Charles McNulty goes public re: the Pulitzer Surprise:
Buried in Monday's announcement of the 2010 Pulitzer winners was the news that the board that, in effect, decides these matters had been up to its old tricks with the drama award. In honoring "Next to Normal," Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's musical about a household grappling with a mother's mental illness, the mandarins at Columbia University's journalism school, where the prizes are administrated, ignored the advice of its drama jury in favor of its own sentiments.Read on.
It's a familiar story, but as chair of this year's jury [...] I can't help being ticked off. Two points, in particular, rankle: the blinkered New York mentality and the failure to appreciate new directions in playwriting. The board had an opportunity to correct these long-standing shortcomings, and it blew it.
In an era in which important new dramatic works rarely get their start in New York, the board's geographical myopia, a vision of the American theater that starts in Times Square and ends just a short taxi ride away is especially disheartening. Does anyone really believe that "Next to Normal" would have been chosen had it been submitted when it was at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.?
Among the nuggets of info: Pulitzer Board does get a majority up-or-down vote on the final prize for each category, and it just so happens the Clintons were among that "crazy" musical's biggest fans.