From Rent to A Streetcar Named Desire, A Look at This Season's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Shows

News   From Rent to A Streetcar Named Desire, A Look at This Season's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Shows
 
With speculation surrounding the possible recipient of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Playbill.com offers a look at the Pulitzer Prize-winning musicals and plays that were revived this season in New York.

From the rock opera Rent, which returned to New York three years after its Broadway close, to A Streetcar Named Desire, which is re-envisioned for Broadway with a multi-ethnic cast, here is an overview of the eight Pulitzer Prize-winning shows that were seen on New York stages this season.

We've also included a look ahead at two Pulitzer-winning plays, Harvey and Picnic, that will open in the 2012-13 season. (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, a 2011 Tony nominee, was also a Pulitzer Prize winner. The musical, which opened last season, continues at Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre and stars singer-songwriter Nick Jonas).

Read more about all of the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays and musicals in the Playbill Vault.

Show: Rent
Theatre: New World Stages
Preview: July 14, 2011
Opening: Aug. 11, 2011
Closing: Open-ended
Creators: Book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson. Direction by Michael Greif.
Original Principal Cast: Adam Chanler-Berat as Mark Cohen, Annaleigh Ashford as Maureen Johnson, Nicholas Christopher as Tom Collins, Arianda Fernandez as Mimi Marquez, Corbin Reid as Joanna Jefferson, Michael Rodriguez as Angel Schunard, Matt Shingledecker as Roger Davis and Ephraim Sykes as Benjamin Coffin III.
Pulitzer-Winning Production: Rent opened at the Nederlander Theatre in April 1996 following an acclaimed run Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop. Directed by Greif, the cast featured Anthony Rapp as Mark Cohen, Adam Pascal as Roger Davis, Taye Diggs as Benjamin Coffin III, Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Angel Schunard, Jesse L. Martin as Tom Collins, Idina Menzel as Maureen Johnson, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Mimi Marquez and Fredi Walker as Joanne Jefferson.
Synopsis: In Rent, a group of bohemian artists, many of whom live with AIDS, struggle to maintain their friendships and their non-conformist ideals in New York's East Village.

Check out photos from opening night.

Read more about the original Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Rent in the Playbill Vault.

Watch highlights from the production:

Show: Wit
Theatre: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Preview: Jan. 5, 2012
Opening: Jan. 26, 2012
Closing: March 17, 2012
Creators: Play by Margaret Edson. Direction by Lynne Meadow.
Original Principal Cast: Cynthia Nixon as Vivian Bearing, Michael Countryman as Harvey Kelekian, Suzanna Bertish as E.M. Ashford and Carra Patterson as Susie Monahan.
Pulitzer-Winning Production: Wit had its New York premiere at MCC Theater in 1998. Kathleen Chalfant starred as Vivian Bearing in the Off-Broadway production.
Synopsis: Wit, according to Manhattan Theatre Club, "follows a brilliant and exacting poetry professor as she undergoes experimental treatment for cancer. A scholar who devoted her life to academia, she must now face the irony and injustice of becoming the subject of research."

Check out photos from opening night.

Watch highlights from the production:

Show: How I Learned to Drive
Theatre: Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theatre
Preview: Jan. 24, 2012
Opening: Feb. 13, 2012
Closing: March 11, 2012
Creators: Play by Paula Vogel. Direction by Kate Whoriskey.
Original Principal Cast: Norbert Leo Butz as Uncle Peck and Elizabeth Reaser as Li'l Bit with Kevin Cahoon, Jennifer Regan and Marnie Schulenburg.
Pulitzer-Winning Production: How I Learned to Drive was produced by Vineyard Theatre in 1997. Directed by Mark Brokaw, the cast featured David Morse as Uncle Peck and Mary-Louise Parker as Li'l Bit with Michael Showalter, Johanna Day, Kerry O'Malley and Ethan Atkins.
Synopsis: How I Learned to Drive, according to Second Stage Theatre, "explores the complex relationship between Li'l Bit (Reaser) and her Uncle Peck (Butz), as a series of driving lessons progresses from innocence to something much darker. Told with surprising wit, Paula Vogel's acclaimed play is returning to New York City for the first time since its world premiere 15 years ago."

Check out photos from opening night.

