Pulitzer Prize for Drama

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The Pulitzer Prize for Drama is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It is one of the original Pulitzers, for the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year.[1] (No Drama prize was given, however, so that one was inaugurated in 1918, in a sense.)[2] It recognizes a theatrical work staged in the U.S. during the preceding calendar year.

Through 2006 the Drama Prize was unlike the majority of the other Pulitzer Prizes: during these years, the eligibility period for the drama prize ran from March 1 to March 2, to reflect the Broadway 'season' rather than the calendar year. The decision was made, however, that the 2007 Prize would consider works staged during an eligibility period of January 1 to December 31, 2006—thus bringing the schedule for the Drama Prize in line with those of the other prizes.

The drama jury, which consists of one academic and four critics, attends plays in New York and in regional theaters. The Pulitzer board has the authority to overrule the jury's choice, however, as happened in 1986 when the jury chose the CIVIL warS to receive the prize, but due to the board's opposition no award was given.

In 1955 Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. pressured the prize jury into presenting the Prize to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which the jury considered the weakest of the five shortlisted nominees ("amateurishly constructed... from the stylistic points of view annoyingly pretentious"), instead of Clifford Odets' The Flowering Peach (their preferred choice) or The Bad Seed, their second choice.[3] Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was selected for the 1963 Pulitzer Prize for Drama by that award's committee. However, the committee's selection was overruled by the award's advisory board, the trustees of Columbia University, because of the play's then-controversial use of profanity and sexual themes. Had Albee been awarded, he would be tied with Eugene O'Neill for the most Pulitzer Prizes for Drama (four).

Awards and nominations[edit]

In its first 98 years to 2013, the Drama Pulitzer was awarded 82 times; none were given in 15 different years and it was never split.

The most recipients of the prize in one year was five, when Michael Bennett, James Kirkwood, Jr., Nicholas Dante, Marvin Hamlisch, and Edward Kleban shared the 1976 prize for the musical A Chorus Line.[2]

† marks winners of the Tony Award for Best Play.
* marks winners of the Tony Award for Best Musical.

1910s[edit]

Year Production Author
1917
no award[1] N/A
1918
Why Marry? Jesse Lynch Williams
1919
no award N/A

1920s[edit]

Year Production Author
1920
Beyond the Horizon Eugene O'Neill
1921
Miss Lulu Bett Zona Gale
1922
Anna Christie Eugene O'Neill
1923
Icebound Owen Davis
1924
Hell-Bent Fer Heaven Hatcher Hughes
1925
They Knew What They Wanted Sidney Howard
1926
Craig's Wife George Kelly
1927
In Abraham's Bosom Paul Green
1928
Strange Interlude Eugene O'Neill
1929
Street Scene Elmer Rice

1930s[edit]

Year Production Author
1930
The Green Pastures Marc Connelly
1931
Alison's House Susan Glaspell
1932
Of Thee I Sing George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, Ira Gershwin
1933
Both Your Houses Maxwell Anderson
1934
Men in White Sidney Kingsley
1935
The Old Maid Zoë Akins
1936
Idiot's Delight Robert E. Sherwood
1937
You Can't Take It with You Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman
1938
Our Town Thornton Wilder
1939
Abe Lincoln in Illinois Robert E. Sherwood

1940s[edit]

Year Production Author
1940
The Time of Your Life William Saroyan
1941
There Shall Be No Night Robert E. Sherwood
1942
no award N/A
1943
The Skin of Our Teeth Thornton Wilder
1944
no award N/A
1945
Harvey Mary Coyle Chase
1946
State of the Union Russel Crouse, Howard Lindsay
1947
no award N/A
1948
A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams
1949
Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller

1950s[edit]

Year Production Author
1950
South Pacific* Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Joshua Logan
1951
no award N/A
1952
The Shrike Joseph Kramm
1953
Picnic William Inge
1954
The Teahouse of the August Moon John Patrick
1955
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Tennessee Williams
1956
The Diary of Anne Frank Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich
1957
Long Day's Journey into Night Eugene O'Neill
1958
Look Homeward, Angel Ketti Frings
1959
J.B. Archibald MacLeish

1960s[edit]

Year Production Author
1960
Fiorello!* Jerome Weidman, George Abbott, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick
1961
All the Way Home Tad Mosel
1962
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying* Frank Loesser and Abe Burrows
1963
no award[4] N/A
1964
no award N/A
1965
The Subject Was Roses Frank D. Gilroy
1966
no award N/A
1967
A Delicate Balance Edward Albee
1968
no award N/A
1969
The Great White Hope Howard Sackler

