Edward Albee on Tuesday won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play “Three Tall Women.” The award is Albee’s third Pulitzer –”A Delicate Balance” won in 1966, followed by “Seascape” in 1975 — and caps a season that has seen him return to the front ranks of American play writing after a long career lull.

Among winners of the drama Pulitzer, he is now surpassed only by Eugene O’Neill, who won four.

The award to Albee, 66, came on the eve of the official opening of “Three Tall Women” at the Promenade Theater, a 399-seat commercial Off Broadway theater , after a brief run at the non-profit Vineyard Theater.

The play had its world premiere three years ago at the English Theater in Vienna, where Albee has opened several of his works, and was subsequently staged in 1992 at a theater in upstate New York.

Albee is best known for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” the1962 Broadway play that was turned four years later into a film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton that marked Mike Nichols’ film-directing debut.

The playwright hasn’t had a commercial success in many years. But “Three Tall Women,” a lyrical, frequently humorous work about a wealthy woman at three stages of her life, has gotten off to an extraordinary start Off Broadway, with congratulatory reviews and advance ticket sales well over $ 300,000.

The playwright was in Texas Tuesday, where he teaches at the U. of Houston.

The drama jury was headed by Time magazine theater critic William A. Henry III; the other members were Howard Kissel of the New York Daily News, Lawrence Devine of the Detroit Free Press, Sylvie Drake of the Los Angeles Times and Judith Green of the San Jose Mercury News.

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