Kentucky

Hiro is a self-made woman making it in New York. But she is also single, almost thirty, and estranged from her dysfunctional family who lives in Kentucky. When her little sister, a born-again Christian, decides to marry at twenty-two, Hiro takes it upon herself to do whatever she can to stop the wedding and salvage any shred of hope she had about her sister’s future. The themes of identity, religion, and love...
Hiro is a self-made woman making it in New York. But she is also single, almost thirty, and estranged from her dysfunctional family who lives in Kentucky. When her little sister, a born-again Christian, decides to marry at twenty-two, Hiro takes it upon herself to do whatever she can to stop the wedding and salvage any shred of hope she had about her sister’s future. The themes of identity, religion, and love collide in this unique coming-of-age story.

Note on casting: An alternative version of the play, adjusted for 9 actors (6F, 3M) is available for purchase in manuscript form through Dramatists Play Service upon request.
“KENTUCKY marks the full-length debut of a distinctive new voice—mouthy, sly and bourbon sweet, with the expected kick.” —The New York Times. “…the show’s voice is refreshing and witty…a fresh, affecting play…” —Time Out NY. “Leah Nanako Winkler has created a sort of millennial Odyssey…[KENTUCKY] has an antic, unruly spirit. Still, Winkler’s story is ultimately a serious one, about the commonplace nature of childhood trauma and the radically different paths people take to recovery.” —The New Yorker. “…exceptional…There is an excitement and charm to Nanako Winkler’s language…KENTUCKY has not only put Leah Nanako Winkler on the map but ensured her as an important player in contemporary theater.” —TheaterInTheNow.com.

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Kentucky

Recommended by

  • Rebecca Buckley:
    18 Jan. 2016
    The language and crafting of the theatrical elements allow you to slip, by degrees into the telling, the truth, until it feels like Kentucky could be your own story. No one is completely spared or shamed. Beautiful and exciting.
  • Adam Szymkowicz:
    2 Jul. 2015
    Terrific play.
  • Kari Bentley-Quinn:
    1 Jul. 2015
    This is by far one of my favorite plays I have read this year. It's a tale of going back home when you've been away for a long time and not fitting in - a familiar trope - but Leah uses her cultural background, her acerbic sense of humor, and her deft touch with the absurd to craft something very powerful, funny, sad, and true. I felt this play in my bones. It's ambition and craft cannot be overstated.

Development History

  • Workshop
    ,
    EST/Youngblood
    ,
    2014

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    Ensemble Studio Theatre/ Page 73 Productions/ Radio Drama Network
    ,
    2016
  • Professional
    ,
    East West Players
    ,
    2016