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CUL Kennedy Prize

2013 – All the Way by Robert Schenkkan

From the Playwright

About the Play

All the Way vividly captures a period of great turmoil and consequence in American history, from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963 through Election Night, 1964.  It’s a sprawling drama, its unfolding story told by many of those who shaped the history of our nation at this critical moment, including Martin Luther King, Hubert Humphrey, J. Edgar Hoover, and most of all, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who deftly steers a Civil Rights Bill through a divided Congress. What follows is a watershed moment in history featuring the end of an era and the shift to the political alignments of today. The play examines the personal sacrifices, moral compromises and political cost of achieving this monumental shift.
Read the play synopsis.

Robert Schenkkan

 

Robert Schenkkan was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina but grew up in Austin, Texas. As a Plan II Honors student he received a B.A. in Drama from the University of Texas at Austin (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Most Distinguished Young Alumnus, and Friars’ Society) and an M.F.A. in Theatre Arts from Cornell University.

Schenkkan is the author of 12 full-length plays, two full-length musicals, and a collection of short plays. The Kentucky Cycle was the result of several years of development, starting in NYC at New Dramatists and the Ensemble Studio Theatre. The two-part epic was later work-shopped at the Mark Taper Forum, EST-LA, the Long Wharf Theatre, and the Sundance Institute. The complete “cycle” was awarded the largest grant ever given by the Fund for New American Plays and had its world premiere at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle (Liz Huddle, producer) where it set box office records. It was the centerpiece of the Mark Taper Forum’s 25th Anniversary Season where it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; the first time in the history of the award that a play was so honored which had not first been produced in NYC. It also won both the PEN Centre West and the LA Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Play. Later it appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and opened on Broadway where it was nominated for a Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards. It is published by DPS.

 All the Way premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival under the direction of Artistic Director, Bill Rauch.  It won the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and the Steinberg/National American Theater Critics Award for Best New Play in 2012. Its East coast premier will be in Boston at A.R.T in the fall of 2013.

Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates had its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. By the Rivers of Babylon first appeared at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune had its world premiere at the University of Texas at Austin in. Handler premiered at the Actors Express Theatre. Heaven on Earth premiered off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre and won the Julie Harris/Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Award, and was a participant in the Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Conference. Final Passages premiered at the Studio Arena Theatre. Tachinoki (Critic’s Choice, LA Weekly) premiered at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in Los Angeles. His musicals include The Twelve (Book and Lyrics), producer Joe Granno, and A Night at the Alhambra Café (Book and Lyrics).

Schenkkan has written three plays for children, The Dream Thief, The Devil and Daniel Webster, and A Single Shard. The Dream Thief  had its premiere at Milwaukee’s First Stage and is published by Dramatic Publishing. The Devil and Daniel Webster and A Single Shard both premiered at the Seattle Children’s Theatre and are published by Plays for Young Audiences (PYA).

Schenkkan has written numerous one-acts which are collected together and published by Dramatists Play Service as Conversations with the Spanish Lady. Among them is The Survivalist which premiered at ATL’s Humana Festival, went on to the EST Marathon in NYC, Canada’s DuMaurier Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival where it won “Best of the Fringe” award.

Schenkkan is currently writing The Great Society, a sequel to All The Way, which will have its world premiere in July, 2014 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, directed by Bill Rauch.

Schenkkan’s film work includes: The Quiet American directed by Phillip Noyce. For television he wrote the miniseries Crazy Horse (TNT), Spartacus (USA Network) and The Andromeda Strain. He is a two-time Emmy-nominated writer/producer for Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks and HBO’s epic miniseries, The Pacific, for which he also won a WGA Award. He has written films for Sidney Pollack, Oliver Stone, Denzel Washington, Ron Howard, and Kevin Costner among others. He is currently writing Hacksaw Ridge for Randall Wallace to direct for Walden Media, The Indianapolis for Robert Downey, Jr. and Warner Brothers, and adapting The Demonologist  as a feature for Bob Zemeckis Company and Universal, and the Eisner-winning graphic novel, Incognito, as a feature for Fox and Peter Chernin.

Schenkkan has been in residence at the MacDowell Colony (Thornton Wilder Fellow, 2012), The Orchard Project, Sundance Theater Institute, The O’Neill Foundation, Seven Devils, and The New Harmony Project and is the recipient of grants from New York State, the California Arts Council, and the Vogelstein and the Arthur foundations. He is a New Dramatists alumnus and a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre and the National Theatre Conference. He was recently elected to the Fellows of American Theater.  His website is:  www.robertschenkkan.com

From the Judges

All the Way vividly captures a period of great turmoil and consequence in American history, from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963 through Election Night, 1964.  It´s a sprawling drama, its unfolding story told by many of those who shaped the history of our nation at this critical moment, including Martin Luther King, Hubert Humphrey, J. Edgar Hoover, and most of all, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who deftly steers a Civil Rights Bill through a divided Congress.”

Judges

Carol Becker (non-voting, ex officio member), Dean of the School of the Arts, Columbia University

Lee Bollinger, President, Columbia University

James McPherson, George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History, Emeritus, Princeton University

Itamar Moses, Playwright, Author, New York City

Lynn Nottage, Playwright, New York City

Joshua Schmidt, Composer, Sound Designer,  New York City

James Shapiro, Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Diana Son, Playwright, New York City

Brian Yorkey, Playwright, Lyricist and Theater Director, New York City

Resource Links

All the way