ROBERT SCHENKKAN

PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT & SCREENWRITER

News

DG Copyright Management Presents: Writing Politics with Robert Schenkkan

Politics and theatre are often intertwined… some have even said that writing drama is an inherently political act. Writing an explicitly political work, though, has its own unique set of consequences and considerations.

Join DG Copyright Management [DG©M] on Friday, October 16 at 3:30pm EDT, for a conversation with Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning author Robert Schenkkan [All the Way, Great Society, Building the Wall, The Kentucky Cycle], in which we will examine the process of writing politics. Topics will include: What motivates a political work? How can a political work impact and build community? What rights issues are involved when writing about political figures? What are the consequences? This discussion will be moderated by DG Co-Executive Director and DG(c)M Board Member, Ralph Sevush. 

#ENOUGH Plays to End Gun Violence

 

In Partnership with Broadway on Demand, Playscripts and The Dramatists Guild of America, Announce Seven Winning Plays, their 2020 Digital Premiere, and a Nationwide Reading.

 

New York, NY, October 15, 2020 – #ENOUGH is proud to announce the selection of seven plays by teen playwrights chosen by nationally recognized dramatists Lauren Gunderson, Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney, Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan, Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang, and Karen Zacarías, as the winners of #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence, a national short play competition for middle and high school students.

 

On December 14, 2020 -- the eight-year remembrance of the shootings at Sandy Hook -- the winning titles will receive their digital premiere on the streaming platform Broadway on Demand and be made available for free for organizations to stage readings locally. #ENOUGH received 184 submissions from 23 states and three countries when it called on teens to write 10-minute plays that confront the issue of gun violence. The seven winners are Adelaide Fisher's Ms. Martin's Malaise, Eislinn Gracen's Guns in Dragonland, Azya Lyons' Togetha, Debkanya Mitra's Malcolm, Olivia Ridley's Ghost Gun, Sarah Schecter's Hullabaloo, and Elizabeth Shannon's Loaded Language. Each winner will receive a digital premiere on Broadway on Demand, have their play published and licensed through Playscripts in Spring 2021, and Guild membership and craft training through the Dramatists Guild's Young Dramatist Initiative. "I was incredibly impressed by the skill, inventiveness, and passion of the young playwrights who contributed works for #ENOUGH," says panelist judge David Henry Hwang, whose work includes M. Butterfly and the 2020 Pulitzer Prize finalist musical Soft Power. "The winning plays are entertaining, insightful, and thought-provoking. Collectively, they provide proof that the future -- of our theatre and our nation -- is in good hands." From Dec. 14-20, the plays will receive a national audience with readings viewable for free on the streaming platform Broadway on Demand produced by Alliance Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre, and South Coast Repertory. #ENOUGH is also making the plays available for free as part of its Nationwide Reading on December 14. Schools, theatres, and community organizations can stage a reading of the plays, either virtually or in-person where possible, and follow that reading with a post-show discussion on gun violence and committing to an action item on gun violence specific to their community. "We can't talk about gun violence in America only in the aftermath of the most tragic incidents," says Michael Cotey, producer of #ENOUGH, "Through the Nationwide Reading and the Digital Premiere we're allowing every community to create the space and address the impact of gun violence now."

 

 

Dick Wolf Eyes Streamers, Premium Cable With Las Vegas Period Drama

Dick Wolf is betting on Las Vegas.

The mega-producer's Wolf Films and Universal Television are developing a drama series about the rise of Sin City called American Babylon. The potential series is being readied for pitches to premium cable outlets and streaming platforms.

The project comes from creator Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan and Bruce McKenna — both veterans of HBO's The Pacific — who will executive produce with Wolf and Tom Thayer, Wolf's producing partner on unscripted series including Cold Justice and Criminal Confessions. It will tell the story of Las Vegas' rise through the viewpoints of three families: young mobster Sammy Wise and his iron-willed wife, Esther; ambitious Black businessman Jefferson Delandro, his wife, Edda May, and their daughter, Bella, who fight the structural racism of the "Mississippi of the West"; and aspiring reporter Michael Arcona, who's committed to finding the truth no matter the cost. To read more, click here.

