Philly bred, Jewish/Boricua playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes just won the Pulitzer Prize in drama for her play, Water by the Spoonful (pictured above) which tells the tale of an Iraq veteran’s struggle to reintegrate into society after coming home. The plight of soldiers trying to live normal lives is a theme Hudes has addressed before in her play Elliott, a Soldier’s Fugue, which was Pulitzer shortlisted in 2007. A number of her other plays – Yemaya’s Belly, Barrio Grrrl!, and 26 Miles – dealt specifically with a number of Latino themes. (Family, identity, and immigration/yearning for a better life.)
She’s probably best known, however, for her Tony award winning work as the writer of In the Heights’ book (i.e. the parts of the musical that don’t get sung).
I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Hudes at a playwriting conference at the Kennedy Center a few years ago during a playwriting intensive – this was back before In the Heights had exploded – and she was warm and eager to help those of us trying to get our work out there. Once I got back to New York from DC I made sure to read Yemaya’s Belly and Elliott, a Soldier’s Fugure and WAM! I had a new playwright on my list of favorites. Her writing is ethereal and heartfelt, appealing directly to the aches and triumphs her characters share with us.
Congratulations to Quiara Alegria Hudes, and I hope Water by the Spoonful comes to New York soon.