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Why is Clybourne Park on Broadway and not Water by the Spoonful?

Why is Clybourne Park on Broadway and not Water by the Spoonful?

This article in the LA Times: Quiara Alegría Hudes, post-Pulitzer, eyes the next chapter got me going about prizes and the treatment of women. 

I am trying to understand the divergent paths of two playwrights one man and one woman — both Pulitzer Prize winning authors.

Here are the facts.  Quiara Alegría Hudes, won the Pulitzer Prize this year for her play Water by the Spoonful which was originally produced at the Hartford Stage.  Bruce Norris won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for his play Clybourne Park which was originally produced in 2010 off Broadway at Playwrights Horizons.  His play reopened on Broadway this year and Sunday night won the Tony Award for best play. 

Quiara Alegria Hudes’ play, is scheduled to premiere in NY off Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre.  With all due respect to Second Stage (a place where I had my very first internship in the theatre) the work produced in their theatre does not qualify for the Tonys.  Unless the play is a huge success and then transfers to Broadway, Quiara’s show will not be eligible for a Tony. 

So the question is, why is Water by The Spoonful not coming directly to Broadway?  I just took a look at the list of the winners of the Pulitzer for drama and the reality is the men get shows on Broadway and the women (the few that have won) don’t get there as often or as quickly.  2009 –  Ruined by Lynn Nottage – off Broadway; 2002 – Topdog/Underdog – Suzanne Lori Parks – Broadway; 1999 – Wit – Margaret Edson- just made it to Broadway this year in a revival but the original show did not transfer; 1998 – How I Learned to Drive – Paula Vogel – Off -Broadway.  The list of male Pulitzer winners goes on and on and the list of women winners is depressingly short.

It’s not like one deals with a light topics and one deals with a hard topic.  Both tackle difficult subject matters —  Clybourne Park is about race and Water by the Spoonful is about an Iraq war veteran. 

In a gender and racially balanced world (Ms. Hudes is part jewish and part Puerto Rican) one would look at Ms. Hudes’ body of work and say that this is a woman whose work should be on the biggest stage — Broadway.   She was the runner up for the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for her play Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue which was the first play in the trilogy of which Water by the Spoonful is the middle chapter.  And she was also the Pulitzer Prize runner up in 2009 with Lin-Manuel Miranda for the Tony Award winning musical In the Heights.

And if a man was writing a triology about the Iraq war, of which two pieces were recognized by the Pulitzer committee, he would be lauded and crowned king of the world. 

Last thing to note –  Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz which was a finalist for the Pulitzer this year — which Quiara won — is already a hit on Broadway. 

I’m just floored that a woman whose work has been recognized at the highest level is not getting a Broadway production.  Can someone explain this to me?

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