Watch interviews with the cast:

Show: Beyond the Horizon
Theatre: Irish Repertory Theatre
Preview: Feb. 15, 2012
Opening: Feb. 26, 2012
Closing: April 15, 2012
Creators: Play by Eugene O'Neill. Direction by Ciarán O'Reilly.
Original Principal Cast: Rod Brogan as Andrew Mayo, Patricia Conolly as Mrs. Atkins, Lucas Hall as Robert Mayo, Jonathan Judge-Russo as Ben, Aimee Laurence as Mary, Joanna Leister as Kate Mayo, Wrenn Schmidt as Ruth Atkins, David Sitler as James Mayo and John Thomas Waite as Captain Dick Scott.
Pulitzer-Winning Production: Beyond the Horizon opened at the Morosco Theatre in February 1920. Directed by Homer Saint-Gaudens, the production featured Erville Alderson as James Mayo, Richard Bennett as Robert Mayo, Elfin Finn as Mary, George Hadden as Ben, Louise Closser Hale as Mrs. Atkins, Mary Jeffery as Kate Mayo, Robert Kelly as Andrew Mayo and Sidney Macy as Captain Dick Scott.
Synopsis: Beyond the Horizon, according to Irish Rep, "is a harrowing, heart-wrenching domestic tragedy, set on a farm in Massachusetts where two brothers, Robert, a dreamer and poet who longs to go to sea and seek the promise that lies beyond the horizon, and Andrew, a more practical man, whose desire extends no farther than the family farm, find themselves in love with their neighbor, Ruth. Just as Robert is about to depart, however, it becomes clear that Ruth loves him and not Andrew. So Robert stays at home to run the farm — a job for which he is entirely unsuited — and Andrew takes his place on the sailing ship to discover lands he never dreamed of. It is a decision with irrevocable and tragic consequences."

Read more about the original Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Beyond the Horizon in the Playbill Vault.

Watch highlights from the production:

Show: Death of a Salesman
Theatre: Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Preview: Feb. 14, 2012
Opening: March 15, 2012
Closing: June 2, 2012
Creators: Play by Arthur Miller. Direction by Mike Nichols.
Original Principal Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman, Linda Emond as Linda Loman, Andrew Garfield as Biff Loman, John Glover as Ben, Bill Camp as Charley, Finn Wittrock as Happy Loman and Fran Kranz as Bernard.
Pulitzer-Winning Production: Death of a Salesman opened in February 1949 at the Morosco Theatre. Directed by Elia Kazan, the cast featured Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman, Thomas Chalmers as Uncle Ben, Midred Dunnock as Linda, Alan Hewitt as Howard Wagner, Arthur Kennedy as Biff, Cameron Mitchell as Happy and Howard Smith as Charley.
Synopsis: Salesman Willy Loman finds his career crumbling and his relationships with his wife and sons severely tested in Miller's dream-like meditation on the cost of the American dream.

Check out Playbill's Photo Archive of Death of a Salesman.

Read more about the original Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Death of a Salesman in the Playbill Vault. Salesman's Garfield visits "Good Morning America":

Show: Lost in Yonkers
Theatre: The Actors Company Theatre at The Beckett Theatre
Preview: March 13, 2012
Opening: March 22, 2012
Closing: April 14, 2012
Creators: Play by Neil Simon. Direction by Jenn Thompson.
Original Principal Cast: Cynthia Harris as Grandma Kurnitz, Finnerty Steeves as Aunt Bella, Alec Beard as Uncle Louie, Dominic Comperatore as Eddie, Stephanie Cozart as Aunt Gert, Matthew Gumley as Jay and Russell Posner as Artie.
Pulitzer-Winning Production: Lost in Yonkers opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in February 1991. Directed by Gene Saks, the cast featured Irene Worth as Grandma Kurnitz, Mercedes Reuhl as Aunt Bella, Kevin Spacey as Uncle Louie, Mark Blum as Eddie, Danny Gerard as Artie, Lauren Klein as Aunt Gert and Jamie Marsh as Jay.
Synopsis: Two brothers are sent to live with their formidable German grandmother, their childlike aunt and their gangster uncle in Simon's semi-autobiographical play.

Read about Neil Simon surprising the cast during the run.

Check out photos from opening night.

Read more about the original Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Lost in Yonkers in the Playbill Vault.

