The Pulitzer Prize for Drama Goes to…
David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole. Along with a tidy sum of 10,000 dollars. Here’s where it gets interesting. According to Playbill, “The Pulitzer jury had nominated three plays — Orpheus X by Rinde Eckert; Bulrusher by Eisa Davis; and Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue by Quiara Alegria Hudes — however, the board decided to bypass the nominations and chose a play that hadn’t been nominated by the jury.” So, let’s get this straight, the jury, made up of “Ben Brantley (chief drama critic, New York Times), Kimberly W. Benston (Professor of English at Haverford College), Karen D’Souza (Drama Critic for the San Jose Mercury News), Rohan Preston (Theatre critic for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul), Paula Vogel (playwright, Professor of English at Brown University)” opted to select some lesser known works, and then the Board decided it didn’t like their choices and gave the prize, and prize money, to Lindsay-Abaire? That’s a nice “eff you” to Brantley and co.
Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, said at the April 16 press conference, “The [Pulitzer] Board is also empowered by a three-quarters vote to select an entry that has not been nominated by the jury.” That is, three-fourths of the Board or more must agree in order to choose a winner outside of the jury’s nominations. Rabbit Hole was selected “by a three-fourths vote after none of the finalists nominated by the jury received a majority [vote from the Board.] . . . Rabbit Hole was mentioned favorably in the jury’s report.”
Obviously, Lindsay-Abaire’s a well-known playwright, the show was produced by a major non-profit (Manhattan Theater Club), but still, what is up with the Drama Prize lately? Last year, it wasn’t even awarded to anyone, despite the nominations of Adam Rapp, Christopher Durang, and Rolin Jones.
A brief sidenote: if you missed seeing Rabbit Hole onstage last year take heart, Nicole Kidman has optioned the rights for a big screen adaptation.
(hat tip, Playgoer)