Pulitzer Prize for drama
- Established according to provisions in the will of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) in 1917, this honor is bestowed annually on a new American play performed in New York deemed to have "best represented the educational value and power of the stage in raising the standards of good morals and good manners." Over the years, many of the choices made met with disagreement, encouraging critics to set up the New York Drama Critics Circle.* Jesse Lynch Williams's Why Marry? was the first play awarded in 1918, with no winner named in 1919. During the 1920s, the award went three times to Eugene O'Neill for Beyond the Horizon (1920), Anna Christie (1922), and Strange Interlude (1928). In 1921, Zona Gale was the first woman to receive the award for the dramatization of her novel Miss Lulu Bett. The most controversial award of the period occurred when rumors circulated that George Kelly's The Show-Off was to win, but behind-the-scenes manipulations led to the announcement of Hatcher Hughes's HellBent fer Heaven as the winner for 1924. Kelly subsequently won in 1926 for Craig's Wife (1926). The remaining winners prior to 1930 were Owen Davis's Icebound in 1923, Sidney Howard's They Knew What They Wanted in 1925, Paul Green's In Abraham's Bosom in 1927, and Elmer Rice's Street Scene in 1929.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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