Pulitzer-Winning Parks Unleashes New Play at Public Theater, Feb. 25

News   Pulitzer-Winning Parks Unleashes New Play at Public Theater, Feb. 25 The latest work by Suzan-Lori Parks, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Topdog/Underdog in 2002, will begin previews at the Public Theater's Anspacher Theater on Feb. 25.

S. Epatha Merkerson, the "Law & Order" star with a theatre background, will star along with Mos Def, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Bobby Canavale. Michael Greif directs. No opening date has been set. Called Fucking A, a title the New York Times has declined to print, the play is Suzan-Lori Parks' new take on "The Scarlet Letter," the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel that also inspired her In the Blood. Here, Hester Prynne is Hester Smith (Merkerson), an abortionist. Smith believes her only son (Mos Def) has been wrongly imprisoned and has devoted her life to freeing him.

The show will include 10 original songs by Parks, which are laced throughout the text. The singing talents of Rubin-Vega and Mos Def, both recording artists, will be taken advantage of, and a few musicians will be present on stage. The song list is as follows:

"Hard Times"
"My Vengeance"
"Working Woman's Song"
"My Little Army"
"Hunter's Creed"
"Gilded Cage"
"My Vengeance"
"My Little Enemy"
"A Meat Man Is a Good Man To Marry"
"The Making of a Monster"

The cast also includes Susan Blommaert, Peter Gerety, Jojo Gonzalez, Jesse Lenat, Manu Narayan, Chandler Adrian Parker and Michole Briana White.

Merkerson appeared in the Broadway productions of Tintypes and The Piano Lesson before taking the role of a top cop on "Law & Order." Mos Def, known as a rap singer, made the jump to the legit stage when The Public's staging of Topdog/Underdog moved to Broadway in 2002 after a run downtown in 2001 (Don Cheadle starred Off-Broadway in the role Mos Def would eventually take over). Jeffrey Wright appeared both downtown and on Broadway in that 2002 Pulitzer Prize winner by Parks.

Daphne Rubin-Vega was the original Mimi in Rent, which was directed by Greif, and starred in Two Sisters and a Piano at the Public Theater with Bobby Cannavale.

Tickets are $45. For more information, call (212) 239-6200 or consult www.publictheater.org.