Playwright Katori Hall has been named this year's recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, for The Hot Wing King.
Recognizing work for the 2020 calendar year, this year's rules alllowed full-length dramatic works that had scheduled premieres postponed or canceled—as well as shows that premiered virtually or outside—to be considered eligible. (A moot point for The Hot Wing King, which opened at Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre Company March 1, 2020—though its run was ultimately cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.)
Zora Howard's Stew (presented in early 2020 by Page 73) and Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley's Circle Jerk (which premiered virtually in October) were announced as finalists.
The Hot Wing King explores the concepts of Black masculinity and chosen families. Set in Memphis, the play follows Cordell as he prepares for the annual Hot Wang Festival with his partner Dwayne and friends. As Cordell enters culinary competition mode, however, the arrival of Dwayne's teenage nephew heralds the unpacking of family trauma and a lasting change to their dynamic.
Hall earned an Olivier Award in 2010 for her play The Mountaintop, which marked her Broadway debut the following year. She is currently Tony Award-nominated as the bookwriter of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. Her play Pussy Valley was recently adapted for the screen as a drama series on Starz (with the modified title P-Valley). Additioanl works include Our Lady of Kibeho, Hurt Village, Hoodoo Love, and Remembrance.
This is the second year the award announcement, typically held in April, was delayed as theatres remain largely shuttered. The Pulitzer Prize for Drama went to A Strange Loop composer Michael R. Jackson in May last year.