Produced in association with McCarter Theatre Center

Hailed as “American theatre’s greatest and least compromising experimentalist” (New York Times), Adrienne Kennedy is one of the most prolific and widely studied living playwrights. Since bursting onto the scene in 1964 with Funnyhouse of a Negro, Kennedy’s enthralling lyrical dramas have influenced generations of storytellers, from Suzan-Lori Parks to Robert O’Hara, Shonda Rhimes to Jeremy O. Harris. Despite her outsized influence, three Obie Awards, and induction into the Theater Hall of Fame, Adrienne Kennedy is not a household name. This festival is a celebration of why she should be. Round House shines a light on four deeply personal stories from Kennedy’s astonishing body of work with virtual theatrical experiences and dynamic conversations, offering audiences the opportunity to discover Kennedy’s singular voice—a startling mix of the surreal with the all too real. 

TICKETS: Patrons may purchase a full festival pass for all four plays and pay no handling fees, or may purchase tickets to individual events below. (All panel discussions are free, no tickets required.)

Technical questions about viewing this performance? Check out our FAQs for answers to many common questions.

NOTE: Plays were released weekly beginning in November 2020 and are available to view on demand through April 30, 2021.

The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration & Influence is sponsored by The RPM Fund.


He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box
By Adrienne Kennedy | Directed by Nicole A. Watson
Now streaming on demand
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He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box  is sponsored by Jay & Robin Hammer.

Sleep Deprivation Chamber
By Adam P. Kennedy and Adrienne Kennedy | Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell
Now streaming on demand 
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Sleep Deprivation Chamber is sponsored by Elaine Kotell Binder & Richard Binder.
Ohio State Murders
By Adrienne Kennedy | Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
Now streaming on demand 
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Ohio State Murders is sponsored by Bruce & Ann Lane.

Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side
By Adrienne Kennedy | Directed by Timothy Douglas
Now streaming on demand | World Premiere
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Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side is sponsored by Susan Gilbert & Ron Schechter.



Award-winning playwright, lecturer, and author Adrienne Kennedy was born in Pittsburgh in 1931 and attended Ohio State University. Her plays include Funnyhouse of a Negro (Obie Award), June and Jean in Concert (Obie Award), A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and WhiteA Rat's MassThe Owl AnswersMotherhood 2000Electra and Orestes (adaptation), She Talks to BeethovenAn Evening with Dead EssexA Lesson in a Dead Language, and The Lennon Play.  She is the recipient of an Obie Award for Sleep Deprivation Chamber,  which she co-authored with her son Adam. It premiered at the Public Theater and was produced by Signature Theatre Company, which devoted an entire season to Ms. Kennedy's work. Other awards include a Guggenheim award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, the American Book Award for 1990, and induction into the Theater Hall of Fame. Her published works include In One ActAlexander Plays, and Deadly Triplets,  all published by University of Minnesota Press, and People Who Led to My Plays (a memoir), originally published by Knopf and now in paperback by Theatre Communications Group, which will also publish He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box and Other Plays  in fall of 2020. Her plays are taught in colleges throughout the country, in Europe, India, and Africa. She has been a visiting lecturer at Yale University, New York University, and University of California at Berkeley, where she was Chancellor's Distinguished Lecturer in 1980 and 1986. She was also commissioned to write plays for Jerome Robbins, the Public Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Juilliard School, and the Royal Court in England. Ms. Kennedy has lived in Africa, Italy, and London and last fall was a visiting professor in Harvard University's English Department.

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