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CUL Kennedy Prize

Finalists Announced for 2016 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired By American History

Published: January 27th, 2016

NEW YORK, January 27, 2016 –Columbia University Libraries/Information Services, on behalf of the board of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, has announced the five finalist works for the 2016 award:

An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, produced by Soho Rep

Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, produced by The Public Theater

Indecent by Paula Vogel, produced by Yale Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse

Sweat by Lynn Nottage, produced by Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, produced by South Coast Repertory

The Edward M. Kennedy Prize is given annually through Columbia University to a new play or musical that, in the words of the Prize’s mission statement, “…enlists theater’s power to explore the past of the United States, to participate meaningfully in the great issues of our day through the public conversation, grounded in historical understanding, that is essential to the functioning of a democracy.”

The Prize Board of Governors includes Mandy Hackett, Associate Director, The Public Theater, New York, NY; 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; Amanda Smith, author.

Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith created the prize to honor the life and legacy of her late brother, Senator Ted Kennedy. Finalists were selected through nominations from a group of 20 theater professionals around the country. The jury will meet at Columbia in February 2016. The Prize will be announced on or after February 22, 2016, the anniversary of Senator Kennedy’s birth.  The winning play will receive an award of $100,000, and will be honored in a ceremony at Columbia later this spring.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 12 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 450 professional and support staff and hosts over 3.5 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.