2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright will be featured at Syracuse University’s 18th Annual MLK Celebration
2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright will be featured at Syracuse University’s 18th Annual MLK CelebrationJanuary 14, 2003Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Editor’s note:Suzan-Lori Parks will be available for media interviews at 2:45 p.m. in the Maxwell Founders Room. All three MLK venues-the 11 a.m. community event at Hopps Memorial CME Church, the 3 p.m. seminar and the 6:30 p.m. program in the Carrier Dome-are open to the media. Please call SU News Services at 443-3784 for further information. Recipients of the 2003 Unsung Heroes Award will be announced early next week.
More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the 18th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome on Jan. 18. The celebration, “Walking Together: Past, Present, Future,” will feature a keynote address by 2002 Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, a dramatic presentation by the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Co. and choral music by a mass choir, composed of University and community vocalists, and SU’s Black Celestial Choral Ensemble.
The program begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The dinner portion of the event will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are sold out.
In addition to the evening celebration, Parks will appear earlier in the day at the 11 a.m. celebration sponsored by the Syracuse Region Martin Luther King Jr. Commission at Hopps Memorial CME Church, 1110 S. State St., and she will present a 3 p.m. seminar in the Maxwell Auditorium on the SU campus. Both events are free and open to the public.
This is the third time the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Co. has been involved with the celebration at the Carrier Dome. The company will perform an excerpt from Park’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “Top Dog/Under Dog.” Veteran company actors William Rowland III and Vershaun Terry will play the leading roles. Co-directors for the performance will be Karin Franklin and William Rowland II. Costume and set design will be provided by Annette Adams-Brown.
“It is a privilege for the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company to have the opportunity to perform an excerpt from “Top Dog/Under Dog,” says William H. Rowland II, the company’s executive director. “The primary mission of the nationally recognized Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company is to provide a venue for minority actors, dancers, singers, writers, directors and technicians to develop their skills. SU’s MLK celebration presents an exciting opportunity for our company to showcase the work of an award-winning African American author.”
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize-the first presented to an African American woman playwright-Parks was named a 2001 MacArthur Fellow, earned a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000 and received Obie Awards (best off-Broadway play awards) in 1990 and 1996 for “Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom” and “Venus.”
Parks is the director of the A.S.K. Theater Projects Writing for Performance Program at the California Institute for the Arts. Some of her current projects include an adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel “Paradise” for Oprah Winfrey’s film company; an original musical called “Hoopz,” based on the Harlem Globetrotters, for Disney Theatricals and her first novel, “Getting Mother’s Body.”
Parks’ other works include “The America Play” (1993), “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World” (1990) and “In the Blood” (1999), among others. She has been awarded grants from 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. Other awards include the Lila-Wallace Reader’s Digest Award (1995) and the Whiting Writers’ Award (1992).