Water By the Spoonful Wins 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

By Andrew Gans
and Kenneth Jones
16 Apr 2012

Quiara Alegrķa Hudes
Quiara Alegrķa Hudes

Water by the Spoonful, by Quiara Alegría Hudes, is the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, recognizing an outstanding stage work that premiered during the 2011 calendar year. The winner was announced 3 PM April 16 at Columbia University.

The work, according to the Pulitzer Committee, is described as "an imaginative play about the search for meaning by a returning Iraq war veteran working in a sandwich shop in his hometown of Philadelphia."

Read an earlier Playbill feature about Water by the Spoonful, which premiered this past fall at Hartford Stage.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were Other Desert Cities, by Jon Robin Baitz, "a taut, witty drama about an affluent California couple whose daughter has written a memoir that threatens to reveal family secrets about her dead brother"; and Sons of the Prophet, by Stephen Karam, "a masterly play about a Lebanese-American family that blends comedy and tragedy in its examination of how suffering capriciously rains down on some and not others."



The Pulitzer Jury comprised Steven Leigh Morris, critic-at-large, L.A. Weekly (Chair); Bruce Norris, playwright, New York, NY; Rohan Preston, theater critic, Star-Tribune, Minneapolis, MN; David Savran, distinguished professor of theatre, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY; and Linda Winer, theater critic, Newsday, Melville, NY.

Quiara Alegría Hudes wrote the book for the Broadway musical In the Heights. In 2008, In the Heights received the Tony Award for Best Musical, a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical, and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. Hudes’ play Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2007. Her play Water By the Spoonful premiered at Hartford Stage Company in 2011. Barrio Grrrl! premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2009 and toured nationally. 26 Miles premiered at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in 2009 and was published in American Theatre Magazine. Yemaya’s Belly, Hudes’ first play, premiered at Portland Stage Company and received The Clauder Prize, The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Paula Vogel Award in Playwriting, and the KCACTF Latino Playwriting Award.

Read more about Pulitzer Prize Hudes winner in the Playbill Vault.

Established in 1917 in honor of American journalist and publisher Joseph Pulitzer, the annual ceremony presents honors in 21 categories.

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, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2011 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.

In 2011 Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park won the prize. Norris' riff on A Raisin in the Sun, which examines race relations and the effects of modern gentrification, is currently in previews at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre.

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

2011: Clybourne Park, by Bruce Norris
2010: Next to Normal, by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt
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, Willie Gilbert, Jack Weinstock 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.