1970s[edit]

Year Production Author
1970
No Place to Be Somebody Charles Gordone
1971
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds Paul Zindel
1972
no award N/A
1973
That Championship Season Jason Miller
1974
no award N/A
1975
Seascape Edward Albee
1976
A Chorus Line* Michael Bennett, Nicholas Dante and James Kirkwood, Jr., Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban
1977
The Shadow Box Michael Cristofer
1978
The Gin Game Donald L. Coburn
1979
Buried Child Sam Shepard

1980s[edit]

Year Production Author
1980
Talley's Folly Lanford Wilson
1981
Crimes of the Heart Beth Henley
1982
A Soldier's Play Charles Fuller
1983
'night, Mother Marsha Norman
True West Sam Shepard
1984
Glengarry Glen Ross David Mamet
Fool for Love Sam Shepard
Painting Churches Tina Howe
1985
Sunday in the Park with George James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim
The Dining Room A. R. Gurney
The Gospel at Colonus Lee Breuer, Bob Telson
1986
no award N/A
1987
Fences August Wilson
Broadway Bound Neil Simon
A Walk in the Woods Lee Blessing
1988
Driving Miss Daisy Alfred Uhry
Boy's Life Howard Korder
Talk Radio Eric Bogosian
1989
The Heidi Chronicles Wendy Wasserstein
Joe Turner's Come and Gone August Wilson
M. Butterfly David Henry Hwang

1990s[edit]

Year Production Author
1990
The Piano Lesson August Wilson
And What of the Night? María Irene Fornés
Love Letters A. R. Gurney
1991
Lost in Yonkers Neil Simon
Prelude to a Kiss Craig Lucas
Six Degrees of Separation John Guare
1992
The Kentucky Cycle Robert Schenkkan
Conversations with My Father Herb Gardner
Miss Evers' Boys David Feldshuh
Two Trains Running August Wilson
Sight Unseen Donald Margulies
1993
Angels in America: Millennium Approaches Tony Kushner
The Destiny of Me Larry Kramer
Fires in the Mirror Anna Deavere Smith
1994
Three Tall Women Edward Albee
Keely and Du Jane Martin
A Perfect Ganesh Terrence McNally
1995
The Young Man from Atlanta Horton Foote
The Cryptogram David Mamet
Seven Guitars August Wilson
1996
Rent* Jonathan Larson
A Fair Country Jon Robin Baitz
Old Wicked Songs Jon Marans
1997
no award N/A
Collected Stories Donald Margulies
The Last Night of Ballyhoo Alfred Uhry
Pride's Crossing Tina Howe
1998
How I Learned to Drive Paula Vogel
Freedomland Amy Freed
Three Days of Rain Richard Greenberg
1999
Wit Margaret Edson
Running Man Cornelius Eady and Diedre Murray
Side Man Warren Leight

2000s[edit]

Year Production Author
2000
Dinner with Friends Donald Margulies
In the Blood Suzan-Lori Parks
King Hedley II August Wilson
2001
Proof David Auburn
The Play About the Baby Edward Albee
The Waverly Gallery Kenneth Lonergan
2002
Topdog/Underdog Suzan-Lori Parks
The Glory of Living Rebecca Gilman
Yellowman Dael Orlandersmith
2003
Anna in the Tropics Nilo Cruz
The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? Edward Albee
Take Me Out Richard Greenberg
2004
I Am My Own Wife Doug Wright
Man from Nebraska Tracy Letts
Omnium Gatherum Theresa Rebeck and Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros
2005
Doubt: A Parable John Patrick Shanley
The Clean House Sarah Ruhl
Thom Pain (based on nothing) Will Eno
2006
no award N/A
Miss Witherspoon Christopher Durang
The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow Rolin Jones
Red Light Winter Adam Rapp
2007
Rabbit Hole David Lindsay-Abaire
Bulrusher Eisa Davis
Orpheus X Rinde Eckert
Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue Quiara Alegría Hudes
2008
August: Osage County Tracy Letts
Dying City Christopher Shinn
Yellow Face David Henry Hwang
2009
Ruined Lynn Nottage
Becky Shaw Gina Gionfriddo
In the Heights* Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes

2010s[edit]

