‘Proof’s’ in Pulitzer

Auburn wins drama prize, Chabon's 'Clay' gets fiction

David Auburn’s “Proof” has won the Pulitzer Prize for drama — the first time in eight years that a Broadway drama has taken the award.

In 1993, the Pulitzer for drama went to Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.” A Broadway musical, Jonathan Larson’s “Rent,” nabbed the 1996 award.

More recently, Off Broadway plays have dominated the legit awards, with the Pulitzer going to Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive” in 1998, Margaret Edson’s “Wit” in 1999 and Donald Margulies’ “Dinner With Friends” in 2000. No award in drama was given in 1997.

Drama runners-up this year were “The Play About the Baby” by Edward Albee and “The Waverly Gallery” by Kenneth Lonergan.

This year’s panel of nominating jurors included Linda Winer (Newsday), Edwin Wilson (City U of New York), Mel Gussow (New York Times), Michael Phillips (Los Angeles Times) and Hedy Weiss (Chicago Sun-Times).

Chabon wins fiction

The fiction prize went to Michael Chabon for “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” published by Random House last September.

The Pulitzer is something of a vindication for producer Scott Rudin, who bought the book — Chabon’s third novel, following “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” and “Wonder Boys” — for $1 million on the basis of a one-page synopsis. Rudin also is producing the screen adaptation of 1998’s Pulitzer winner, “The Hours,” by Michael Cunningham.

Chabon is adapting “Adventures” for the screen.

The book won’t be out in paperback until next fall, but Random House was in the process of planning a new publicity campaign for the hardcover. Mary Evans says the prize is likely to generate additional sales of at least 100,000 — roughly the sales bump enjoyed by Cunningham two years ago.

Other prizes

Herbert P. Bix won the Pulitzer for general nonfiction for “Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan,” published by HarperCollins. Other winners were Joseph J. Ellis, who won the Pulitzer for history for “Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation,” published by Knopf, and David Levering Lewis, who took the biography prize for “W.E.B. DuBois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963,” from Holt.

The music prize went to John Corigliano for “Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra.”

The 85th annual Pulitzer Prizes in journalism, letters, drama and music were announced Monday by the Columbia U. School of Journalism.

“Proof” was first produced at the Manhattan Theatre Club in spring 2000. Shortly after its world premiere, MTC announced a Broadway production with the original team, including star Mary-Louise Parker and director Daniel Sullivan, who also helmed the world-preem production of last year’s Pulitzer winner, “Dinner With Friends.”

“Proof” opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theater on Oct. 24, 2000, and continues its run there.

Auburn previously wrote “Skyscraper,” which opened Off Broadway at the Greenwich House in 1997. As for topping his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Proof” with a third play, the 31-year-old playwright told Daily Variety, “I don’t think you try to. Every play is different. I’m glad this one has attracted an audience, and I hope the next one will too.”

Auburn said his third work for the stage, as yet untitled, is finished but that his agent, Bill Craver at Writers & Artists, had not submitted it to producers. “I’m still tinkering,” he said. Auburn did reveal that his next play is set in the 1930s in Ohio, where he grew up, and is a drama, as is “Proof.”

The writer also is at work on the screen adaptation of Scott Anderson’s novel “Triage,” commissioned by Sydney Pollack and Mirage.

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