NEW YORK, N.Y. – Dominique Morisseau’s “Detroit ’67″ on Monday won a theatre award honouring the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, one of the largest prizes given for dramatic writing.
The Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History honours a new play or musical that explores the United States’ past and deals with “great issues of our day.” It comes with $100,000.
The jury unanimously picked Morisseau’s play, the first in a three-play cycle about her hometown Detroit. According to the jury, the play “explores an explosive and decisive moment in a great American city” and has “compelling characters struggle with racial tension and economic instability.”
“Detroit ’67″ received its world premiere at The Public Theater in New York City in March and was presented in association with the Classical Theater of Harlem and the National Black Theater.
The prize was established by Kennedy’s sister Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith in consultation with playwright Tony Kushner.
Morisseau’s play beat out four other works, including the musical “Fun Home” by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, “Party People” by the company Universes, “Appropriate” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and “the road weeps, the well runs dry” by Marcus Gardley.
The jury this year included playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, lyricist Susan Birkenhead, and composer and lyricist J. Michael Friedman.
Last year, Dan O’Brien’s “The Body of an American” and Robert Schenkkan’s “All the Way” shared the inaugural award. It is given every February 22, the anniversary of the late senator’s birth.
Kennedy died of cancer in 2009.