(Photo by Caitlin McNaney for Broadway.com)
Audra McDonald will star in Adrienne Kennedy’s Ohio State Murders on Broadway. This production marks Kennedy’s Broadway debut as playwright at the age of 90. “I am so thrilled. It’s only taken me 65 years to make it to Broadway!” Kennedy said in a statement. Tony winner Kenny Leon will direct the production.
Ohio State Murders is an unusual look at the destructiveness of racism in the United States. When Suzanne Alexander, a fictional Black writer, returns to Ohio State University to talk about the violence in her writing, a dark mystery unravels.
McDonald has won six Tony Awards in all four acting categories. She won for her performances in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, Porgy and Bess and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. She has garnered three additional Tony nominations. In 2015, McDonald received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. On television, McDonald won an Emmy Award for hosting of PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center. Her film credits include Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast and the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect. She is set to appear in the George C. Wolfe-directed, Colman Domingo-led Rustin for Netflix.
A prize-winning playwright as well as lecturer and author who has been contributing to American theater for over six decades, Kennedy is best known for plays such as Funnyhouse of a Negro, June and Jean in Concert, Sleep Deprivation Chamber, Sun, Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles?, The Owl Answers, She Talks to Beethoven, The Lennon Play, A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White, A Rat’s Mass, Motherhood 2000, A Lesson in a Dead Language and many more. She is the recipient of an Obie Award for Sleep Deprivation Chamber, which she co-authored with her son Adam. She is also an Obie Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2018. Her other awards include a Guggenheim Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature and the American Book Award for 1990; she was also a distinguished Hutchins Fellow in 2016-2017. She has been a visiting lecturer at Yale University, New York University and University of California at Berkeley, where she was Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecturer in 1980 and 1986. She has taught in Harvard University’s English Department for six semesters.
Dates as well as additional casting and a creative team will be announced in the coming months.