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Suzan-Lori Parks

SUZAN-LORI PARKS  (1963 - )

Nationality:    African-American
email:    n/a     Website:    Click here

Literary Agent:    Creative Artists Agency NY  represented by George Lane


Suzan-Lori Parks (born 10 May 1963) is an African-American playwright and screenwriter. Named one of TIME magazine's 100 Innovators for the Next New Wave, in 2002 Suzan-Lori Parks became the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her Broadway hit Topdog/Underdog. A MacArthur Genius Award recipient, she has also been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is recipient of a Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Award, a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts (Drama) for 1996, a Guggenheim Foundation Grant and is an alumnae of Mount Holyoke College and New Dramatists. Her numerous plays include Father Comes Home From The Wars, The Book of Grace, Topdog/Underdog (2002 Pulitzer Prize), In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Venus (1996 OBIE Award), The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Fucking A, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 OBIE Award for Best New American Play), and The America Play. In 2007 her 365 Plays/ 365 Days was produced in over 700 theaters worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theater history. Her work is the subject of the PBS Film The Topdog Diaries. Her first feature-length screenplay was Girl 6 written for Spike Lee. She's also written screenplays for Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Jodi Foster and Oprah Winfrey, adapting Zora Neale Hurston's classic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God which premiered on ABC's Oprah Winfrey Presents. As a film actor Parks has appeared in the fictional-documentary &Plus One which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. Suzan-Lori's first novel Getting Mother's Body (Random House, 2003) is set in the west Texas of her youth and follows the scrappy Beede family as they embark on a riotous road trip in hopes of recovering a fortune of jewels  rumored to be buried with a long-dead relative. Her current projects include her Ray Charles musical, Unchain My Heart, scheduled to premiere on Broadway, an adaptation of the classic opera Porgy and Bess, which opened in January 2012 and is currently running on Broadway, and her innovative performance piece Watch Me Work. In November 2008 Suzan-Lori Parks became the first recipient of the Master Writer Chair at the Public Theater, and also serves as a visiting Arts professor in dramatic writing at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Holding honorary doctorates from Brown University, among others, Suzan-Lori credits her writing teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, for starting her on the path of playwrighting. One of the first to recognize Parks' writing skills, Mr. Baldwin declared Parks an astonishing and beautiful creature who may become one of the most valuable artists of our time.

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below is a list of Suzan-Lori Parks's plays - click on a Play Title for more information

365 Days/365 Plays Festival         7 Plays, 7 Days, 7 Ways (Selections from "365 Days/365 Plays")         America Play, The         Betting On The Dust Commander         Book of Grace, The         Death Of The Last Black Man In The Whole World, The         Devotees In The Garden Of Love         Father Comes Home from the Wars (PArts 1, 8 & 9)         Fucking A         Greeks         Imperceptible Mutabilities In The Third Kingdom         In the Blood         Neo-Futurists Meet SUSAn Lori Parks: NEO-FUTURISTIC REALIZATION OF 365 DAYS/365         Pickling         Porgy And Bess         Ray Charles Live!         Sinner's Place, The         Topdog/Underdog         Venus         Watch Me Work



365 Days/365 Plays Festival

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
by Suzan-Lori Parks, Additional writing by The Acting Ensemble

1st Produced:
New Dance Group Arts Center, NY    2007

Company:
New Dance Group Arts Center

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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7 Plays, 7 Days, 7 Ways (Selections from "365 Days/365 Plays")

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
-    2007

Company:
Faux-Real Theatre Company

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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America Play, The

Synopsis:
Once upon a time there was a theme park called the Great Hole of History. It was a popular spot for honeymooners who, in search of "post-nuptial excitement," would visit this hole and watch the daily historical parades. One of these visitors was a man who has now come to call himself The Foundling Father. He was a digger by trade - a grave digger - and he was struck by the size of the Hole and the pageantry of the place. He returns home with his wife, Lury, a woman who keeps secrets for the dead, and together they start a mourning business. Unfortunately, our hero can't get the Great Hole pageantry out of his head; the echoes of history speak to him and call him to greatness. At rise we meet this Foundling Father. He has left his wife and child and gone out west to dig a huge replica of the Great Hole of History. In the hole sits our hero. He is dressed like Abraham Lincoln, complete with beard, wart, frock coat and stove pipe hat. He tells us the story of his own life (in the third person) and tells us that

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
New York    1990

Company:
-

1st Published:
American Theatre Magazine, NY - March, 1994   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Betting On The Dust Commander

Synopsis:
play about circularity, domestic harmony and horse racing

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
New York    1987

Company:
-

1st Published:
Dramatists Play Service, NY, 1990   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
One Act

Parts:
Male:  1            Female:  1            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Book of Grace, The

Synopsis:
Suzan-Lori Parks's new play is a family portrait shattered by issues of rage, revenge, power and betrayal. When a young man returns home to South Texas to confront his father, everyday life erupts into a battle for personal survival. At once fiercely intimate and explosive, The Book of Grace weaves the story of three people bound together by love and longing, passion and ambition.
- nytheatre.com

