'Park' looks at race relations in Chicago

Bruce Norris’ play “Clybourne Park” has won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, with Lisa D’Amour’s Broadway-bound “Detroit” and John Guare’s “A Free Man of Color” scoring citations as finalists.

The world-preem run of “Clybourne” began at Off Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons in February 2010. The play centers on the rapidly changing Chicago neighborhood that also was the setting of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Title went on to win the top play kudo at the Olivier Awards in London, where the show’s hit stint at the Royal Court since August led to a West End transfer that closes May 7.

This year’s winner and finalists underscore the increasing prominence of Chi scribes on the national legit scene. Another recent Pulitzer winner, “August: Osage County,” also originated in the Windy City.

A number of Norris’ plays, including “The Pain and the Itch,” debuted in Chicago; “Clybourne” was the first to bow in New York. D’Amour’s “Detroit” had its world preem last year at Chi’s Steppenwolf Theater.

In praising “Clybourne,” the Pulitzer board said the play’s “memorable characters speak in witty and perceptive ways to America’s sometimes toxic struggle with race and class consciousness.”Award comes with $10,000 in cash.

“Detroit” is skedded for a commercial Main Stem run this fall from commercial producers Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Debbie Bisno, in association with Steppenwolf.

Guare’s “Free Man of Color,” meanwhile, was deemed “an audacious play spread across a large historial canvas, dealing with serious subjects while retaining a playful intellectual buoyancy.” Jeffrey Wright-toplined debut of the play, a comic drama set in New Orleans in 1801, opened at Lincoln Center Theater last fall.

Jury for the drama Pulitzer was made up of journos including the Washington Post’s Peter Marks, Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones, City U. of New York theater professor David Savran, playwright Lynn Nottage (“Ruined”) and L.A. Weekly’s Steven Leigh Morris.

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