How Adrienne Kennedy influenced generations of Black writers

It is an indictment of our theater that a playwright who has inspired artists across generations is so little known to the average theatergoer. Sadly, Adrienne Kennedy, the 89-year-old African American dramatic poet, whose 1964 play “Funnyhouse of a Negro” is a touchstone of 20th century American drama, is more revered than she is produced.

Her name provokes rapturous tributes from other writers. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, one of the most talented dramatists to have emerged in the last 10…

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