(Photo: Allison Michael Orenstein)
Adrienne Kennedy Ohio State Murders, starring Tony winner Audra McDonald, has announced its Broadway venue and dates. The previously announced production will be the first show to play at the newly renamed and renovated James Earl Jones Theater, formerly known as the Cort Theater, when it begins performances Nov. 11 ahead of its Dec. 8 opening. Tony winner Kenny Leon will direct. An additional casting and creative team will be announced at a later date.
“I am humbled and honored to be a part of Adrienne Kennedy’s long-awaited Broadway debut at the new James Earl Jones Theater with Kenny Leon,” McDonald said. “This timeless piece has powerful resonance and relevance today, and we look forward to sharing it with the world.”
Ohio State Murders is an unusual look at the destructiveness of racism in the United States. When Suzanne Alexander, a black fiction writer, returns to Ohio State University to talk about violence in her writing, a dark mystery unfolds.
McDonald has won six Tony Awards in all four acting categories. She won for her performances in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, Porgy and Bess and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. She earned three additional Tony nominations. In 2015, McDonald received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama and was named one of Time the magazine’s 100 most influential people. On TV, McDonald won an Emmy Award for PBS Animation Live from Lincoln Center. Her film credits include Disney Live-Action The beauty and the Beast and the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect. She should appear in the film directed by George C. Wolfe and directed by Colman Domingo. Rust for Netflix.
An award-winning playwright as well as a lecturer and author who has contributed to American theater for more than six decades, Kennedy is best known for plays such as A Negro’s Funnyhouse, June and Jean in concert, sleep deprivation room, Sun, mom, how did you meet the Beatles?, The Owl Answers, She’s Talking to Beethoven, Lennon’s Play, A Movie Star Must Play Black and White, A Rat’s Mass, Motherhood 2000, A Lesson in a Dead Language and much more. She is the recipient of an Obie Award for sleep deprivation room, which she co-wrote with her son Adam. She is also the recipient of the Obie Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2018. Her other awards include a Guggenheim Award, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement, Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature and American Book Award for 1990. She was also a Hutchins Fellow in 2016-2017. She was a visiting lecturer at Yale University, New York University, and the University of California, Berkeley, where she was Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecturer in 1980 and 1986. She taught in the Department of English from Harvard University for six semesters.