Year Production Author
2010
Next to Normal Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo Rajiv Joseph
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity Kristoffer Diaz
In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) Sarah Ruhl
2011
Clybourne Park Bruce Norris
Detroit Lisa D'Amour
A Free Man of Color John Guare
2012
Water by the Spoonful Quiara Alegría Hudes
Other Desert Cities Jon Robin Baitz
Sons of the Prophet Stephen Karam
2013
Disgraced Ayad Akhtar
Rapture, Blister, Burn Gina Gionfriddo
4000 Miles Amy Herzog
2014
The Flick Annie Baker
The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence Madeleine George
Fun Home* Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron
2015
Between Riverside and Crazy Stephen Adly Guirgis
Marjorie Prime Jordan Harrison
Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2, 3) Suzan-Lori Parks
2016
Hamilton* Lin-Manuel Miranda
The Humans Stephen Karam
Gloria Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
2017
Sweat Lynn Nottage
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music Taylor Mac
The Wolves Sarah DeLappe
2018
Cost of Living Martyna Majok
Everybody Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
The Minutes Tracy Letts
2019
Fairview Jackie Sibblies Drury
Dance Nation Clare Barron
What the Constitution Means to Me Heidi Schreck

Musicals[edit]

Nine musicals have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, roughly one per decade from the 1930s to the 2010s¹. They are: George and Ira Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing (1932), Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific (1950), Bock & Harnick's Fiorello! (1960), Frank Loesser's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962), Marvin Hamlisch, Edward Kleban, James Kirkwood, Jr., and Nicholas Dante's A Chorus Line (1976), Stephen Sondheim's and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George (1985), Jonathan Larson's Rent (1996), Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt's Next to Normal (2010), and Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton (2016).

Of Thee I Sing, Sunday in the Park with George, and Next to Normal are the only musicals that won the Pulitzer Prize and did not win the Tony Award for Best Musical. However, Of Thee I Sing opened when the Tony Awards did not exist, and Next to Normal won the Tony Award for Best Original Score and the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations.[5]

The award goes to the playwright, although production of the play is also taken into account. In the case of a musical being awarded the prize, the composer, lyricist and book writer are generally the recipients. An exception to this was the first Pulitzer ever awarded to a musical: when Of Thee I Sing won in 1932, book authors George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, as well as lyricist Ira Gershwin, were cited as the winners, while composer George Gershwin's contribution was overlooked by the committee. The reason given was that the Pulitzer Prize for Drama is a dramatic award, and not a musical one. However, by 1950 the Pulitzer committee included composer Richard Rodgers as a recipient when South Pacific won the award, in recognition of music as an integral and important part of the theatrical experience.[6]

Additionally, since 1983, when the identity of finalists was first disclosed, four musicals have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. They are: Lee Breuer and Bob Telson's The Gospel at Colonus (1985); Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes' In the Heights (2009); Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron's Fun Home (2014); and Taylor Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (2017).[2]

¹All listed dates are Prize years. Generally, the musical in question opened in New York during either the preceding calendar year or the preceding Broadway season.

Multiple wins and nominations[edit]

Lynn Nottage is the only female playwright to win the prize twice. She and August Wilson are the only playwrights of color to accomplish this feat.

Jon Robin Baitz, Gina Gionfriddo, John Guare, A.R. Gurney, Richard Greenberg, Tina Howe, David Henry Hwang, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Stephen Karam, and Sarah Ruhl have each been named finalists twice without winning. Lin-Manuel Miranda is the only person to be named either a finalist or winner twice for writing and composing a musical.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "1917 Winners". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
  2. ^ a b c "Drama". The Pulitzer Prizes (pulitzer.org). Retrieved 2013-12-20.
  3. ^ Fischer, Heinz-Dietrich & Erika J. Fischer. The Pulitzer Prize Archive: A History and Anthology of Award-Winning Materials in Journalism, Letters, and Arts München: K.G. Saur, 2008. ISBN 3-598-30170-7 ISBN 9783598301704 p. 246
  4. ^ The Pulitzer committee recommended Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? *, but the Pulitzer board, who have sole discretion in awarding the prize, rejected the recommendation, due to the play's perceived vulgarity, and no award was given instead.
      Klein, Alvin. "Albee's 'Tiny Alice,' The Whole Enchilada". The New York Times. May 24, 1998: CT11.
  5. ^ Next to Normal at the Internet Broadway Database
  6. ^ Flinn, Denny Martin. Musical! A Grand Tour. Schirmer, first edition (April 17, 1997), pages 230–31. ISBN 0-02-864610-X

External links[edit]