The 2022 Pulitzer Prizes were announced May 9, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, honoring an exceptional American play staged in the last year. James Ijames' Fat Ham was the winner, with Sylvia Khoury's Selling Kabul and Kristina Wong's Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord being recognized as finalists.
Fat Ham made its world premiere as a streaming production via Philadelphia's Wilma Theater, where Ijames serves as co-artistic director with Morgan Green, who directed the digital production. The play is a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet set in the American South, following Juicy, a queer Black college student grappling with identity questions, the ghost of his father, and a supernatural demand for vengeance. The play is set for a New York run beginning May 12 at The Public Theater in collaboration with National Black Theatre.
Selling Kabul had a winter run at Playwrights Horizons under the direction of Tyne Rafaeli. The play explores the toll of America’s war in Afghanistan and immigration policy from within a single family’s apartment as it unfolds in real-time. It was first seen at Williamstown Theatre Festival, which co-produced the New York engagement.
Wong's solo show Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord, which ran this past fall at New York Theatre Workshop, examines the recent pandemic through her own experience going from an out-of-work artist to overlord of a homemade face mask empire. It is slated for fall run at La Jolla Playhouse. Wong received a 2022 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show.
In a rare moment of theatrical honor synergy, this year's announcement falls on the same day that 2022 Tony Award nominations were announced, partially due to the postponement of the Tony announcement. Among the Tony nominees were 2019 Pulitzer-winning musical A Strange Loop, which leads the pack with 11 nominations including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book. See the full list of 2022 Tony nominees here.
The Pulitzer Prize for Drama most frequently is awarded to an American play, though 2019 winner A Strange Loop is one of 10 musicals to take the honor since it was first awarded in 1917.
The 2021 Prize went to Katori Hall's The Hot Wing King, with Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley's Circle Jerk and Zora Howard's Stew being named as finalists.