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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  LATEST NEW YORK NEWS

at the Imperial

By David Lefkowitz
Published April 7 2008

The roller-coaster year of playwright Tracy Letts just lurched to perhaps its highest peak: August: Osage County has just been awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Runners up for the $10,000 annual prize were Christopher Shinn's Dying City and David Henry Hwang's comedy Yellow Face.

After an acclaimed run in Chicago, Osage opened on Broadway in December 2007 to almost unanimously fine reviews, with some critics even comparing the play, favorably, with those of Eugene O'Neill. Letts' drama became the instant favorite for Tony Award honors, with members of its ensemble cast as likely to be considered for prizes as the work itself.

The show has also sold well for a straight play, leading to a problem: its home the Imperial Theatre, was already booked for Billy Elliott in the fall. But rather than close, the producers decided to move the production to the Music Box Theater later this month.

A pretty glorious ride for the author of Killer Joe and Bug, except for one tragic turn. The playwright's father, Dennis Letts, who had been playing Beverly in the Broadway mounting, died of lung cancer February 22, just a few weeks into the run.

Ironically, Theaternewsonline reviewer Matt Wolf had pointed out in his review that what really stings is the play's acceptance of the inevitability of loss. How true, how true.

Last year's Pulitzer winner was Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire, who served as a juror on this year's committee, alongside theater critics Peter Marks, Jeremy McCarter and Charles McNulty and Chicago-based academic Lisa Portes.


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