Audra McDonald Sets Broadway Return In Adrienne Kennedy’s ‘Ohio State Murders’; Kenny Leon Will Direct

McDonald, Leon Allison Michael Orenstein/Production

Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald will return to Broadway in Ohio State Murders by Adrienne Kennedy, the acclaimed playwright who will be making her Broadway debut at age 90. Kenny Leon will direct.

Kennedy, whose plays over the last six decades have included such Off Broadway Obie Award winners as Funnyhouse of a Negro, June and Jean in Concert and Sleep Deprivation Chamber, said in a statement, “I am so thrilled. It’s only taken me 65 years to make it to Broadway!”

Kennedy was honored in 2008 with an Obie Lifetime Achievement Award, and she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2018.


Production dates, casting and the creative team will be announced in the coming months. The producing team is led by Jeffrey Richards, Rebecca Gold, Jayne Baron Sherman and Irene Gandy.

Producers describe Ohio State Murders as “an unusual look at the destructiveness of racism in the United States.” The synopsis: When Suzanne Alexander (McDonald), a Black writer, returns to Ohio State University to talk about the violence in her writing, a dark mystery unravels.

McDonald starred in a live stream reading of Ohio State Murders last June as part of the Spotlight On Plays series. The play was originally commissioned by Great Lakes Theater Festival and published in 1992, making its New York premiere in 2007 at Theater for a New Audience.

Among McDonald’s Broadway credits are Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.

Director Leon’s Broadway credits include American Son, Children of a Lesser God, Holler If Ya Hear Me, A Raisin in the Sun and last year’s Tony Award-winning A Soldier’s Play starring Blair Underwood and David Alan Grier.

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