Chicago can once again boast about being the launchpad for another Pulitzer Prize-winning drama.
Ayad Akhtar's play "Disgraced" was announced the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama on Monday. "Disgraced" had its world premiere in January 2012 at Chicago's American Theater Company in a production directed by Kimberly Senior that starred Usman Ally and Lee Stark. Senior restaged "Disgraced" later that year at New York's Lincoln Center Theater with a new cast that featured Aasif Mandvi from "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."
"Disgraced" focuses on an ambitious Pakistani-American lawyer named Amir Kapoor, who has turned his back on his cultural roots to climb the corporate ladder in New York. Kapoor's hopes and dreams suddenly begin to crumble at what starts out to be a friendly dinner party.
"We had no idea it was being considered," said American Theater Company artistic director PJ Paparelli, who championed Akhtar's drama for Chicago audiences. "('Disgraced') is now among the great plays of America, so that's what makes us really happy because we really believed from the get-go in the story that Ayad was telling."
Columbia University administers the $10,000 drama prize for "a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life." Gina Gionfriddo's comedy "Rapture, Blister, Burn" and Amy Herzog's drama "4000 Miles" were named as Pulitzer finalists.
Other recent Pulitzer Prize-winning plays that had Chicago world premieres include Doug Wright's "I Am My Own Wife" (the 2004 winner), Tracy Letts' "August: Osage County" (the 2008 winner) and Lynn Nottage's "Ruined" (the 2009 winner).