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A Triple Crown for Northwestern

An anthology of plays revolves around “Clybourne Park,” “Raisin in the Sun”

EVANSTON, Ill. --- It was something of a triple crown for Northwestern University when “Clybourne Park” playwright Bruce Norris snagged the Tony Award for Best Play on Sunday (June 10).

Not only is Norris a graduate of Northwestern’s School of Communication. His 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning and now 2012 Tony Award-winning drama is part of an anthology of four plays published by Northwestern University Press. And that anthology, “Reimagining A Raisin in the Sun,” is co-edited by Harvey Young, associate professor of theatre.

Just this week theatre critic Hilton Als described “Reimagining A Raisin in the Sun” as a “solid and smart collection” in The New Yorker magazine. Young says Norris’s playwriting is reminiscent of an earlier generation of playwrights including David Mamet and even Eugene O’Neill.

“Although Norris’s plays touch on more taboo issues and seek to create discomfort in the audience, they similarly and skillfully move the drama forward through dialogue, not action,” says Young. “And they demonstrate a masterful control of language evident in the many moments when three, four or five characters speak almost simultaneously.” 

“Reimagining A Raisin in the Sun,” co-edited by Rebecca Rugg, includes interviews with Norris and contemporary playwrights Gloria Bond Clunie, Robert O’Hara and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. All of them discuss the ways in which “A Raisin in the Sun” author Lorraine Hansberry influenced their writing.

Young is not surprised by Norris’s success. “He intimately knows the beliefs, expectations and even prejudices of mainstream, especially Broadway, theatre audiences,” Young says. “And while not written as a crowd pleaser or blockbuster, ‘Clybourne Park’ was crafted to speak to the sensibilities of the contemporary theatregoer.” 

For more about “Clybourne Park, visit For more about the anthology “Reimagining A Raisin in the Sun,” visit

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