'English' wins 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Sanaz Toossi's play about Iranian students learning English as a second language earned critical acclaim for its Off-Broadway premiere in spring 2022.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

The 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Drama has been awarded to English by Sanaz Toossi, which made its Off-Broadway debut in the spring of 2022.

Atlantic Theater Company and ](https://www.newyorktheatreguide.com/theatres/harold-and-miriam-steinberg-center-for-theatre)Roundabout Theatre Company presented the world premiere of the show about a group of Iranian adult students preparing to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Toossi's play examines how learning English risks alienating the students from their native heritage and culture, even as they hope it will improve their lives.

A five-star New York Theatre Guide review of the play reads, "English is both a buoyant comedy of communication and a subtle but probing exploration of what it means to speak out loud and feel understood. That one play can accomplish as much with wit, ease, precision, and heart, as English does in a swift 115 minutes, makes it among the best new plays of the season."

The two finalists for the Pulitzer were also world-premiere Off-Broadway shows: Aleshea Harris's On Sugarland, which went up with New York Theatre Workshop in February 2022, and Lloyd Suh's The Far Country, which Atlantic presented in November 2022.

Pulitzer-winning often go on to fruitful futures. Last year's winner, James Ijames's Fat Ham, won the prize days before its Off-Broadway premiere, and the show is now on Broadway through July 2. Get Fat Ham tickets now.

Photo credit: The company of English off Broadway. (Photo by Ahron R. Foster)

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