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  1            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Death Of The Last Black Man In The Whole World, The

Synopsis:
an historical dreamscape of death and non religious resurrection

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
New York    1990

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Theatre", New Haven, Summer/Fall, 1990   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  5            Female:  6            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Devotees In The Garden Of Love

Synopsis:
As a bride-to-be and her mother watch from atop a hill, two suitors vie in bloody combat for the lady's hand in marriage. Meanwhile, the young lady prepares her heart and trousseau for the victor--until news from her matchmaker reveals just how deadening romantic illusions can be. This tragicomedy of courtly ritual is an Actors Theatre commission

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
Smith & Kraus in 20/20: Twenty One-Act Plays from the Twenty Year History of the Humana Festival of New American Plays and by TCG in The America Play and Other Works.,    -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
One Act

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Father Comes Home from the Wars (PArts 1, 8 & 9)

Synopsis:
Suzan-Lori Parks takes the stage to play the role of our guide leading through a multimedia epic tale about slavery, war, freedom, and the difficulty of family ties. Part I tells the story of Penny, a slave, awaiting her husband's return from the Civil War while resisting her own desire to flee with a band of runaway slaves. Parts 8 & 9, set in present day, follow a Poet-General struggling with the reality of his impending death while he plans his annual celebration for the army troops
- press release

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Public Theater, NY    2009

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  5            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Fucking A

Synopsis:
Hester has the guilt-ridden job in a small rather post-apocalyptic country as the only abortionist. Her profession as "baby killer" is so reviled, that she doesn't even admit what she does when writing her son in prison

Notes:
"Fucking A" should be without the comma As the play is "inspired" by Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

1st Produced:
-    2000

Company:
-

1st Published:
in Red Letter Plays, TCG, 2002   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Greeks

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
New York    1990

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Imperceptible Mutabilities In The Third Kingdom

Synopsis:
African-American history in the shadow of the photographic image

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
New York    1989

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "The American Play and other works", Theatre Communications Group, USA,    -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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In the Blood

Synopsis:
In this modern day riff on The Scarlet Letter, Hester La Negrita, a homeless mother of five, lives with her kids on the tough streets of the inner city. Her eldest child is teaching her how to read and write, but the letter "A" is, so far, the only letter she knows. Her five kids are named Jabber, Bully, Trouble, Beauty and Baby, and the characters are played by adult actors who double as five other people in Hester's life: her ex-boyfriend, her social worker, her doctor, her best friend and her minister. While Hester's kids fill her life with joy-lovingly comical moments amid the harsh world of poverty-the adults with whom she comes into contact only hold her back. Nothing can stop the play's tragic end.

Notes:
from Hawthorne's tale, The Scarlet Letter

1st Produced:
New York    1999

Company:
-

1st Published:
American Theatre Magazine, NY - March, 2000    -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Neo-Futurists Meet SUSAn Lori Parks: NEO-FUTURISTIC REALIZATION OF 365 DAYS/365

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Makor, NY    2007

Company:
New York Neo-Futurists

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Pickling

Synopsis:
a woman remembers the past through the things she has saved: lots of bric-a-brac in formaldehyde

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
New York    1989

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
One Act

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  1            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Porgy And Bess

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
adaptation by Suzan-Lori and Diedre L Murray

1st Produced:
-    2011

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Ray Charles Live!

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
-    2007

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Sinner's Place, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Amherst, Massachusetts    1984

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Topdog/Underdog

Synopsis:
A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity is Suzan-Lori Parks's latest riff on the way we are defined by history. The play tells the story of Lincoln and Booth, two brothers whose names were given to them as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment. Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
Dramatists Play Service, NY,    -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Venus

Synopsis:
In 1810, The Venus Hottentot (as she is dubbed)-a young black woman with an enormous posterior-is lured away from her menial job in South Africa to tour the world and make lots of money. Once in England, however, she is sold to a freak show and becomes a star. She shows off her attribute, bringing in crowds and raking in money for the side show owners. Quickly becoming adept at showing herself, and figuring out what the people want, she even tries to break out on her own, but can't quite master that in those social times. Eventually, she is procured by a white doctor who is more than fascinated with her. He falls in love with her and keeps her as his mistress until he is in danger of losing his medical reputation and social standing. Venus, who journeyed to Europe with high hopes, at the end of her short life, was dissected by the man she loved.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
-    1996

Company:
-

1st Published:
Theatre Communications Group, New York,    -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  8            Female:  4            Other:  flexible

Further Reference:
-

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Watch Me Work

Synopsis:
Watch Me Work is a performance piece, a meditation on the artistic process and an actual work session, in which Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks works on her newest writing project in the main lobby of The Public. The audience is invited to come and watch her work and/or to share the space and get some of their own writing work done. During the last fifteen minutes of the performance she will answer any questions the audience might have regarding their own work and their own creative process.
- nytheatre.com

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003    19 Nov 2010

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
performance piece 75 min

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  1            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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