“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and the Pulitzer Prize

Entertaining? Definitely. Shocking? At times. Wholesome?

…maybe not.

There’s a lot that can be said about Edward Albee’s 1962 Broadway debut Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, winner of the 1963 Tony Award and initial winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. But when it came time to award the Pulitzer, the committee actually decided to override its original decision. Albee’s play did not, they decided, portray a “wholesome” view of American life. Its sexual themes and language were not deemed “uplifting.”

Edward Albee (source: www.achievement.org)

So what beat out Virginia Woolf?

Actually, nothing. The Committee didn’t award a drama prize at all that year, despite critical acclaim. The decision grew even more controversial when half of the Committee’s members resigned to show their support for Albee.

For more information, check out Edward Albee’s biography. 

And if you think you can handle the scandal, then get ready for PlayMakers’ production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opening on November 30th.