Lynn Nottage wins Pulitzer for Drama! — Lynn Nottage — AAPEX

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lynn Nottage wins Pulitzer for Drama!

There must be something in the Lake Michigan water. For the second straight year, a play originating in Chicago has won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. This year's winner is Lynn Nottage's "Ruined."

In an interview Monday afternoon, Nottage described herself as "jubilant" at the honor.

"I don't write a play expecting to get produced," she said, "let alone win a Pulitzer Prize."

"Ruined," commissioned and first produced by Chicago's Goodman Theatre, is a hard-hitting homage to Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage," with the action moved to a bar and whorehouse in the crossfire of the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite the Brechtian nods, it is an intensely original work.

"Ruined" becomes the first Goodman commission , and the first play to premiere at the Goodman, ever to win the Pulitzer. David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," which had its American premiere at the Goodman, won the Pulitzer in 1984. But that play premiered in London.

Following its Chicago premiere last November, "Ruined" moved to the Manhattan Theatre Club, where it currently plays through May 10. Nottage said Monday that aside from small nips and tucks, the play did not change between Chicago and New York. Nottage said the play's development and premiere at the Goodman "was one of those rare, beautiful experiences that you sometimes have in the theater."

"We were involved with this play right from its beginnings three or four years ago," said Goodman artistic director Robert Falls. "It was clear right away that this was an extraordinary new American play."

The play's central character is a businesswoman named Mama Nadi who strenuously avoids taking sides in the searing African conflict, but is forced to confront to what extent she protects the young woman in her care and to what extent her own lack of a moral position sends them all down the river.

"We've spent the last eight years being told not to engage with the world,' Nottage said, explaining why she thinks audiences reacted so strongly to the play. "I think there is a great hunger now to do so."

Source: Chicago Tribune

UpDate (4/21/09): In addition, the Outer Critics Circle announced their 2008-2009 nominees for New York City productions, and Off-Broadway shows were very well-represented. Ruined racked up five nods, tying for the most of any non-musical production, on or off Broadway!

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