‘A Strange Loop’ is 7th musical to win at both Pulitzers and Tony Awards

A Strange Loop” won the much-coveted Tony Award for Best Musical at the 2022 Tony Awards on Sunday, June 12. The tuner from Michael R. Jackson claimed a total of two Tonys at the ceremony. In addition to its strong showing at Radio City Music Hall, “A Strange Loop” is now just the 7th Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner to also win the Tony for Best Musical.

The drama prize at the Pulitzers was first handed out back in 1918, but the voters of that American institution tend to prefer plays rather than song and dance. In 104 years of this award, only 10 musicals have been awarded the Pulitzer: “Of Thee I Sing” (1932), “South Pacific” (1950), “Fiorello!” (1960), “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (1962), “A Chorus Line” (1976), “Sunday in the Park With George” (1985), “Rent” (1996), “Next to Normal” (2010), “Hamilton” (2016), and “A Strange Loop” (2020). The Pulitzers also gave a special award to “Oklahoma!” in 1944, but this was separate from their official Drama prize.

George and Ira Gershwin’s “Of Thee I Sing” debuted before the first ever Tony Awards ceremony in 1947. But since the Tonys have existed, only “Sunday in the Park With George” and “Next To Normal” have won the Pulitzer for Drama but lost the top race here. They were bested by “La Cage Aux Folles” and “Billy Elliot: The Musical” respectively.

Five musicals have made the list of finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, but did not go on to win the award. They are “The Gospel at Colonus” (1985), “In the Heights” (2009), “Fun Home” (2014), “Taylor Mac’s a 24 Decade History of Popular Music” (2017), and “Soft Power” (2020).

The Pulitzer Prize for Drama is awarded to the writer of a dramatic work. When a musical wins, the recipients include the composer, lyricist, and book writer. With this in mind, “A Strange Loop” is now just the fourth Pulitzer endorsed Best Musical winner to be written by a lone individual. Michael R. Jackson crafted the score, lyrics, and book. He joins other solo writers Frank Loesser (“How to Succeed…”), Jonathan Larson (“Rent”), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”) in this elite club.

We have seen roughly one musical per decade prevail at both the Pulitzers and Tonys. If this trend continues, it may be several years before we see such a convergence again.

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