Clybourne Park Wins 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
and Kenneth Jones
18 Apr 2011

Crystal A. Dickinson, Annie Parisse and Jeremy Shamos in <I>Clybourne Park</I> at Playwrights Horizons in 2010.
Crystal A. Dickinson, Annie Parisse and Jeremy Shamos in Clybourne Park at Playwrights Horizons in 2010.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park is the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, recognizing an outstanding stage work that premiered during the 2010 calendar year. The winner was announced 3 PM April 18 at Columbia University.

The play, according to the Pulitzer committee, is described as a "powerful work whose memorable characters speak in witty and perceptive ways to America's sometimes toxic struggle with race and class consciousness."

Also nominated as finalists were the Broadway-bound Detroit by Lisa D'Amour, a "contemporary tragicomic play that depicts a slice of desperate life in a declining inner-ring suburb where hope is in foreclosure"; and Lincoln Center Theater's A Free Man of Color by John Guare, "an audacious play spread across a large historical canvas, dealing with serious subjects while retaining a playful intellectual buoyancy."  

Clybourne Park, Norris' riff on A Raisin in the Sun that examined race relations and the effects of modern gentrification, opened at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons in February 2010. Directed by Pam MacKinnon, the production "begins in 1959 as a white family moves out," according to press notes. "In Act Two, it's 2009 and a white family moves in. In the intervening years, change overtakes a neighborhood, along with attitudes, inhabitants and property values. Loosely inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, this pitch-black comedy from Mr. Norris takes on the specter of gentrification in one of America's most recognizable communities — leaving no stone unturned in the process." The cast included Tony Award winner Frank Wood (Side Man, August: Osage County), Emmy Award nominee Annie Parisse (Becky Shaw, The Credeaux Canvas), Jeremy Shamos (100 Saints You Should Know, Gutenberg! The Musical!), Crystal A. Dickinson (Broke-ology), Brendan Griffin (Back Back Back), Damon Gupton (Inked Baby) and Christina Kirk (God's Ear, Suitcase, [sic]).

The London production of Clybourne Park recently received the Olivier Award for Best New Play.



Woolly Mammoth in Washington, DC, presented an acclaimed post-New York production of Clybourne Park in 2010. That staging, which earned eight 2011 Helen Hayes Awards nominations, will have a return engagement in DC July 21-Aug. 14.

In a statement Norris said, "I am deeply honored and totally flabbergasted to receive this recognition. I want to thank both Playwrights Horizons and Woolly Mammoth Theatre in DC for simultaneously taking a chance on this play, and to thank Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago for their ten years of support."

Playwrights Horizons artistic director Tim Sanford, who gave the play its world premiere, said, "The runs of Playwrights Horizons' productions are always finite. Our business is to launch new plays and launch them well. With so few plays transfering to commercial extended runs, we never know when a show like Clybourne Park — whose trenchant, timely satire was matched by its exquistiely rendered structure — had clearly not exhausted its potential audience when we had to close it last season. So the widespread life it has attained in the regional theatre and abroad is particularly satisfying as is this prestigious recognition, which I hope will lead to even further life."

The Pulitzer Jury included Peter Marks, drama critic, The Washington Post (Chair); Chris Jones, drama critic, Chicago Tribune; David Savran, distinguished professor of theatre, CUNY Graduate Center; Lynn Nottage, playwright, New York City; and Steven Leigh Morris, critic-at-large, LA Weekly.

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, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2010 are eligible."

Read Playbill.com's story about possible contenders this year. 

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 2010, the musical Next to Normal, by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, won the prize. Nominated as 2010 finalists were The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz; Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph (currently on Broadway); and Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room or the vibrator play.

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

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.