22 Facts About Adrienne Kennedy


Adrienne Kennedy was born on September 13,1931 and is an American playwright.


Adrienne Kennedy is best known for Funnyhouse of a Negro, which premiered in 1964 and won an Obie Award.


In 2022, Kennedy received the Gold Medal for Drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; given every six years, it has been awarded to only 16 people, including Eugene O'Neill.


Adrienne Kennedy has been contributing to American theater since the early 1960s, influencing generations of playwrights with her haunting, fragmentary lyrical dramas.


Adrienne Kennedy is noted for the use of surrealism in her plays, which are often plotless and symbolic, drawing on mythical, historical, and imaginary figures to depict and explore the African-American experience.


Adrienne Kennedy was born Adrienne Lita Hawkins on September 13,1931, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Adrienne Kennedy's mother, Etta Hawkins, was a teacher, and her father, Cornell Wallace Hawkins, was a social worker.


Adrienne Kennedy spent most of her childhood in Cleveland, Ohio, attending Cleveland public schools.


Adrienne Kennedy grew up in an integrated neighborhood and did not experience much racism until attending college at Ohio State University.


Adrienne Kennedy admired actors like Orson Welles and began to focus on theater during her teenage years.


Adrienne Kennedy married Joseph Kennedy on May 15,1953, a month after graduating from Ohio State, and the couple had two children, Joseph Jr.


Adrienne Kennedy has taught or lectured at Yale University, Princeton University, Brown University, University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University, Stanford University, New York University, and University of California, Davis.


Much of Adrienne Kennedy's work is based on her lived experience.


In 2022, Adrienne Kennedy made her Broadway debut with the opening of her 1992 play Ohio State Murders at the James Earl Jones Theatre on December 8, starring Audra McDonald, with its last performance taking place on January 15,2023.


Adrienne Kennedy won several awards for her plays, including a Stanley Drama Award from the New York City Writers Conference at Wagner College, two Village Voice Obie Awards.


Adrienne Kennedy was honored at the 2008 Obie Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award.


Adrienne Kennedy was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 1967, Rockefeller Foundation grants in 1967 and again in 1970, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1972, the Creative Artists Public Service grant in 1974, the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, and the Pierre Lecomte du Nouy Award.


Adrienne Kennedy received the Third Annual Manhattan Borough President's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1988.


In 1994, Adrienne Kennedy won the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Writers' Award and an American Academy of Arts and Letters award in Literature.


In 2003, Adrienne Kennedy was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature by her undergraduate alma mater, Ohio State University.


From 1964's Funnyhouse of a Negro to 2018's He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box, Adrienne Kennedy has inspired countless young writers by remaining true to herself and her voice, knowing that what she had to say would resonate.


In 2022, Adrienne Kennedy was awarded the Gold Medal for Drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.