Dick Wolf Teams With Tom Thayer, Robert Schenkkan & Bruce C. McKenna For ‘American Babylon’ Premium Drama Series

In his first foray into the premium TV series marketplace, uber producer Dick Wolf is prepping American Babylon, a period drama chronicling the epic story of the creation of Las Vegas – the American Dream written in blood and neon. He has partnered on the project with long-time collaborator Tom Thayer, Pulitzer Prize winner and The Pacific writer Robert Schenkkan and The Pacific creator Bruce C. McKenna.

The marquee pitch, from Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television, will be taken out to premium cable networks and streamers later this month. Created by Schenkkan and written by him and McKenna, American Babylon  is inspired by “The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America“ by Sally Denton & Roger Morris, to which Universal Television has acquired the rights. To read more, click here.

BUILDING THE WALL By Pulitzer Prize & Tony Winner Robert Schenkkan to Debut in NYC

After sold out runs in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Spain (where it won the Audience Award at the Miteu International Theater Festival), Teatro Espressivo's critically acclaimed production of BUILDING THE WALL by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle, All the Way, Hacksaw Ridge) arrives in the US. Performances begin February 27 at Teatro LATEA @ The Clemente in Lower Manhattan. Presented in Spanish with English subtitles, this translation by Gerardo Bolaños G. is directed by Natalia Mariño, winner of Costa Rica's prestigious Premio Nacional a Mejor Dirección de Teatro. To read more, click here.

STAGE REVIEW: ‘The Great Society’ is powerful take on LBJ’s presidency

Playwright Robert Schenkkan has returned to his epic story of President Lyndon B. Johnson with “The Great Society,” a sequel to his play “All the Way” which garnered him a Tony Award for Best Play and Best Actor for Bryan Cranston. “The Great Society” is running at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center in New York and is directed by Bill Rauch. Schenkkan’s play is a cold, hard look at the price of compromise and how increased paranoia can turn a person ineffective. To read more, click here.

ATCA Critics Join Award Winners At NYC Conference

What will two Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwrights have to say to each other in a room full of critics about creating drama based on real-life characters and events? A conversation among Robert Schenkkan ("All the Way," "The Great Society," "The Kentucky Cycle"), Doug Wright ("I Am My Own Wife," "Quills," Grey Gardens") and director Bill Rauch will be featured the first morning of a three-day New York City conference of the American Theatre Critics Association that begins Friday. To read more, click here.

Hard talk: Broadway gets tough on America in crisis

It used to be argued that British drama is driven by a fascination with public affairs and its American counterpart by a preoccupation with private lives. On the evidence of a week’s intensive theatregoing in New York, I would suggest that hoary generalisation has been blown to smithereens. At a time of potential impeachment, political polarisation and profound uncertainty, American theatre seems to be heavily engaged with the wider world. To read more, click here.

The Great Society

Given the trauma of the current American presidency, it’s a welcome distraction to focus on another one.   Indeed, it’s therapeutic to be reminded that things were pretty precarious in other times, too. The Great Society, part two of Robert Schenkkan’s dramatic account of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s reign, covers the turbulent years from 1965-1968 (All The Way, part one, premiered in 2014). This fact-packed, fast-paced drama plays like a historical pageant, covering the political events of that momentous era. Schenkkan focuses on LBJ the progressive, pushing his legislation called “The Great Society” through Congress with the determination of a charging bull (an image LBJ refers to, early in the play).   His platform included civil rights, voting rights, Medicare/Medicaid, immigration and education reform, and a “War on Poverty” – signature programs that proved to be the landmark of his presidency. But always in the background – ever advancing – were other forces in play. The escalating Viet Nam war and growing racial violence soon eclipsed his tremendous legislative achievements, culminating in his ultimate decision not to run again in 1968. That moment plays like the denouement in a Shakespearean tragedy. To read more, click here.

Watch the Cast of Broadway’s The Great Society Sum Up the Play in a Political Slogan

When President Lyndon Baines Johnson ran to keep his Presidency in 1965, he ran on the campaign of “The Great Society,” a set of domestic programs intended to reshape life in the United States mainly by combating poverty and racial injustice. It was the summary of his agenda. The play that finds its name in the campaign promise officially opened October 1 at Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre, starring Succession’s Brian Cox as LBJ.Playbill asked the cast of The Great Society: If Robert Schenkkan’s play were to have a summarizing slogan, what would it be? To see the video, click here.

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