When Rabbit Hole opened on Broadway in early 2006, critics noted what a change of pace the somber drama was compared to such earlier David Lindsay-Abaire works as Fuddy Meers and Wonder of the World. Even more impressed was this year's Pulitzer Prize committee, which, on April 16, bestowed upon Rabbit Hole its 2007 Award for Drama.
The play, which featured a Tony-winning Cynthia Nixon in its Broadway run, beat out the far-less-known nominees Orpheus (Rinde Eckert), Bulrusher (Elsa Davis) and Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue (Quiara Alegria Hudes) for the $10,000 prize.
Lindsay-Abaire's play, about a couple torn apart by the accidental death of their son, had a 77-performance run at Broadway's Biltmore Theater. Hudes' Fugue played at off-off-Broadway's 45 Bleecker around the same time. Davis' work ran at Urban Stages in March 2006. Eckert's Orpheus has yet to reach New York but enjoyed a wildly acclaimed premiere at Boston's American Rep, also a year ago March.
This year's Drama committee members included theater critics Rohan Preston and Karen D'Souza, college professor Kimberly W. Benston, and Pulitzer-winning playwright, Paula Vogel(How I Learned to Drive). New York Times scribe Ben Brantley served as chair.
Instituted in 1917 at the bequest of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, the prizes are currently divided into three categories: Journalism, Letters, Drama & Music; and Special Citations. This year, Cormac McCarthy's The Road won for Fiction, while Ray Bradbury, an occasional playwright, received a Special Citation for his body of science fiction writing.
No Pulitzers for Drama were awarded in 2006. The previous winner was John Patrick Shanley's Doubt in 2005.