Pulitzer Potential: Likely Candidates for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

News   Pulitzer Potential: Likely Candidates for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
 
Pulitzer Prize handicapping is an annual spring sport in the theatre world. Usually, however, it's the theatre award equivalent of the Super Bowl—everyone knows coming in who's going to win.

Pulitzer possibilities: The Orphans' Home Cycle, Next Fall and Circle Mirror Transformation.
Pulitzer possibilities: The Orphans' Home Cycle, Next Fall and Circle Mirror Transformation. Photo by Gregory Costanzo; Carol Rosegg; Joan Marcus

Not this time. Instead, it's something of a horse race. In contrast to recent years, there is no Proof, Doubt, August: Osage County or other obvious front-runner, but two or three contenders considered, if not necessarily the heir apparent to the trophy, then certainly capable of snatching it nonetheless.

Playbill.com polled a host of Broadway professionals and critics to put together a picture of this year's contest. The titles mentioned most frequently as Pulitzer possibilities were Horton Foote's lengthy family saga The Orphans' Home Cycle, which ran at the Signature Theatre Company, winning rhapsodic reviews, and may play Broadway in the future; Next Fall, the Geoffrey Nauffts play that opened Off-Broadway last year and won enough plaudits to move to Broadway this season; and Time Stands Still, the latest work from Donald Margulies, which premiered at the Geffen Playhouse and later played Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre earlier this year. Both Foote, who died last year, and Margulies are past honorees of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Foote won for The Man From Atlanta in 1995; Margulies won for Dinner With Friends in 2000.

However, a spokesman for Manhattan Theatre Club said that Time Stands Still was not submitted to the Pulitzer committee following its premiere because Margulies knew he was going to make some alterations to the script. It will be submitted by MTC for consideration in 2011.

If Next won, it would place Nauffts in a fairly rich tradition of relative unknowns winning the Pulitzer for an early, or even a first, play. Past writers who have been catapulted to sudden fame by their Pulitzer win include David Auburn (Proof), Margaret Edson (Wit) and Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle).

The Orphans' Home Cycle presents a potentially complicated proposition for the awards committee. Though the nine short plays that make up the work were never presented together until Hartford Stage mounted them in 2009, a few of them were penned, and staged, as long as a quarter-century ago. One, 1918, was made into a feature film. Another, The Widow Claire, received a major New York production in 1986. Only Roots in a Parched Ground, Convicts, Valentine's Day and Cousins were being presented for the first time at Hartford. Still, the other, extant plays were shortened, and thus took on a new form.

Plays mentioned less often as in the running by those interviewed were The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell Alvin McCraney, which ran at the Public Theater; andCircle Mirror Transformation, Annie Baker's new play about New Englanders enrolled in a drama class, which played at Playwrights Horizons. The award in drama, which includes a $10,000 prize, is "for a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life," according to the official guidelines. "Productions opening in the United States between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2009 are eligible."

The Pulitzer committee accepts submissions; however, guidelines state that a play does not need to be formally submitted to be considered for the top honor. The committee also reserves the right not to name a winner in the category, which occurred most recently in 2006.

The complete list of Pulitzer Prize in Drama winners is listed below:

