Landmark, Obie-winning playwright Adrienne Kennedy makes her long-awaited Broadway debut as her Ohio State Murders officially opens at Broadway's recently renamed James Earl Jones Theatre December 8. Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald stars in the limited run, which began November 11 and will continue through February 12, 2023. Get a look at the production with a video montage above, and new production shows below.
McDonald, who leads the cast as Suzanne Alexander, is joined by Bryce Pinkham as Robert Hampshire, Lizan Mitchell as Mrs. Tyler/Miss Dawson/Aunt Louise, Mister Fitzgerald as David Alexander/Val, and Abigail Stephenson as Iris Ann. Rounding out the company as understudies are Christian Pedersen, Gayle Samuels, Brett Diggs, and Brooke Gardner.
Ohio State Murders is one of Kennedy's four "Alexander Plays," all of which center around the character of writer Suzanne Alexander, a pseudo stand-in for Kennedy herself. In this entry, Suzanne is invited to give a lecture at her alma mater on the topic of the themes of violence in her writing. She explains their origins by sharing a painful and disturbing story from her time as a young student at the predominately white institution when an interracial relationship led to violence.
Tony winner Kenny Leon is at the helm for the work's Broadway bow, leading a creative team that includes scenic designer Beowulf Boritt, lighting designer Allen Lee Hughes, costume designer Dede Ayite, sound designer Justin Ellington, and projection designer Jeff Sugg. Wigs, hair, and make-up design are by J. Jared Janas, and original music is by Dwight Andrews. The production has been cast by Caparelliotis Casting. Samantha Watson is production stage manager.
Kennedy's other works include Funnyhouse of a Negro (Obie Award), June and Jean in Concert (Obie Award), and Sleep Deprivation Chamber, co-authored with son Adam Kennedy (Obie Award). Ohio State Murders was commissioned by Cleveland's Great Lakes Theater Festival, where it premiered in 1992. Theatre for a New Audience staged its Off-Broadway premiere in 2007. McDonald previously starred in a Zoom reading of the work that streamed during the pandemic.
Ohio State Murders is produced on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Lincoln Center Theater, Rebecca Gold, Jayne Baron Sherman, and Hunter Arnold, along with Kevin Ryan/Lisa Alexander-Taylor, Marc David Levine, Sheryl Lee Ralph/Jeremy Lentz, Brad Blume, Robert Boyett, Irene Gandy, John Paterakis, Iris Smith, Willette and Manny S. Klausner, Kayla Greenspan, Franklin Theatrical Group, Marlene and Gary Cohen, William Parker Frisbie II, Ken and Rande Greiner/Alexander "Sandy" Marshall/Jame DeRoy, Jacob Soroken Porter, Concord Theatricals, John Gore Organization, James L. Nederlander, and The Shubert Organization.