The judges voted unanimously to divide this year's award between two exceptionally deserving works. Both plays exemplify the mission of the prize by engaging "the great issues of our day through the public conversation, grounded in historical understanding that is essential to the functioning of a democracy."
Each playwright receives an award of $50,000, and the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning at Columbia University Libraries will work with both recipients to create websites featuring study and teaching guides, historical research, and scholarly discussions and interpretations of the plays. The websites will be available to any theater artist, teacher or class studying the works with the intent of expanding understanding of the playwright's work and career.
The EMK Prize has potential for contributing to an elevation of the standards of precision, intellectual rigor and seriousness with which dramatic literature is approached by theater artists, audiences, educators, students and critics. Ambassador Smith, in honor of her late brother, hopes that the prize will galvanize a new and vigorous exploration of American history and the institutions of American politics among dramatists and creators of musical theater.
To learn more, visit http://kennedyprize.columbia.edu/
Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski
Robert Schenkkan, Dan O'Brien
Tony Kushner, Jean Kennedy Smith
Patrick Kennedy, Owen Patrick Kennedy
Jean Kennedy Smith, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Patrick Kennedy, Owen Patrick Kennedy, Amy Petitgout, Tony Kushner
Brian Stokes Mitchell