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Eboni Booth awarded 2024 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for ‘Primary Trust’

The drama was produced Off-Broadway in 2023 by Roundabout Theatre Company.

(L-R) Jay O. Sanders, William Jackson Harper and Eric Berryman in “Primary Trust” Off-Broadway, 2023 (Credit: Joan Marcus)

The 2024 Pulitzer Prize for Drama has been awarded to Eboni Booth for her play “Primary Trust.” The honor was announced by Marjorie Miller, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, on May 6 at Columbia University. Additionally, “Public Obscenities” by Shayok Misha Chowdhury and “Here There Are Blueberries” by Amanda Gronich
and Tony Award nominee Moisés Kaufman were named as finalists.

“Primary Trust” played its world premiere Off-Broadway from May 4 through July 2, 2023, at Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels Theatre. The play sheds light on a lonely bookseller named Kenneth, played by 2024 Tony nominee William Jackson Harper, and the people who make up his community. The cast also included April Matthis, currently featured in Manhattan Theatre Club’s Broadway staging of “Mary Jane,” as well as Eric Berryman and Jay O. Sanders. The production was directed by Knud Adams, who is slated to direct Roundabout’s Broadway transfer of the 2023 Pulitzer winner, “English” by Sanaz Toossi.

A graduate of the Juilliard School’s playwriting fellowship, Booth made her Off-Broadway playwriting debut with the Jan. 2020 production of “Paris” with Atlantic Theater Company. For her efforts in penning “Paris,” Booth was awarded the Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Award, which acknowledges “an American play, preferably by a new playwright.” Booth is a resident playwright with New Dramatists. As a performer, Booth shares a 2019 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance for “Dance Nation.”

Chowdhury’s “Public Obscenities” had its world premiere at Soho Repertory Theater from Feb. 15 to April 16 2023. The play follows Bengali-American student Choton who returns to his native Kolkata, India, accompanied by his boyfriend, to pursue research for his queer studies Ph.D. The production was remounted at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn, opening on January 17, 2024 and running through Feb. 25.

Following a summer 2022 world premiere with San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse, “Here There Are Blueberries” began previews at Off-Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop on April 17 and will open on May 13. The play is slated to run through June 16. In “Here There Are Blueberries,” amid the discovery of a World War II-era photo album, modern-day individuals grapple with the realization they may be descendants of Nazis.

First awarded in 1918, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama acknowledges a “distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life.” To be eligible, the play must have opened or have been published by Dec. 31, 2023.

As was the case the last few years, the award has gone to shows that had not had a Broadway production. However, in addition to the aforementioned “English,” recent Pulitzer winners “Fat Ham” (2022), “A Strange Loop” (2020), “Cost of Living” (2018) and “Sweat” (2017) all went on to play the Main Stem.