Monday, April 12, 2010

Pulitzers Announced! Chatter Ensues!

As has been announced and discussed all over, the Pulitzers were awarded this afternoon. The award went to Next To Normal, the musical about bipolar disorder by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey currently running on Broadway. The runners up were The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz, which had its world premiere at Victory Gardens (and which I didn't see because I'm a bloody idiot) and is starting previews at Second Stage at the end of this month, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, by Rajiv Joseph, who is an alumnus of my high school (and also an awesome playwright, from the little I've read), and In The Next Room or the vibrator play by oft-produced Sarah Ruhl, possessor of both one of the most enviable careers and most ferocious backlashes in the contemporary American theatre. Also of interest: one of the runners-up in the criticism category is Michael Feingold, theatre critic for the Village Voice. He was one of the guest lecturers at the National Critic's Institute in 2008 when I was a fellow there, and, while he's a distinguished critic indeed, it's fair to say that he was not awarded the Pulitzer for charm.

Sharp readers, however, doubtless noted a strange thing above: the usual method is for the main board to choose one winner from the three finalists presented by the Drama jury. However this year (as in 2007 when Rabbit Hole was chosen), the main jury chose a play that was not in the top three. Various theories were floated, though the most prominent were middlebrow, mainstream tastes and a hopelessly pro-New York bias. Charles McNulty, drama critic at the LA Times and a member of the jury, mentions both in his stinging critique of the decision. It sets the theatreosphere talking, at least.

On a personal note, while all the honored plays are doubtless worthy (I do need to play the copy of Next To Normal I ripped from a friend), I was sorry to see no recognition for Tarrell Alvin McCraney's The Brother/Sister Plays, which are magnificent. However, McCraney is young, and he'll write more. It's only a matter of time before he gets his Pulitzer.


Monica Reida said...

I think Next to Normal is a good musical, I just don't think it is Pulitzer worthy because it does seem to have a very one-sided view of psychiatry and that it is a bit bad, but, hey, everyone can get through it. I'll take it over South Pacific, but I don't think it deserved the Pulitzer.

There have also been some conspiracies floated around about both Kitt and Yorkey being Columbia University alumni and the Pulitzers being administered at Columbia University. Which sounds weak, but it is being thrown about.

Monica Reida said...

Another thing, it's interesting that both Rent and Next to Normal have more of a rock sound and are mostly sung.