Cover art by Andrea Markowski

Mississippi Goddamn

Jonathan Norton
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M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, American Theater Critics Association, 2016


1963. Jackson, Mississippi. Robert-Earl Monroe wants Civil Rights Activist Medgar Evers off his once quiet street. But his plans are jeopardized when his sixteen-year-old daughter, Robbie, returns home from jail, newly politicized and eager to stand on the front lines of the Movement. Act Two jumps back in time to 1959, to the last time Medgar Evers set foot in the Monroe household for Robbie's 13th birthday. Battle lines are drawn — daughter against father, husband against wife, sister against sister, and neighbor against neighbor. MISSISSIPPI examines the tensions and complications within families and among neighbors in the years leading up to the 1963 assassination of Medgar Evers.

Production Info

Cast: 6 total (3 female, 3 male, doubling)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“Some shows have warnings for strobe lights. Some have them for loud gunshots. Some for smoke. MISSISSIPPI GODDAMN, a new play by Jonathan Norton, should have one for intensity. Granted, anyone attending a play about civil rights pioneer Medgar Evers set in 1963 Jackson, Mississippi, should expect some strife. Blood in the battle for racial equality is no surprise, but friendly fire is. Playwright Norton sets expectations on edge by focusing on the fight from the living room of the black neighbors next door to the Evers’ home … playwright Norton’s novel take in an unflinching pressure cooker … Considering the intensity, can you handle it? Considering the history, how can you not? Playwright Norton takes this historical kernel and creates a world in which only [an] adolescent youth pursues [an] idealistic aim and she does it with reckless abandon. Everyone else has the more measured concerns that come with growing up and growing comfortable: family, job and property. Their position tempers their pursuit of racial equality, so much so that the people he is championing perceive Evers as a threat. On this score, the play transcends race and asks, ‘At what cost, comfort?’ To that end, playwright Norton turns the comfortable environ against itself. With people driving by and knocks on the door, front and back, the middle class palace becomes a prison … In a risky playwriting move, Norton moves the action four years back in time. As confusing as it is, some of the mystery of the first act is preserved by reserving the backstory ’til the second. Patterns emerge but by inverting the sequence, it comes off as discovery instead of predictability. Call it ‘The Prequel Effect’ … The tension mounts terrifyingly. There’s even some visceral combat … There are some changes, though. The Evers, Medgar and Myrlie, who we heard so much about in the first act, make their first appearance in the second … The other great change is that Robbie is young and impressionable. As thrilling as the events of the second act are, a close second is watching the effect they have in forming her attitudes. It becomes its own play. This historical thriller is an ensemble achievement of the first order with long sequences building tension in both acts, but without its emotional base it would be a roller coaster ride that was fun for as long as you rode it and nothing more. Be among the first to see it, because it’s going places. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.” —David Novinski, TheaterJones

About the Author


  • Jonathan Norton

    Jonathan Norton's work has been produced or developed at Dallas Theater Center, PlayPenn, Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, TeCo Theatrical Productions, Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, Castillo Theatre, Soul Rep Theater Company, Nouveau 47, CrossOver Arts Theater, African American Repertory Theater, and the South Dallas Cultural Center. His play Mississippi Goddamn was a finalist for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg ATCA New Play Award, and was the winner of the 2016 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award. He was also a recipient of an Artistic Innovations Grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance. He is also a proud two-time recipient of the Diaspora Performing Arts Commission given by the South Dallas Cultural Center, an inaugural recipient of the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund, and was a Finalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. He was an inaugural member of Dallas Theater Center's Dallas Playwrights Workshop led by Will Power.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 4/17/2018
Pages 102
ISBN 9780881457728

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

MISSISSIPPI GODDAMN was commissioned by
the Diaspora Performing Arts Commissioning Program,
a project of the South Dallas Cultural Center

MISSISSIPPI GODDAMN received its World Premiere
by South Dallas Cultural Center (Producer, Vicki Meek)
on 19 February 2015

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Mississippi Goddamn is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


5/13/2022 – 6/5/2022
Playhouse On The Square
Memphis, TN


1/19/2024 – 1/28/2024
Biloxi Little Theatre
Biloxi, MS