Landmark, Obie-winning playwright Adrienne Kennedy makes her long-awaited Broadway debut with Ohio State Murders, which began performances at Broadway's recently renamed James Earl Jones Theatre November 11, with opening night set for December 8.
“The frightening thing about looking at this play with the 2022 lens is that a lot of the things that my character Suzanne experienced and is dealing with and talks about in the play—that happened to her in 1949 as a result of systemic racism that was in place—feels a little too familiar here in 2022,” shares McDonald, who leads the cast as Suzanne Alexander. Watch the video above for the full interview with McDonald, her co-stars, and director Leon above.
Completing the cast are 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.
The creative team also 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.