Charles McNulty weighs in, in the Sunday LA Times (online now), on the Pulitzer puzzlement. Not to dis Rabbit Hole, but to remind readers how badly the less commercial plays need the attention. Right on the money.
A panel of informed theater critics and professionals found excellence where there was little fanfare....We were being urged to pay attention to work that has more difficulty than ever of getting noticed. "Rabbit Hole" is worthy of the Pulitzer. And one can be grateful that the board didn't skip the drama award, as it did last year (not for the first time). But the unsung badly need a lift right now.For those keeping score, by the way...
Patronage of adventurous programming is the only answer to skittish, market-centered leadership. Let's be sure to attend when and if the unheralded finalists make it here.
Articles so far on the Pulitzer Drama award in LA Times? 2. NY Times? Zero.
(Is Brantley's involvement--not to mention possibly even Tom Friedman's--enforcing "conflict of interest" rules?)
And another MSM critic, Time Out NY's David Cote goes blog-ballistic. Some may remember his lonely dissent on "Rabbit Hole" back when it first opened last year. At the time he was not necessarily just faulting the play, but using it as an example of supra-criticism to point the finger at the kind of regime of safeness that has taken over the larger nonprofit theatres (in this case, Manhattan Theatre Club). Not that David didn't believe these things before, but it was almost, dare I say, a great "Road to Damascus" moment for a critic, that I feel has defined his mission ever since. It was gutsy of him to put it in print back then, and presaged all the disturbing things about the Pulitzer board's decision now.
Personally, I see nothing cynical in MTC's programming of a play like "Rabbit Hole"--as well as similar "old fashioned" backward-looking Pulitzer-winning plays "Doubt" and "Proof" before it. I only think they are just perfectly in sync with the middlebrow arts tastes of the Journalistic Establishment. (The Ornette Coleman award aside.)
Which is why both subscription-based theatre and respectable print journalism are dying.