David Lindsay-Abaire, Pulitzer Winner, Hated by the Blogosphere

David Lindsay-Abaire, with Rabbit Hole star Cynthia NixonPhoto by Getty Images

Drama! is Vulture’s guide to what the theater bloggers are all in a dither about this week.

The theater blogosphere took notice of two pieces in the Los Angeles Times about David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize win for his expensively staged domestic drama Rabbit Hole. On his blog, Time Out critic David Cote demands to know, “Why are we telling the world that this is the best we can do?” Cote calls on the artistic directors of Manhattan Theater Club and Lincoln Center Theater to:

Prepare the audience for a bracing experience. Not build a million-dollar revolving replica of a Westchester mansion and allow us to watch Cynthia Nixon playing at fetishized emotional repression.

Scott Walters of Theatre Ideas, writing in Cote’s comments, refuses to be shocked:

I’m a bit puzzled by this controversy. I looked over the list of Pulitzers, and it seems to me that most of them have been pretty unadventurous, middle-of-the-road plays … like The Subject Was Roses, How to Succeed in Business, Proof, Anna in the Tropics. It seems like we might be looking in the wrong place for “daring” theatre …

Who picks the Pulitzers, anyway? Garret Eisler’s blog, the Playgoer, has the scoop, and he names names! Following up on the Los Angeles Times’ reporting that the Pulitzer board ignored the unknown plays recommended by the category’s expert judging panel (including Ben Brantley and Paula Vogel) and gave the prize to Rabbit Hole instead, Eisler lists the Pulitzer’s board members, all journalism types, and writes:

None of them, not one, could remotely be considered an artist or even an arts specialist. Can you really imagine any of these people — let’s just say even the New York–based ones — seeing any of the plays nominated? Or is the theatre going experience of journalist cognoscenti like [Columbia J-School Dean] Nicholas Lemann and Tom Friedman limited to a token Manhattan Theatre Club subscription?

—Mac Rogers

David Lindsay-Abaire, Pulitzer Winner, Hated by the Blogosphere