Erik Carter—The New York Times/Redux

When I saw Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer-winning play Topdog/Underdog in 2001, I thought, “This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. If I ever get a chance to work with her, I’ll be in a good place.”

Over a decade later, my time playing Hero in her Odyssey-inspired play Father Comes Home From the Wars confirmed my suspicions. Working with her was an absolute joy—she’s an artist of the highest passion. She puts everything of herself into everything that she does.

Suzan-Lori is a playwright who thrives on collaboration; she’s not trying to force people like pawns on a chessboard. She’s looking for a visceral reaction to her words, and if they don’t fully land, she goes back to the drawing board until those words impact her soul and the souls of her collaborators.

She’s now performing in her pandemic-fueled Plays for the Plague Year, and her musical adaptation of the 1972 film The Harder They Come just had its premiere in February. The theater world knows Suzan-Lori exceptionally well, but the world at large should recognize the genius that she is. She should be a household name.

Brown is a producer and Emmy-winning actor

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