Professor's Play Receives Another Prestigious Honor

Jun. 7, 2013

Professor's Play Receives Another Prestigious Honor

ST. LOUIS, June 7, 2013 - A student in a college creative writing class writes a story about a student, much like himself, who brings a gun to class and begins shooting his classmates and instructor, much like the actual people in the class. Fearful that the story is a blueprint for a real shooting, the instructor alerts university officials and tries to have the student removed from her class. But the student fights back. He argues she is trying to censor his freedom of speech, and that she is biased against him. The instructor is soon on the defensive. Her career and her reputation are on the line. Has she overreacted? Or is there something deeper, more dangerous lurking here?

That's the synopsis of Webster University English Professor Michael Erickson's play, “Honor Student,” which has garnered several prestigious theatre awards. Most recently,     “Honor Student” was one of only five plays selected out of hundreds of entries to be featured at the 27th Annual International Playwriting Festival in June at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, which is south of London. Erickson, who joined Webster in 1994, teaches playwriting and dramatic literature at the University's Webster Groves home campus.

Exploring the timely topic of school gun violence, Erickson's play was developed while he was playwright-in-residence at the Tennessee Repertory Theatre in Nashville, Tenn., for the 2011-2012 season. 

“Honor Student” was one of 10 finalists for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award, which is sponsored by the Newman's Own Foundation to remember the many great dramas that Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman performed in together. It also was selected for development and a public reading at the Great Plains Theater Conference and won the 2013 Coe College National Playwriting Contest.

Erickson has written more than two dozen plays. His work has been produced at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Dance Theatre Workshop and Via Theatre in New York; A Director's Theatre in Los Angeles; and the Imaginary Theatre Co. (St. Louis Repertory Theatre) in St. Louis, among others. He is a graduate of the MFA Theatre Program at the University of California, San Diego.