Drama—Major Awards Analysis

Pulitzer Prize in Drama Winners

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

In 1903, Joseph Pulitzer, a prominent American journalist and owner of two major newspapers, made a gift of $2 million to New York’s Columbia University. His will stipulated that $550,000 of that sum be reserved to fund prizes in journalism, letters, and music. In 1912, an Advisory Board of the School of Journalism (later renamed the Pulitzer Prize Board) was created to administer the prizes.

The drama award was added in 1917, although no prize was awarded that year. Stipulations asserted that a play could be considered only if it has been performed in New York during the twelve months between March 2 of a given year to March 1 of the following year, and only if it represented the educational value and power of the stage in raising the standard of good morals, good taste, and good manners. Plays original in their sources and that dealt with American life were given preference. No award was given in years when the Pulitzer Prize board deemed its standard of excellence was not met by the field of potential competitors.

1917——(No award)

1918——Why Marry? by Jesse Lynch Williams

1919——(No award)

1920——Beyond the Horizon by Eugene O’Neill

1921——Miss Lulu Bett by Zona Gale

1922——Anna Christie by Eugene O’Neill

1923——Icebound by Owen Davis

1924——Hell-Bent fer Heaven by Hatcher Hughes

1925——They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard

1926——Craig’s Wife by George Kelly

1927——In Abraham’s Bosom by Paul Green

1928——Strange Interlude by Eugene O’Neill

1929——Street Scene by Elmer L....

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Obie Awards

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

The Village Voice Obie Awards were instituted during the 1955-1956 theatrical season, and were established to recognize the important and significant dramatic activities that flourished Off-Broadway in the dozens of small venues that were used for the presentation of plays that could not, for various reasons, be performed on Broadway. The Obies are unique in that they do not limit the number of honorees in any category and are not tightly bound by structured and immutable categories. From year to year, categories are added while others are dropped.

Obie Awards——Award for Playwriting

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)


Sam Shepard for Action

Wallace Shawn for Our Late Night

Lanford Wilson for The Mound Builders

Ed Bullins for The Taking of Miss Janie


(No award)


David Rudkin for Ashes

Albert Innaurato for Gemini and The Transfiguration of Benno Blimpie

Willam Hauptman for Domino Courts

Maria Irene Fornes for Fefu and Her Friends

David Berry for G. R. Point


(No award)


Sam Shepard for Buried Child

Bernard Pomerance for The Elephant Man

Richard Nelson for Vienna Notes

Susan Miller for Nasty Rumors and Final Remarks

Rosalyn Drexler for The Writer’s Opera


Jeff Weiss for That’s How the Rent Gets Paid (Part Three) (script and direction)

Roland Muldoon for Full Confessions of a Socialist (script and direction)

Romulus Linney for Tennessee

Christopher Durang for Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You

Lee Breuer for A Prelude to Death in Venice


Len Jenkin for Limbo Tales (script and direction)


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Obie Awards——Award for Best Play

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

1957-1958——The Brothers Karamazov by Boris Tumarin and Jack Sydow

1963-1964——Play by Samuel Beckett

1993-1994——Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 by Anna Deavere Smith

1994-1995——Cryptogram by David Mamet

1996-1997——One Flea Spare by Naomi Wallace

1997-1998——Pearls for Pigs and Benita Canova by Richard Foreman

2000-2001——The Syringa Tree by Pamela Glen

Obie Awards——Best New American Play

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

1974-1975——The First Breeze of Summer by Leslie Lee

1975-1976——American Buffalo and Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet

1976-1977——Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard

1977-1978——Shaggy Dog Animation by Lee Breuer

1978-1979——Josephine, the Mouse Singer by Michael McClure

1980-1981——F.O.B. by David Henry Hwang

1981-1982——Mr. Dead and Mrs. Free (theater piece, no playwright)

1981-1982——Metamorphosis in Miniature (theater piece, no playwright)

1982-1983——Edmond by David Mamet

1983-1984——Fool for Love by Sam Shepard

1984-1985——The Conduct of Life by Maria Irene Fornes

1986-1987——The Cure and Film Is Evil: Radio Is Good by Richard Foreman

1987-1988——Abingdon Square by Maria Irene Fornes

1987-1988——Serious Money by Caryl Churchill

1989-1990——Bad Penny, Crowbar, and Terminal Hip by Mac Wellman

1989-1990——Imperceptible Metabolites in the Third Kingdom by Suzan-Lori Parks

1989-1990——Prelude to a Kiss by Craig Lucas

1990-1991——The Fever by Wallace Shawn

1991-1992——The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel

1991-1992——Sally’s Rape by Robbie McCauley

1991-1992——Sight Unseen by Donald Margulies

1995-1996——Sleep Deprivation Chamber and June and Jean in Concert by Adrienne Kennedy (no later awards)

Tony Awards

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

The American Theatre Wing’s Antoinette Perry Awards, popularly known as the Tony Awards, have been presented for distinguished achievement in the theater since 1947. Tony Award categories have changed and grown through the years. To be eligible for a Tony Award, a play must have opened during the current Broadway season in a Broadway theater with a minimum of 499 seats.


Author——Arthur Miller for All My Sons


Play——Mister Roberts by Thomas Heggen and Joshua Logan; based on the Thomas Heggen novel

Author——Thomas Heggen and Joshua Logan for Mister Roberts


Play——Death of a Salesman by...

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