Neil Simon meets the cast

Show: Clybourne Park
Theatre: Walter Kerr Theatre
Preview: March 26, 2012
Opening: April 19, 2012
Closing: Open-ended
Creators: Play by Bruce Norris. Direction by Pam MacKinnon.
Original Principal Cast: Crystal A. Dickinson as Francine/Lena, Brendan Griffin as Jim/Tom/Kenneth, Damon Gupton as Albert/Kevin, Christina Kirk as Bev/Kathy, Annie Parisse as Betsy/Lindsey, Jeremy Shamos as Karl/Steve and Frank Wood as Russ/Dan.
Pulitzer-Winning Production: Clybourne Park opened at Off-Broadway's Playwright Horizons in 2010. Following a staging at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the play makes its way back to New York for its Broadway debut. The original Off-Broadway cast members reprise their roles for Broadway.
Synopsis: In Clybourne Park, which also won the Olivier Award for Best New Play, "Norris imagines the history of one of the more important houses in literary history, both before and after it becomes a focal point in Lorraine Hansberry's classic A Raisin in the Sun," according to previous press notes. "In 1959, the house, which is located in a white neighborhood at 406 Clybourne St. in Chicago, is sold to an African-American family (the Younger family in A Raisin in the Sun). Then in 2009 after the neighborhood has changed into an African-American community, the house is sold to a white couple. It is through this prism of property ownership that Norris' lacerating sense of humor dissects race relations and middle class hypocrisies in America."

Check out photos from Clybourne Park's L.A. opening.

Watch highlights from the L.A. production:

Show: A Streetcar Named Desire
Theatre: Broadhurst Theatre
Preview: April 3, 2012
Opening: April 22, 2012
Closing: July 22, 2012
Creators: Play by Tennessee Williams. Direction by Emily Mann.
Original Principal Cast: Blair Underwood as Stanley, Nicole Ari Parker as Blanche, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Stella and Wood Harris as Mitch.
Pulitzer-Winning Production: A Streetcar Named Desire opened in December 1947 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Directed by Elia Kazan, the cast featured Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski, Jessica Tandy as Blanche DuBois, Kim Hunter as Stella Kowalski and Karl Malden as Harold Mitchell.
Synopsis: Fragile Southern belle Blanche DuBois moves to New Orleans to live with her sister, Stella, and her brutish brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski, in a dingy apartment. Temperaments clash, fireworks fly and secrets are revealed in Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama.

Check out pictures from Streetcar press day.

Read more about the original Pulitzer Prize-winning production of A Streetcar Named Desire in the Playbill Vault.

Playbill Video interviews the cast:

Show: Harvey
Theatre: Studio 54
Preview: May 18, 2012
Opening: June 14, 2012
Closing: Aug. 15, 2012
Creators: Play by Mary Chase. Direction by Scott Ellis.
Original Principal Cast: Jim Parsons as Elwood P. Dowd, Jessica Hecht as Veta Louise Simmons and Charles Kimbrough as William R. Chumley, M.D.
Pulitzer-Winning Production: Harvey opened at the 48th Street Theatre in November 1944. Directed by Antoinette Perry, the production featured Frank Fay as Elwood P. Dowd, Josephine Hull as Veta Louise Simmons and Fred Irving Lewis as William R. Chumley, M.D.
Synopsis: Parsons, according to Roundabout Theatre Company, stars as "one of modern theatre’s most lovable characters, Elwood P. Dowd. Charming and kind, Elwood has only one character flaw: an unwavering friendship with a 6-foot-tall, invisible white rabbit named Harvey. In order to save the family’s social reputation, Elwood’s sister Veta (Jessica Hecht) takes Elwood to the local sanatorium. But when the doctors mistakenly commit his anxiety-ridden sister, Elwood — and Harvey—slip out of the hospital unbothered, setting off a hilarious whirlwind of confusion and chaos as everyone in town tries to catch a man and his invisible rabbit."

Read more about the original Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Harvey in the Playbill Vault.

Roundabout creatives talk about Harvey:

Show: Picnic
Theatre: American Airlines Theatre
Opening: Winter 2013
Creators: Play by William Inge. Direction by Sam Gold.
Pulitzer-Winning Production: Picnic opened in February 1953 at the Music Box Theatre. Directed by Joshua Logan, the cast featured Ralph Meeker as Hal Carter, Peggy Conklin as Flo Owens, Eileen Heckart as Rosemary Sydney, Ruth McDevitt as Helen Potts, Morris Miller as Bomber, Paul Newman as Alan Seymour, Arthur O'Connell as Howard Bevans, Janice Rule as Madge Owens, Reta Shaw as Irma Kronkite, Kim Stanley as Millie Owens and Elizabeth Wilson as Christine Schoenwalder.
Synopsis: According to Roundabout Theatre Company, "Sensual, passionate and delightfully funny, Picnic is a timeless American classic about the line between restraint and desire. It's a balmy Labor Day in the American Heartland, and a group of women are preparing for a picnic...but they'll have to lay a lot on the line before they can lay out the checkered cloths. When a handsome young drifter named Hal arrives, his combination of uncouth manners and titillating charm sends the women reeling, especially the beautiful Madge. When Hal is forced out of town, Madge must decide whether their fleeting encounter is worth changing the course of her life."

Read more about the original Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Picnic in the Playbill Vault.

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