Monday, April 20, 2009

Ruined Wins Pulitzer

As has been reported all over the place, Lynn Nottage's Ruined won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, announced this afternoon. The play premiered last November at the Goodman, making it the second play in a row to premiere in Chicago and go on to win the Pulitzer (after last year's August: Osage County). Granted, Nottage is a New York-based writer and the premiere wa a co-production with Manhattan Theatre Club, but still, it's quite a good sign for our city's theatre scene.

I saw the production at the Goodman (Thanks, Elizabeth Neukirch, for slipping me in to a student matinee along with other friends of the theatre!) and think that the accolades are well-deserved. The play, set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is definitely realistic in style, and doesn't really push boundaries stylistically. However, it is a painfully moving, gorgeous show. It shows the audience a world that they probably have never seen or considered and  intimately involves them in lives very different from their own. At the same time, it avoids the tedium and preaching of so many plays about important, depressing issues. I'm curious to see how it does in future productions--the script and Kate Whoriskey's production seemed so integrated that it's hard to tell how the script would look in a different version.

The runners-up, by the way, were Becky Shaw, by Gina Gionfriddo (whose After Ashley  was produced at Stage Left last fall to great acclaim), and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegira Hudes' In The Heights (building on their Tony wins from last year.) A good slate this year, I'd say.

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