cover of book

Best Black Plays: The Theodore Ward Prize for African American Playwriting
edited by Chuck Smith
foreword by Woodie King, Jr.
contributions by Leslie Lee, Mark Clayton Southers and Kim Euell
supplement by Lisa Howe Ebright
Northwestern University Press, 2007
Paper: 978-0-8101-2390-8
Library of Congress Classification PS627.N4B47 2007
Dewey Decimal Classification 812.54080896073

Within the relatively recent development of a tradition of African American playwriting, the Theodore Ward Prize has, over its twenty-year history, offered a rich reflection of the accomplishments of emerging and established black playwrights and their growing importance in shaping contemporary theater. This volume showcases three winners of the Theodore Ward Prize--plays that in their quality and subject matter aptly represent what is being written and produced by African American playwrights and theaters today.

Carefully selected by a director and educator who has been affiliated with the contest for eighteen of its twenty years, these three works have themes that range from the sordid shenanigans of a Depression-era "South Side Burial Society" (Leslie Lee's Sundown Names and Night-Gone Things) to a single mother's heartbreaking battle to save her children's souls (Mark Clayton Southers' Ma Noah) to a poignant and achingly funny reunion of three sisters after their parents' death (Kim Euell's The Diva Daughters DuPree). Their publication answers a growing demand for the work of African American playwrights even as it affords deep and varied insights into African American culture in our era.
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