...with a world-weary shrug:
Mr. McNulty’s spleen is to be applauded and even envied, since it suggests an idealism in his perception of the Pulitzers, a belief that they can still be a progressive force in promoting original voices in theater. And I can share his agitation to some extent, having myself been the chairman of the drama jury in 2007, when our finalists (all, admittedly, fairly obscure) were overridden by the board. We picked “Orpheus X,” by Rinde Eckert; “Bulrusher,” by Eisa Davis; and “Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue,” by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The prize went to David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole,” a mainstream family drama that, like “Next to Normal,” had been seen in a Broadway production.My question is: is it just Drama or are all the Pulitzer arts prizes similarly biased toward a wide-appeal or even milquetoast aesthetic. I don't know the other arts-winners, so tell us what you think:
But any annoyance I felt then was tempered by a weary awareness that the Pulitzers have usually gone to firmly middlebrow works, the majority of which are highly unlikely to blaze in the annals of posterity as daring innovators. They can be read as an index of solid bourgeois tastes over the years but not much more.
[T]he Pulitzer standard, by and large, seems to be that the play be like a painting you would feel comfortable having on your living room wall. A splash of topicality is always welcome, but only if it is leavened by sentimentality and structural tidiness.
- Fiction: Tinkers by Paul Harding
- Poetry: Versed by Rae Armantrout
- Music: Violin Concerto by Jennifer Higdon
Need I explain any further why theatre's value to the news media has only to do with revenue generation? (Next to Normal, turns out, is something of a hit too.)