Grant Recipient Details

New Haven, CT
Project Title
Smooth Criminal
Fiscal Year Awarded
Grant or Program
New Work New England
Grant Amount

Smooth Criminal is an interactive hip-hop play about a nerdy white kid desperate to liberate his people – as soon as he can figure out who they are. Aaron tries to cure his dad's prejudice, Aaron's mom tries to cure this play’s inaccurate storytelling, the Black actors playing Aaron’s white parents try to cure the play’s centering of whiteness, and everyone tries to get Aaron to wait to write this play until after they’re dead. Smooth Criminal bumps and grinds the playwright’s race and class issues with the audience’s, using creative prompts built into the show. Marrying beatbox with the Scotch-Irish and Appalachian fiddle tunes of Aaron’s ancestors, Smooth Criminal’s score births a sound old as the links between whiteness and money, and new as the raw hearts beneath.

A white woman and a white man stand on either ends of a gurney.
photo by Paul Duda