Tag: Suzan-Lori Parks

‘Genius: Aretha Franklin’ Greenlighted As Third Installment Of Nat Geo Series; Suzan-Lori Parks Set As Showrunner

 Credit: Photo by Roger Bamber/ANL/REX/Shutterstock 

by Nellie Andreeva via deadline.com

It’s official — the upcoming third season of National Geographic’s scripted anthology series Genius will be devoted to the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who died in August at age 76. The announcement was made Sunday at TCA.

Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulitzer Prize award-winning playwright of Topdog/Underdog, will be executive producer and showrunner of the project, from Imagine Television and Fox 21 TV Studios. Music mogul and longtime Franklin collaborator Clive Davis as well as Atlantic Records chairman and CEO Craig Kallman also executive produce.

Genius was renewed for a third season in April, with author Mary Shelley revealed as its subject, to follow Albert Einstein and Picasso. The Mary Shelley story remains in consideration for future installments of the anthology series.

The idea of doing a Franklin-centered Genius came together quickly following the music icon’s August 16 death, spearheaded by Imagine’s Brian Grazer. The project had been moving full steam ahead since, with securing access to Franklin’s music considered the one key element that would clinch a green light.

Bringing David, Kallman and Warner Music Group on board was very important in that aspect, with the producers currently able to use about 80% of Franklin’s catalog and working to secure the remaining titles.

Read more: https://deadline.com/2019/02/genius-aretha-franklin-greenlighted-season-3-nat-geo-series-suzan-lori-parks-showrunner-1202553998/amp/

Scholars Lorna Goodison, John Keene, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Suzan-Lori Parks to Receive $165,000 Windham-Campbell Prizes From Yale University

via jbhe.com

Lorna G (photo via tallawahmagazine.com)

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University has announced the eight winners of this year’s Windham-Campbell Prizes in the fields of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. Each winner will receive a $165,000 prize at an international literary festival at Yale in September.

Four of the eight winners of this year Windham-Campbell Prizes are Black. Three have ties to academic institutions in the United States.

Lorna Goodison, a winner of a poetry prize, is a professor emerita at the University of Michigan, where she served as the Lemuel A. Johnson Professor of English and African and Afro-American studies. She currently serves as poet laureate of the nation of Jamaica. Professor Goodison has published 13 collections of poetry including Supplying Salt and Light (McClelland & Stewart, 2013).

John Keenes (photo via vice.com)

John Keene, a professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark is the recipient of a Windham-Campbell Prize in the fiction category. He is the author of the short story collection Counternarratives (New Directions, 2015) and the novel Annotations (New Directions, 1995). Professor Keene received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master of fine arts degree from New York University.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (photo via lareviewofbooks.com)

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, a native of Uganda who now lives in England, won a prize in the fiction category. Her debut novel Kintu (Transit Books, 2014) tells the parallel stories of the fall of a cursed bloodline—the titular Kintu clan—and the rise of modern Uganda. Dr. Makumbi earned a Ph.D. in African literature from Lancaster University in England. She has taught creative writing at several universities in the United Kingdom.

Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks won an award in the drama category. She is a professor of creative writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Parks is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. She is a former MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” winner. Professor Parks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her play “Topdog/Underdog.” In addition to her plays, Parks is the author of the novel Getting Mother’s Body (2003).

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/03/four-black-scholars-to-receive-165000-windham-campbell-prizes-from-yale-university/

Professor and Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks Wins the 2015 Gish Prize for Excellence in the Arts

Award Winning Playwright and Professor Suzan-Lori Parks
Award Winning Playwright and Professor Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks, who teaches creative writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, has been chosen as the winner of the 2015 Gish Prize, established through the will of the late actress Lillian Gish. The prize, considered among the top honors in the arts, comes with a cash award valued at $300,000.

The Gish Prize Trust said that Parks’ work “challenges contemporary conceptions of race, sexuality, family and society, and is distinguished by its striking wordplay, vibrant wit, and uninhibited style.” Parks will be honored at a ceremony on November 30 at the Public Theater in New York.

