Columbia University Libraries has announced the five finalists for the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. The finalists are Roe by Lisa Loomer, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music by Taylor Mac, Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, Sweat by Lynn Nottage, andIndecent by Paula Vogel. The prize winner will be announced on or after Feb. 22, 2017, and will be honored with $100,000 at a ceremony at Columbia.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the prize. It was created by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to honor her late brother, Sen. Ted Kennedy. The finalists were selected through nominations by 20 theatre professionals around the country.
Some of the 2017 finalists were also nominated in 2016: Indecent (produced by Yale Repertory Theatre), Sweat (produced by Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and Vietgone (produced by Yale Repertory Theatre). The two newcomers this year were Roe (produced by OSF) and A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (produced by Pomegranate Arts and Natures Darlings). In addition, Sweat and Indecent will head to Broadway this spring, marking the Main Stem debuts of both Nottage and Vogel.