Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3 by Suzan-Lori Parks. The story of Hero, a slave who chooses to fight on behalf of the Confederacy, feels fresh and alive, shining new light on the complicated nature of freedom. In its unflinching treatment of homecoming, betrayal and heroism, Father Comes Home from the Wars announces itself as an iconic work that challenges and engages Western theatrical tradition while providing a compelling contribution to the urgent American conversation about race.”

The voting jury for the 2015 Kennedy Prize included Carol Becker, Dean of Columbia University School of the Arts; Kristoffer Diaz, playwright, educator; Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies, Columbia University; Rinne Groff, playwright, performer; Stephen Adly Guirgis, playwright, screenwriter, director, actor; David Henry Hwang, playwright, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts in the Faculty of the Arts, Columbia University; Gabriel Kahane, composer, singer-songwriter; James Shapiro, Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University; and John Weidman, librettist.

The panel of jurors is selected each year from a pool of playwrights, musical theatre writers, lyricists, composers and scholars of literature, American history or political science.

The size of the award places the Kennedy Prize among the most generous given for dramatic writing, and indeed for writing in America, while the commitment to developing publicly accessible educational content makes the prize unique among dramatic and literary awards.

The Kennedy Prize contributes to an elevation of the standards of precision, intellectual rigor and seriousness with which dramatic literature is approached by theatre artists, audiences, educators, students and critics. Ambassador Smith, in honor of her late brother, hopes that the prize will galvanize a new and vigorous exploration of American history and the institutions of American politics among dramatists and creators of musical theatre.

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, New York; 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; and Amanda Smith, author.

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Signature Theatre Company’s Founding Artistic Director James Houghton To Step Down After 2015-16 25th Anniversary Season
Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards
Photos: Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim, Jo Mei, James Saito, Sue Jin Song, Harriet Harris and More at Opening Night of The World of Extreme Happiness
Photos: “Swimming Awkward Moment,” the newest works by painter Arlan Huang at Trestle Gallery through March 27
Video: Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, James Earl Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks, Phylicia Rashad and More Share Stories in American Masters-August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand Documentary
Photos: National Black Theatre Festival 2013; NBTF runs August 3-8, 2015 and will include Act III – A Celebration of Life Reception saluting the late theatre icon Garland Lee Thompson, Sr.
Video: President Obama Sends Warm Wishes for the Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year -Year of the Ram in New York Chinatown, China Institute, Sesame Street’s Alan Muraoka at Met, MoCA
Rebecca Naomi Jones, Bobby Steggert, Emmanuel Brown, Lynn Cohen and More Set for Charles Mee’s BIG LOVE at Signature Theatre
Feb. 25- Mar. 1: Patrice Johnson Chevannes, Nana Mensah and Christine Osuala Set for National Black Theatre’s Workshop Production of Mfoniso Udofia’s HER PORTMANTEAU, Helmed by Victor Maog
Mar. 8- 29: Pursuit of the Perfect Plate: tokyo fish story Premieres at South Coast Repertory starring Lawrence Kao, Jully Lee, Eddie Mui, Sab Shimono and Ryun Yu
CAAMFest 2015 Honors Filmmaker Arthur Dong with World Premiere Screenings of Forbidden City, USA (3/14), The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor (3/15) & In Conversation with B. Ruby Rich (3/20)
CAAMFest Presents Ursula Liang’s Documentary 9-Man: Northern California Premiere at the Great Star Theatre on March 13; East Bay Premiere at The New Parkway Theater on March 22
Video: BETWEEN RIVERSIDE & CRAZY’s Stephen Adly Guirgis, actor Stephen McKinley Henderson and director Austin Pendleton set for THEATER TALK
THE GET DOWN, Baz Luhrmann’s New Drama Series Set in 1970s NYC That Gave Birth to Hip-Hop, Punk and Disco, to Premiere on Netflix in 2016
The American Playwriting Foundation Creates The Relentless Award to Honor the late Philip Seymour Hoffman
Variety.com: Ken Jeong to Star in ABC Medical Comedy Pilot ‘Dr. Ken’
Photos: Hudson Yang, Randall Park, Eddie Huang, Richard Lui, Lori Tan Chinn and More at #FreshOffTheBoat Viewing Party at The Circle NYC
Video and Photos: BD Wong and Russell Wong Guest Star on ‘NCIS: NEW ORLEANS’, Episode 1.13 – The Walking Dead
The Drama Book Shop Video: Playwright Ayad Akhtar, Josh Radnor and Aasif Mandvi Talk DISGRACED
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Advantageous, Oh Lucy!, Meru, Umrika, The Chinese Mayor, The Stanford Prison Experiment Among 2015 Sundance Film Festival Award Winners
Photos: Lillias White, Scott Wakefield, Ebony Jo-Ann, Tina Fabrique, Marjorie Johnson, Akin Babatundé, Alan Govenar and More at TEXAS IN PARIS at The York Theatre Company
New York City Blizzard Does Not Deter Broadway Icon Chita Rivera From Performing in Concert Taping for THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Series
Mar. 4: Tony Award-Winner Lillias White, Carol Fredette & More to be Honored at 30th Annual Bistro Awards at Gotham Comedy Club
Unsuk Chin’s Opera Alice in Wonderland, Featuring Libretto Co-Written with David Henry Hwang, Set for UK Premiere at the Barbican Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Novels on March 8, 2015
Lincoln Center Theater’s The King and I, Starring Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, Conrad Ricamora, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Paul Nakauchi and More Kick off Rehearsals; Previews Begin March 12
Broadway Bound Doctor Zhivago Featuring Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan, Lora Lee Gayer, Melody Butiu and More Kicks Off Rehearsal; Previews Begin March 27
The Old Globe Presents World Premiere of Christopher Gattelli Helmed IN YOUR ARMS Featuring Vignettes written by David Henry Hwang, Rajiv Joseph, Douglas Carter Beane, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Carrie Fisher, Terrence McNally, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage, and Alfred Uhry, September 16 – October 25
Rajiv Joseph Wins Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for New Play Guards at the Taj; Set for World Premiere at Atlantic Theater Company in May
Photos: Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang, NEFA, Graham Sheffield CBE and Susan Stockton Receive 2015 ISPA Awards
Photos: Late Night at HERE LIES LOVE with Jaygee Macapugay, David Byrne, Jose Llana, Conrad Ricamora, Melody Butiu and More
THE WIZ Turns 40- Photos from Original Broadway Production and BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebration Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More
Photos: Fashion Designer Josie Natori at New Boutique in Nolita; Honored by Asian Cultural Council
Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork LeeCrafting a Career
Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s