Parks is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. She is a former MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” winner. Professor Parks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her play “Topdog/Underdog.”

article via jbhe.com

Suzan-Lori Parks Wins 2015 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History

Award Winning Playwright and Professor Suzan-Lori Parks
Award Winning Playwright and Professor Suzan-Lori Parks

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, who teaches creative writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, has been selected as the winner of the 2015 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. The prize was established by Jean Kennedy Smith, the sister of Senator Edward Kennedy, and is administered by the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning at Columbia University in New York City.

Parks was honored for her play “Father Comes Home From the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3,” which was first staged at The Public Theater in New York last October. The Kennedy Prize comes with a $100,000 cash award.

Parks is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. She is a former MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” winner. Professor Parks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her play “Topdog/Underdog.”

article via jbhe.com

Sam Pollard Directs New Doc on Life & Legacy of August Wilson – Coming to PBS in February

August Wilson - American Masters

Coming to PBS primetime next month, as part of its AMERICAN MASTERS series, is the documentary, “August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand,” airing on February 20 at 9pm ET.

Directed by Emmy and Peabody-winner Sam Pollard (long-time Spike Lee editor, as well as a director and producer in his own right), the documentary explores the life and legacy of Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson – the man some call America’s Shakespeare — from his roots as a Pittsburgh activist and poet, to his indelible mark on Broadway.

Unprecedented access to Wilson’s theatrical archives, rarely seen interviews, and new dramatic readings, bring to life his seminal 10-play cycle chronicling each decade of the 20th century African American experience. The film features new interviews with Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, James Earl Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks, Phylicia Rashad, his widow/costume designer Constanza Romero, and others, sharing stories of the late great African American playwright’s rich theatrical canon.

PBS is premiering the film in honor of the 70th anniversary of Wilson’s birth, as well as the 10th anniversary of his death, and for Black History Month.

The DVD will be available on February 24 from PBS Distribution.

“Having the opportunity to explore Wilson’s creative process and his tenacity in looking at the African American experience in the 20th century was one of the most exciting endeavors I have ever had in my film career,” said filmmaker Sam Pollard.

article by Tambay A. Obenson via indiewire.com

Pulitzer-Prize Winning Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts, 1, 2 & 3)” Opens Tuesday at Public Theater in New York

Sterling K. Brown in “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3).” (Photo: Richard Termine)
Sterling K. Brown in “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3).” (Photo: Richard Termine)

In “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3),” a new drama by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (“Topdog/Underdog”), Hero, a slave, is offered a deal by his master: Leave behind his family and fight for the Confederacy in exchange for his freedom.  This decision and its implications are at the heart of this historical tale, whose first three parts open Tuesday at the Public Theater.  If this work sounds too familiar to be a “world premiere,” as it is billed, that’s because it has been gestating for years, with workshop productions staged at the Public Lab in 2009 and this year.  Sterling K. Brown (“The Brother/Sister Plays”) is Hero, and Jo Bonney directs. (425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, 212-967-7555, publictheater.org.)

article by Jason Zinoman via nytimes.com

A Review Of Suzan-Lori Parks-Directed Production of “Topdog/Underdog”

Brandon J. Dirden, left, and Jason Dirden in “Topdog/Underdog.” The actors are brothers both in real life and in the play, in Red Bank. (T. Charles Erickson)

There is a gunshot in “Topdog/Underdog,” the shining first production of Two River Theater Company’s 2012-13 season.  Maybe you don’t expect it because of all the comedy. Maybe you do expect it because the gun has been too visible onstage not to play an important role. I was pretty sure I knew what lay ahead, but it was still a shock. Cheers to Jason Dirden, the shooter, and to Suzan-Lori Parks, the playwright, who also directed. Continue reading “A Review Of Suzan-Lori Parks-Directed Production of “Topdog/Underdog””