Pulitzer Prize for Drama

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.

Until 2007, eligibility for the Drama Prize ran from March 1 to March 2 to reflect the Broadway "season" rather than the calendar year that governed most other Pulitzer Prizes.

The drama jury, which consists of one academic and four critics, attends plays in New York and in regional theaters. The Pulitzer board can overrule the jury's choice; in 1986, the board's opposition to the jury's choice of the CIVIL warS resulted in no award being given.[3]

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.[4] 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 106 years to 2022, the Drama Pulitzer was awarded 91 times; none were given in 15 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]

Notes edit

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

1910s edit

Year Production Author
no award[1]
Why Marry? Jesse Lynch Williams
no award

1920s edit

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

1930s edit

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

1940s edit

Year Production Author
The Time of Your Life William Saroyan
There Shall Be No Night Robert E. Sherwood
no award
The Skin of Our Teeth Thornton Wilder
no award[5]
Harvey Mary Coyle Chase
State of the Union Russel Crouse, Howard Lindsay
no award
A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams
Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller

1950s edit

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

1960s edit

Year Production Author
Fiorello!* Jerome Weidman, George Abbott, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick
All the Way Home Tad Mosel
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying* Frank Loesser and Abe Burrows
no award[6]
no award
The Subject Was Roses Frank D. Gilroy
no award
A Delicate Balance Edward Albee
no award
The Great White Hope Howard Sackler

1970s edit

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

1980s edit

Year Production Author
Talley's Folly Lanford Wilson
Crimes of the Heart Beth Henley
A Soldier's Play Charles Fuller
'night, Mother Marsha Norman
True West Sam Shepard
Glengarry Glen Ross David Mamet
Fool for Love Sam Shepard
Painting Churches Tina Howe
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
no award[Note 1]
the CIVIL warS: a tree is best measured when it is down Robert Wilson
Fences August Wilson
Broadway Bound Neil Simon
A Walk in the Woods Lee Blessing
Driving Miss Daisy Alfred Uhry
Boy's Life Howard Korder
Talk Radio Eric Bogosian
The Heidi Chronicles Wendy Wasserstein
The Piano Lesson August Wilson
M. Butterfly David Henry Hwang

1990s edit

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

2000s edit

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

2010s edit

Year Production Author
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
Clybourne Park Bruce Norris
Detroit Lisa D'Amour
A Free Man of Color John Guare
Water by the Spoonful Quiara Alegría Hudes
Other Desert Cities Jon Robin Baitz
Sons of the Prophet Stephen Karam
Disgraced Ayad Akhtar
Rapture, Blister, Burn Gina Gionfriddo
4000 Miles Amy Herzog
The Flick Annie Baker
The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence Madeleine George
Fun Home* Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron
Between Riverside and Crazy Stephen Adly Guirgis
Marjorie Prime Jordan Harrison
Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2, 3) Suzan-Lori Parks
Hamilton* Lin-Manuel Miranda
The Humans Stephen Karam
Gloria Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Sweat Lynn Nottage
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music Taylor Mac
The Wolves Sarah DeLappe
Cost of Living Martyna Majok
Everybody Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
The Minutes Tracy Letts
Fairview Jackie Sibblies Drury
Dance Nation Clare Barron
What the Constitution Means to Me Heidi Schreck

2020s edit

Year Production Author Ref
A Strange Loop* Michael R. Jackson
Heroes of the Fourth Turning Will Arbery
Soft Power David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori
The Hot Wing King Katori Hall [7]
Circle Jerk Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley
Stew Zora Howard
Fat Ham James Ijames [8]
Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord Kristina Wong
Selling Kabul Sylvia Khoury
English Sanaz Toossi [9]
On Sugarland Aleshea Harris
The Far Country Lloyd Suh

Notes edit

  1. ^ The Nominating Jury acknowledged their first choice, 'The Civil Wars', was unconventional and "not a play in any traditional sense of the word". The only other option they offered was Hannah and Her Sisters by Woody Allen, which they realized was not a traditional nominee for a drama award, due to it being a film, but thought they would "raise the question of... eligibility" anyways

Musicals edit

Ten musicals have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, roughly one per decade from the 1930s to the 2020s¹. 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), Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton (2016), and Michael R. Jackson's A Strange Loop (2020). Though it did not win for Drama, Oklahoma! was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 1944.

Of note, South Pacific won the 1950 Pulitzer for Drama but its source material, James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, also won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Sunday in the Park with George and Next to Normal are the only musicals that won the Pulitzer Prize and did not also win the Tony Award for Best Musical; the latter won the authors Tonys for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations.[10] Of Thee I Sing opened before the Tony Awards existed.

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.[11]

Additionally, since 1983, when the identity of finalists was first disclosed, five 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); Taylor Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (2017); and David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori's Soft Power (2020).[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, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Stephen Karam, Sarah Ruhl and Jeanine Tesori have each been named finalists twice without winning. David Henry Hwang is the only person to have been named a finalist thrice without winning. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeanine Tesori are the only people to be named as a finalist twice for writing and composing a musical, with Miranda winning in 2016.

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. ^ "Pulitzer Prize". Broadway Scene.
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Although no Drama award was given in 1944, that year Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were presented with a Special Award and Citation for the landmark musical Oklahoma!
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "THE HOT WING KING Wins the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Drama". Broadway World.
  8. ^ 2022 Pulitzer Prizes
  9. ^ 2023 Pulitzer Prizes
  10. ^ ​Next to Normal​ at the Internet Broadway Database
  11. ^ Flinn, Denny Martin. Musical! A Grand Tour. Schirmer, first edition (April 17, 1997), pages 230–31. ISBN 0-02-864610-X

External links edit