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University of Iowa News Release


April 21, 2009

Nottage wins Pulitzer Prize in the midst of UI run of 'Intimate Apparel'

Playwright Lynn Nottage is the winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, announced April 20 in the midst of the University Theatre's Mainstage run of her play "Intimate Apparel." She was honored for her latest play, "Ruined."

Performances of "Intimate Apparel" remain at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 23-25, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26. "Intimate Apparel" director Tisch Jones, a faculty member in the UI Department of Theatre Arts, was an assistant to the artistic director of Yale Repertory Theatre when Nottage was a student at the Yale School of Drama in the 1980s.

"It is exciting to know and witness the development of a young writer," Jones says. "The earliest Nottage play I witnessed was while she was a student at the Yale Drama School. The play was set in the Caribbean, and at the time I knew I was seeing the genesis of a very important voice. 

"I have followed her journey through the years and directed two of her plays. Each play has shown evidence of her extraordinary giftedness as a writer. Members of the 'Intimate Apparel' cast recently saw 'Ruined' while showcasing in New York. When they returned, they could not stop talking about it. It is no surprise that Lynn has been honored in this way. She has always been a special jewel in the American theater."

The winner of five national awards for best play, "Intimate Apparel" is the story of Esther, a turn-of-the-20th-century African-American seamstress in New York who creates exquisite undergarments for a diverse clientele -- including rich white socialites and her friend who is an artistic, world-weary prostitute. At the age of 35, after 18 years living and working in the same boarding house, she doubts her marriage possibilities, especially with the racial limitations facing a black woman in that era.

Visit the production's Facebook fan page at for a wealth of historical information.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Tisch Jones, Director,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell), 319-338-4274 (home),