CUL - Header

CUL - Main Content

CUL Kennedy Prize

2015 – Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3 by Suzan-Lori Parks

Awards Ceremony Highlights

About the Play

From Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog) comes an explosively powerful new play set against the backdrop of the Civil War. Father Comes Home From The Wars mixes music, contemporary wit, and epic theatricality to tell a timeless story about the struggle to hold on to who we are and what we love in a country that forces us to fight battles we didn’t choose for ourselves. This production features a stellar cast led by Sterling K. Brown (The People vs. O.J. Simpson) and Michael McKean (Better Call Saul, This is Spinal Tap).

Source: The Center Theatre Group

About Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks Named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next New Wave,” in 2002 Suzan-Lori Parks became the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her Broadway hitTopdog/Underdog. A MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, she has also been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is recipient of a Lila-Wallace Reader’s Digest Award, a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts (Drama) for 1996, a Guggenheim Foundation Grant and is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College and New Dramatists. Her book adaptation of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess helped the show earn the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival. Her numerous plays include Father Comes Home From The Wars, The Book of Grace, Topdog/Underdog (2002 Pulitzer Prize), In the Blood(2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Venus (1996 OBIE Award), The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Fucking A, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 OBIE Award for Best New American Play), and The America Play. In 2007 her 365 Plays/ 365 Days was produced in over 700 theaters worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theater history. Her work is the subject of the PBS Film The Topdog Diaries. Holding honorary doctorates from Brown University, among others, Suzan-Lori credits her writing teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, for starting her on the path of playwrighting. One of the first to recognize Parks’ writing skills, Mr. Baldwin declared Parks “an astonishing and beautiful creature who may become one of the most valuable artists of our time.”

From the Judges

“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. 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.”

Judges

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

John Weidman, librettist

Resource Links