re: Caroline or Change did deserve to win the Pulitzer
Posted by: AlanScott 07:35 pm EST 11/14/22
In reply to: re: Caroline or Change did deserve to win the Pulitzer - Chazwaza 06:38 pm EST 11/14/22

A German academic named Heinz D. Fischer wrote a series of books on the history of the various Pulitzer prizes. I think there is more than one on the drama award. In one of them, of which fairly extensive excerpts have been available on googlebooks, he not only goes into detail on the plays considered, but includes many letters that the judges wrote to one another as well as to the advisory board. For the first decades, musicals were very rarely considered. Follies was at least considered in 1972, but no one seems to have had much enthusiasm for it, nor the other two that were considered, Moonchildren and Sticks and Bones, and no award was given.

Among the few that were somewhat seriously considered was 1776, but some of the 1776 folk had a conspiracy theory that seems to have had little basis in reality. There were four pieces that were seriously discussed — The Great White Hope, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, 1776, The Boys in the Band — and three judges: Walter Kerr, Richard Watts, and Brendan Gill. Kerr's first choice was The Great White Hope, and he was against Ceremonies. Gill was strongly opposed to 1776, but seems to have been relatively open as to the final choice. Watt was mildly opposed to the award going to Great White Hope, but he assented and the recommendation for Great White Hope was unanimous.

Unfortunately, the Fischer books are expensive. But the research collection at Performing Arts has a copy of the one I have been discussing, although only for reading on the premises.

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