Who Will Win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2014?

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11 Apr 2014

Beth Malone, Sydney Lucas and Alexandra Socha in <i>Fun Home</i>
Beth Malone, Sydney Lucas and Alexandra Socha in Fun Home
Photo by Joan Marcus

The juries for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama have delighted in confounding expectations the past couple years. The last two winners were the unexpected Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar in 2013 and Water By the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes in 2012. The 2014 winner, should there be one, will be announced April 14.

Those sort of surprise results make it a little difficult for a journalist handicapping the prize. But, undeterred, here we go again…

The title that came up again and again in Playbill.com's informal poll of critics and other theatre professionals was Fun Home, the critically acclaimed Jeanine Tesori-Lisa Kron musical that won several extensions to its Public Theater run. The work, a family memory story based on a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, was already nominated for an Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, the nominees for which sometimes overlap with the Pulitzers.

"I know the committee rarely gives the prize to musicals," commented David Cote, longtime theatre critic at Time Out New York, "but I hope they consider Fun Home, which was one of the best in years—tender, funny and it gave voice to people you don't always see in musicals."

Musical historian and critic Steven Suskin added, "Fun Home is the best American play or musical I saw last year, and I would hope it receives proper consideration from the judges."



Another play that was mentioned by more than one observer was Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Anne Washburn's absurdist look at how stories and myths might be related in a dystopian future. The play bowed at Playwrights Horizons last fall to largely admiring reviews.

Another Playwrights Horizons premiere, Annie Baker's The Flick, was also cited by a few as a potential nominee. The unusual and lengthy play, in which seemingly little seems to happen between three directionless movie-theatre employees, divided audiences and critics, and inspired a healthy debate within theatre circles. Hollywood Reporter critic David Rooney observed that the consistently praised Baker was perhaps due for some recognition.

Also remembered was Richard Greenberg's The Assembled Parties, an early opening in 2013. The Manhattan-set family drama starring Judith Light and Jessica Hecht, which was given a Manhattan Theatre Club premiere directed by artistic director Lynne Meadow, was admired by many critics. Some industry observers pointed out that Greenberg—who has been a finalist for the prize in the past, for Three Days of Rain and Take Me Out—was long overdue for a Pulitzer.

Some thought it was perhaps time for playwright Will Eno to get the nod. But Eno's The Realistic Joneses, now on Broadway, debuted at Yale Rep in 2012, which would seem to eliminate its chances. Eno's Thom Pain (based on nothing) was a Pulitzer finalist in 2005.

The Pulitzer Prize is administered by Columbia University. The Drama prize is "for a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life." The recipient gets $10,000.

The 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner will be announced April 14. Playbill.com will post the news at that time. 

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

2013: Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar
2012: Water By the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes
2011: Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris
2010: Next to Normal by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey

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 and Ira 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.