The Playgoer: Pulitzer goes to "Ruined"

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Pulitzer goes to "Ruined"

Pulitzers are out. And as many predicted...

For a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to “Ruined,” by Lynn Nottage, a searing drama set in chaotic Congo that compels audiences to face the horror of wartime rape and brutality while still finding affirmation of life and hope amid hopelessness.

The Runners Up?
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Becky Shaw,” by Gina Gionfriddo, a jarring comedy that examines family and romantic relationships with a lacerating wit while eschewing easy answers and pat resolutions; and “In The Heights,” by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes, a robust musical about struggling Latino immigrants in New York City today that celebrates the virtues of sacrifice, family solidarity and gritty optimism.
I never got to see "Becky Shaw" but it seemed to be a favorite as well. Perhaps "In The Heights" will catch some flack, but on the merits I'm all for it! (One day I hope to write about Quiara Alegria Hudes' subtle contributions to the texture of the book.) But on the other hand...wasn't that 2007???

Oh, and I thought Ruined was pretty good, too. And one day I hope to write about that.

Damn it, someone pay me to do this already!

PS. Pulitzer Drama Jury was:
  • Dominic Papatola, theater critic, St. Paul Pioneer Press (chair)
  • John M. Clum, chair, department of theater studies, Duke University
  • Jim Hebert, theater critic, San Diego (CA) Union-Tribune
  • David Henry Hwang, playwright, Brooklyn, NY
  • Linda Winer, theater critic, Newsday


Playgoer said...

Two notable things about the Ruined choice right off the bat:

1) Yet again, a play won the prize without having to play on Broadway.

2) The subject is NOT "American life"! (Being about the Congo and all.) So, nice to see them expanding the criteria finally.

Esther said...

It's not unprecedented for a play set outside the United States to win the Pulitzer. I was looking through a list of past recipients and saw that "The Diary of Anne Frank" won in 1956.

It is interesting about not playing on Broadway, though. I don't think "Driving Miss Daisy" or "Wit" had Broadway runs either, which surprised me.

Seth Christenfeld said...

Wit almost had a Broadway run--the producers wanted to move it to the Helen Hayes, but IIRC, Marty Markinson rejected them and booked Band in Berlin instead.