2009: Ruined, by Lynn Nottage
2008: August: Osage County, by Tracy Letts
2007: Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay-Abaire
2006: No award
2004-05: Doubt, by John Patrick Shanley
2003-04: I Am My Own Wife, by Doug Wright
2002-03: Anna in the Tropics, by Nilo Cruz
2001-02: Topdog/Underdog, by Suzan-Lori Parks
2000-01: Proof, by David Auburn
1999-00: Dinner with Friends, by Donald Margulies
1998-99: Wit, by Margaret Edson
1997-98: How I Learned To Drive, by Paula Vogel
1996-97: No award
1995-96: Rent, by Jonathan Larson
1994-95: The Young Man From Atlanta, by Horton Foote
1993 94: Three Tall Women, by Edward Albee
1992-93: Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, by Tony Kushner
1991-92: The Kentucky Cycle, by Robert Schenkkan
1990-91: Lost in Yonkers, by Neil Simon
1989-90: The Piano Lesson, by August Wilson
1988-89: The Heidi Chronicles, by Wendy Wasserstein
1987 88: Driving Miss Daisy, by Alfred Uhry
1986-87: Fences, by August Wilson
1985-86: No award
1984-85: Sunday in the Park With George, by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim
1983-84: Glengarry Glen Ross, by David Mamet
1982-83: 'night, Mother, by Marsha Norman
1981 82: A Soldier's Play, by Charles Fuller
1980-81: Crimes of the Heart, by Beth Henley
1979-80: Talley's Folly, by Lanford Wilson
1978-79: Buried Child, by Sam Shepard
1977-78: The Gin Game, by D.L. Coburn
1976-77: The Shadow Box, by Michael Cristofer
1975-76: A Chorus Line, by Michael Bennett, James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante, Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban
1974-75: Seascape, by Edward Albee
1973 74: No award
1972-73: That Championship Season, by Jason Miller
1971-72: No award
1970-71: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, by Paul Zindel
1969-70: No Place To Be Somebody, by Charles Gordone
1968-69: The Great White Hope, by Howard Sackler
1967-68: No award
1966 67: A Delicate Balance, by Edward Albee
1965-66: No award
1964 65: The Subject Was Roses, by Frank D. Gilroy
1963-64: No award
1962-63: No award
1961-62: How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, by Abe Burrows and Frank Loesser
1960-61: All the Way Home, by Tad Mosel
1959-60: Fiorello!, by Jerome Weidman, George Abbott, Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock
1958-59: J.B., by Archibald MacLeish
1957-58: Look Homeward, Angel, by Ketti Frings
1956-57: Long Day's Journey Into Night, by Eugene O'Neill
1955-56: The Diary of Anne Frank, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
1954-55: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams
1953-54: The Teahouse of the August Moon, by John Patrick
1952-53: Picnic, by William Inge
1951-52: The Shrike, by Joseph Kramm
1950-51: No award
1949-50: South Pacific, by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan
1948-49: Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller
1947-48: A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams
1946-47: No award
1945-46: State of the Union, by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
1944-45: Harvey, by Mary Chase
1943-44: No award
1942-43: The Skin of Our Teeth, by Thornton Wilder
1941-42: No award
1940-41: There Shall Be No Night, by Robert E. Sherwood
1939-40: The Time of Your Life, by William Saroyan
1938-39: Abe Lincoln in Illinois, by Robert E. Sherwood
1937-38: Our Town, by Thornton Wilder
1936-37: You Can't Take It With You, by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
1935-36: Idiot's Delight, by Robert E. Sherwood
1934-35: The Old Maid, by Zoe Akins
1933-34: Men in White, by Sidney Kingsley
1932-33: Both Your Houses, by Maxwell Anderson
1931-32: Of Thee I Sing, by George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, Ira and George Gershwin
1930-31: Alison's House, by Susan Glaspell
1929-30: The Green Pastures, by Marc Connelly
1928-29: Street Scene, by Elmer Rice
1927-28: Strange Interlude, by Eugene O'Neill
1926-27: In Abraham's Bosom, by Paul Green
1925-26: Craig's Wife, by George Kelly
1924-25: They Knew What They Wanted, by Sidney Howard
1923-24: Hell-Bent fer Heaven, by Hatcher Hughes
1922-23: Icebound, by Owen Davis
1921-22: Anna Christie, by Eugene O'Neill
1920-21: Miss Lulu Bett, by Zona Gale
1919-20: Beyond the Horizon, by Eugene O'Neill
1918-19: No award
1917-18: Why Marry?, by Jesse Lynch Williams
1916-17: No award

For more information, visit pulitzer.org.

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