New Dramatists honored Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks with its 2023 Distinguished Achievement Award at its starry 71st Annual Spring Luncheon Tribute May 30 at the New York Marriott Marquis.
The 2023 New Dramatists Luncheon was co-chaired by Tony winner, previous New Dramatists honoree, and New Dramatists board member George C. Wolfe and Tony winner Kenny Leon. Wolfe directed Parks’ Topdog/Underdog when it debuted at The Public and on Broadway in 2001, while Leon directed the recent Broadway revival of Topdog/Underdog.
“Suzan-Lori Parks is a generation-defining playwright,” said Emily Morse, artistic director of New Dramatists, in an earlier statement. “With depth, vibrant poetry, and truth, Suzan-Lori invites us into her singular theatrical worlds and spins our notions of American history with vivid and complex perspectives. She creates human events on stage that leave an indelible mark, and it’s a privilege to those who love the theatre to witness and experience her sheer and continual brilliance.”
Parks added, “Supporting writers and amplifying new voices is more important now than ever, and I am deeply grateful to the New Dramatists for this recognition.”
It's been quite a season for Parks. Topdog/Underdog is in the running to win this year's Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play with both of its stars, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Corey Hawkins, also nominated. The playwright's new musical The Harder They Come made its world premiere at The Public's Newman Theater earlier this year, while her Plays for the Plague Year had an encore run at The Public's Joe's Pub with Parks reprising her performance as The Writer. Parks also recently found herself on Time Magazine's Time100 List.
Attendees to the luncheon included Hiran Abeysekera (Life of Pi), Betsy Aidem (Leopoldstadt), Annaleigh Ashford (Sweeney Todd), Steven Boyer (Kimberly Akimbo), Kevin Cahoon (Shucked), Faye Castelow (Leopoldstadt), Wayne Cilento (Dancin'), Rashad Chambers (Topdog/Underdog), Victoria Clark (Kimberly Akimbo), Justin Cooley (Kimberly Akimbo), Ben Davis (New York, New York), Eisa Davis (New York, New York), Micaela Diamond (Parade), Delia Ephron (Love Loss & What I Wore), Linedy Genao (Bad Cinderella), J. Harrison Ghee (Some Like It Hot), Corey Hawkins (Topdog/Underdog), Jessica Hecht (Summer, 1976), Amy Herzog (A Doll’s House), Robert Horn (Shucked), Mark Jacoby (A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical), LaChanze (Here Lies Love, Kimberly Akimbo), event co-chair Leon (Topdog/Underdog), Caissie Levy (Leopoldstadt), Judith Light (Other Desert Cities), David Lindsay-Abaire (Kimberly Akimbo), Neil Meron (Some Like It Hot), Bonnie Milligan (Kimberly Akimbo), Alli Mauzey (Kimberly Akimbo), Lauren Mitchell (A Bronx Tale), Arian Moayed (A Doll's House), Casey Nicholaw (Some Like It Hot), Ben Platt (Parade), Linda Powell (A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical), Daryl Roth (Kinky Boots), Sarah Ruhl (in The Next Room), Colton Ryan (New York, New York), Stark Sands (& Juliet), Miriam Silverman (The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window), Marcel Spears (Fat Ham), Katy Sullivan (Cost of Living), David Stone (Wicked), Jeanine Tesori (Kimberly Akimbo), Brandon Uranowitz (Leopoldstadt), Paula Vogel (How I Learned To Drive), Sharon Washington (New York, New York), NaTasha Yvette Williams (Some Like It Hot), Scott Wittman (Some Like It Hot), Betsy Wolfe (& Juliet), Kara Young (Cost of Living), and David Zayas (Cost of Living).