Stony Brook Southampton’s Annie Baker Wins 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Critically acclaimed playwright Annie Baker, a core faculty member in the MFA in Theatre program at Stony Brook Southampton since 2012, has been awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play The Flick. The drama award, which includes a $10,000 prize, is “for a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life,” according to the official guidelines. The Columbia University prize board said Baker’s play was “a hilarious and heart-rending cry for authenticity in a fast-changing world.”
“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Annie Baker of our Southampton Arts faculty for winning the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play The Flick,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD. “Winning the Pulitzer Prize is an extraordinary accomplishment, and we are very proud that Annie Baker is a part of the Stony Brook University family.”
Robert Reeves, associate provost for Southampton Graduate Arts, called the award “wonderful news,” but said it did not come as a surprise, “considering the all-star faculty Nick Mangano [director of the MFA in Theatre Program] has assembled at Southampton and Stony Brook Manhattan.”
The Flick, which runs three hours and 15 minutes, premiered last March in an off-Broadway production directed by Sam Gold at Playwrights Horizons. It centers on three well-crafted characters working in one of the few remaining single-screen movie theaters in central Massachusetts. As the play unfolds, their stories become more interesting than the second-rate movies that play on the screen in the run-down theater.
“Annie Baker, one of the freshest and most talented dramatists to emerge off Broadway in the past decade, writes with tenderness and keen insight. Her writing is a great blessing to performers: The Flick draws out nakedly truthful and unadorned acting. This lovingly observed play will sink deep into your consciousness,” wrote Charles Isherwood of The New York Times.
Producer Scott Rudin will bring The Flick back later this year to Barrow Street Theatre in Greenwich Village with the same cast from Playwrights Horizons. Dates have not yet been announced.
“I’m delighted that Annie is a part of our core MFA Theatre faculty at Stony Brook Southampton,” said Mangano. “She is an outstanding teacher — passionate and dedicated — and a talented playwright deserving of this prestigious award. She adds a second Pulitzer Prize, along with Emmys, Tonys, Academy Awards, Grammys, Obies and Golden Globes, to our Theatre faculty honors, and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Baker, who said she loves “teaching in this program,” said she considers herself “lucky to be listed among the other artists who teach here (they’re all amazing and accomplished), and the guys who run the program are committed and brilliant artists themselves.” She referred to her students as “always bright, hard-working and inspiring,” and explained that “playwriting students are also given opportunities to direct, which I think is a rare thing in most MFA programs, and so very important.”
About Annie Baker
Annie Baker, 33, is a native of Amherst, Massachusetts. She graduated from the Department of Dramatic Writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and then earned her MFA from Brooklyn College.
Her full-length plays include Circle Mirror Transformation (Playwrights Horizons, Obie Award for Best New American Play, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), The Aliens (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Obie Award for Best New American Play) and Body Awareness (Atlantic Theater Company, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play/Emerging Playwright). Her plays have also been produced across the country and internationally in London, Melbourne, Sydney and Buenos Aires.
Baker is a member of New Dramatists, MCC’s Playwrights Coalition and EST, and she is an alumna of Youngblood, Ars Nova’s Play Group and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Her other recent honors include a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nomination, a Lilly Award, a Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship, a MacDowell fellowship and a Master Artist Residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. A published anthology of her work, The Vermont Plays, was published by TCG in September 2011, and her adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya had its world premiere at Soho Repertory Theatre in 2012. A New York Times critic called it a “funky, fresh new production.”