Pulitzer board nixes prize for drama

Finalist trio snubbed by board

The Pulitzer board gave no award for drama this year, snubbing finalists “Miss Witherspoon” by Christopher Durang, “The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow” by Rolin Jones and “Red Light Winter” by Adam Rapp.

Decision is not a major surprise, since many legiters had dubbed this year’s crop of candidates lackluster.

Awarding no prize in a category is always an option for the Pulitzer board, as is awarding it to a play that did not make the shortlist compiled by a separate committee. Some chatter posited that “Third,” the late Wendy Wasserstein’s final play, might take the laurels.

The last time no Pulitzer for drama was awarded was in 1997.

The field of potential honorees was narrowed this year when the eligibility period was changed to correspond with the calendar year, as opposed to the previous window of spring-to-spring. The move curtailed this year’s timeline for consideration, which ran from last spring to Dec. 31.

As a result, well-received shows that would have been contenders this year — David Lindsay Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole” is often cited — will have to wait until the next crop of awards.

In addition, this year there was no strong front-runner in the manner of recent winners “Doubt” (2005), “I Am My Own Wife” (2004) and “Proof” (2001). (All three of those went on to win the Tony.)

All of this year’s finalists appeared Off Broadway during the last season. “Red Light Winter” is still playing an open-ended run at the Barrow Street Theater.

Other arts awards included Geraldine Brooks’ “Little Women”-inspired novel “March” for fiction and Caroline Elkins’ “Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya” for nonfiction.

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