Pulitzers for Jennifer Higdon's Violin Concerto and the musical 'Next to Normal'
"...the half-hour concerto makes a grand statement, packed with thematic material and expansive development, all of it delivered with extraordinarily prismatic colors. The opening of the score, plaintive musings from the violin against delicate wisps of percussion, is quite the ear-grabber, a wonderful way to begin what amounts to a journey through moods and events, through light and shade ... Higdon's fundamentally tonal, yet imaginatively spiced, style communicates with a refreshing directness. The violin part encompasses an enormous range, technically and expressively, and the orchestral writing is no less substantial ..."
My colleague Mary Carole McCauley has filed this report on another of today's big Pulitzer winners (and note that the Pulizter board moved the winning work into contention for this prize, essentially overruling the jury):
“Next to Normal,” the little musical about manic-depressive illness that was developed at Arena Stage in Washington, might not have pulled in last year’s Tony Award for best musical. But on Monday, creators Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey won the Pulitzer for Drama, which is not a bad consolation prize.
“Next to Normal” took its final shape during a pre-Broadway tryout in Washington in 2008 before moving to the Big Apple. The critics loved the show, but the plot line, about the effect of one woman’s bipolar disorder on her family, was decidedly offbeat. <i>UPDATE: Incorrect info about the 2009 Tonys contained in this contribution when it was posted Monday.</i> When it came time for the Tonys, the musical lost out to "Billy Elliot."
The national tour of "Next to Normal" will include a stop at the Kennedy Center in June, 2011.
PHOTO OF JENNIFER HIGDON BY CANDACE DiCARLO