No Drama: Bruce Norris’ Gentrification Time-Warp Clybourne Park Takes Pulitzer for Drama

04/19/2011 12:15 PM |

Clybourne Park wins 2011 Pulitzer for Drama

Remember the controversy last year when Columbia’s journalism school, which oversees the Pulitzer Prize process, went against its jury to select Next To Normal as the recipient of the 2010 Pulitzer for Drama? Well, there’ll be no in-fighting this year: on Monday Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park—about that fictional Chicago suburb’s transformations in the 50s and aughts—received the 2011 Pulitzer for Drama, edging out the two other finalists, Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit (another gentrification story) and John Guare’s A Free Man of Color.

Norris’s Clybourne Park had its premiere last winter at Playwrights Horizons and premiered in the UK at London’s Royal Court Theatre last summer. It recently transferred to the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre, where its run continues.

Reviewing Playwrights Horizons’ original production, The L‘s Robert Tumas wrote:

The playwright is looking for a fight and has no qualms about about admitting to it… Norris confronts our tendency to only address race tangentially in a snappy and quick-hitting script that creates obvious and unavoidable stylistic parallels to Edward Albee and David Mamet. But does this veritable smorgasbord of stereotypes cheapen the underlying commentary, over-saturating the work with ignorance and numbing the audience to its possible impact? Or is that the point? Clybourne Park is a spot-on rendering of gentrification from multiple perspectives.

Cue the star-studded Broadway revival…
(Photo: Joan Marcus)