Hamilton wins Pulitzer Prize in Drama 2016; The Humans, Gloria Finalists


Lin-Manuel Miranda has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his musical “Hamilton.”

The choice was widely expected. In my first review of Hamilton, Off Broadway, I wrote “Hamilton” is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking new musical about the life and times of the Founding Father whose face is on the ten dollar bill.


The finalists were Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and The Humans by Stephen Karam.

 The citation for Hamilton from the Pulitzer committee reads: “A landmark American musical about the gifted and self-destructive founding father whose story becomes both contemporary and irresistible”
For The Humans:
“A profoundly affecting drama that sketches the psychological and emotional contours of an average American family.”
For Gloria:
“A play of wit and irony that deftly transports the audience from satire to thriller and back again.”
The jury for the Pulitzer in Drama was:

Peter Marks (Chair)

Drama critic, The Washington Post

Ayad Akhtar (He won the Pulitzer in Drama in 2013 for Disgraced)

Playwright, New York City

Stephanie Arnold

Author, professor emerita of theatre, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR

Anne Marie Welsh

Theater critic, script editor, San Diego, CA

Linda Winer

Drama critic, Newsday, Long Island, NY

Hamilton is just the ninth musical to with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in the award’s 100-year history. The others were:  Of Thee I Sing (1933), South Pacific (1950), Fiorello! (1960), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962), A Chorus Line (1976), Sunday in the Park with George (1985), Rent (1996), and Next to Normal (2010).

pulitzer500Below is the complete list of prior Pulitzer Drama winners, with links to their citations (Since 1983, the Pulitzers have made public the finalists, which has become its own form of accolade.)


Between Riverside and Crazy, by Stephen Adly Guirgis

A nuanced, beautifully written play about a retired police officer faced with eviction that uses dark comedy to confront questions of life and death.



The Flick, by Annie Baker

A thoughtful drama with well-crafted characters that focuses on three employees of a Massachusetts art-house movie theater, rendering lives rarely seen on the stage.



Disgraced, by Ayad Akhtar

A moving play that depicts a successful corporate lawyer painfully forced to consider why he has for so long camouflaged his Pakistani Muslim heritage.


Water by the Spoonful, by Quiara Alegría Hudes

An imaginative play about the search for meaning by a returning Iraq war veteran working in a sandwich shop in his hometown of Philadelphia.


Clybourne Park, by Bruce Norris

For “Clybourne Park,” a powerful work whose memorable characters speak in witty and perceptive ways to America’s sometimes toxic struggle with race and class consciousness.


Next to Normal, by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey

A powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness in a suburban family and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals.


Ruined, by Lynn Nottage

A searing drama set in chaotic Congo that compels audiences to face the horror of wartime rape and brutality while still finding affirmation of life and hope amid hopelessness.

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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