Tony Awards history in the making: 3 Pulitzer Prize winners up for Best Play?
The Tony Awards contest for the top honor of Best Play is the most crowded it has been in at least a decade. A whopping 17 new dramatic works will vie for only five slots that recognize the most stellar productions and playwrights on Broadway. This season, the plays in contention hail from renowned dramatists like Tony winners Tom Stoppard for “Leopoldstadt” and David Auburn for “Summer, 1976,” and past nominee Sharr White for “Pictures From Home.” Notably, there are also three winners of the Pulitzer Prize eligible this season: James Ijames’ “Fat Ham,” Stephen Adly Guirgis’ “Between Riverside and Crazy,” and Martyna Majok’s “Cost of Living.” If all three of these works land nominations, the Tonys will set a record for the most Pulitzer winners nominated for Best Play in one year in history.
According to our current combined odds, it is very possible that history will indeed be made this year. Our users think “Fat Ham” is the most likely of the three to land a nomination, sitting comfortably in second position. “Between Riverside and Crazy” follows closely on its heels in fourth place, while “Cost of Living” just misses the predicted lineup in sixth. “Fat Ham” certainly has the benefit of time on its side: not only is it the most recent recipient of the Pulitzer, but it opens on Broadway on April 12, just before the April 27 eligibility cutoff. Conversely, both “Cost of Living” and “Between Riverside and Crazy” closed earlier in the season; the former won the Pulitzer in 2018 and the latter almost a decade ago in 2015.
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If just two of the three Pulitzer winners get into this overstuffed field, it will be only the third time in the award’s history. The most recent instance was in 2004, when Doug Wright’s “I Am My Own Wife” and Nilo Cruz’s “Anna in the Tropics” were both nominated. Wright’s one-person show about surviving East Berlin as a transgender woman won the top honor, the same year it picked up the Pulitzer, and also won the Best Actor trophy for Jefferson Mays and gained an extra nomination for directing. In addition to its Best Play nomination the year after it won the Pulitzer, “Anna in the Tropics” also reaped a bid for Featured Actress for Daphne Rubin-Vega.
Before that, you’d have to look back all the way to 1956, when Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s “The Diary of Anne Frank” and Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” were both Best Play nominees. The stage adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary took home the Tony, the same year it won the Pulitzer, and had received four other Tony nominations. “Cat on A Hot Tin Roof” earned four Tony nominations and won the Pulitzer the year before.
SEE ‘Leopoldstadt’ reviews: New Tom Stoppard play is ‘remarkable,’ ‘harrowing’
Our top five for Best Play at this early point in the season includes “Leopoldstadt,” “Fat Ham,” “Life of Pi,” “Between Riverside and Crazy,” and “Ain’t No Mo’.” The next traunch includes “Cost of Living,” “Prima Facie” starring Jodie Comer, “The Collaboration,” “The Thanksgiving Play,” and the Sean Hayes starrer “Good Night, Oscar.” Other contenders include “The Kite Runner,” the sight-unseen “Summer, 1976,” “Peter Pan Goes Wrong,” “Pictures From Home,” “A Christmas Carol” with Jefferson Mays, and one-man shows Gabriel Bryne’s “Walking with Ghosts” and “Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man & The Pool.”
PREDICT the 2023 Tony Award nominees through May 2
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