Signature’s Production of Katori Hall’s THE HOT WING KING Wins 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Signature Theatre’s production of Katori Hall’s The Hot Wing King has won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The cast of The Hot Wing King. Photo by Monique Carboni

Ready, set, fry! It’s time for the annual “Hot Wang Festival” in Memphis, Tennessee, and Cordell Crutchfield knows he has the wings that’ll make him king. Supported by his beau Dwayne and their culinary clique, The New Wing Order, Cordell is marinating and firing up his frying pan in a bid to reclaim the crispy crown. When Dwayne takes in his troubled nephew however, it becomes a recipe for disaster. Suddenly, a first place trophy isn’t the only thing Cordell risks losing.

Ms. Hall’s play is a funny, deeply felt consideration of Black masculinity and how it is perceived, filtered through the experiences of a loving gay couple and their extended family as they prepare for a culinary competition.

Helmed by Steve H. Broadnax III, The Hot Wing King began performances on February 11, 2020 in the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center, opened on March 1, but its run was cut short due to the Pandemic.

The cast featured Sheldon Best (Isom), Cecil Blutcher (Everett “EJ”), Korey Jackson (Dwayne), Toussaint Jeanlouis (Cordell), Eric B. Robinson Jr. (TJ), and Nicco Annan (Big Charles).

The creative team included Michael Carnahan (Scenic Designer), Emilio Sosa (Costume Designer), Alan C. Edwards (Lighting Designer), and Luqman Brown and Robert Kaplowitz (Sound Designers). The Production Stage Manager is Laura Smith and Casting is by Caparelliotis Casting.

This year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalists included Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley’s Circle Jerk and Zora Howard’s Stew.
Katori Hall. Photo by Lia Chang

Olivier Award-winning and two-time Tony-nominated Memphis-native Katori Hall is the bookwriter and co-producer of the West End and Broadway hit, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. She’s also the executive producer and showrunner of P-VALLEY, the breakout Starz drama based on her play Pussy Valley.

Katori’s latest piece, The Hot Wing King, premiered in Spring 2020 at the Signature Theatre, rounding out her three-play residency. She is, perhaps, best known for The Mountaintop. The play, which fictionalizes the last night in Martin Luther King’s life, won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2010 before opening on Broadway in October 2011 to critical acclaim. Katori’s other works include the award-winning Hurt Village, Hoodoo Love, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, Our Lady of Kibeho, and The Blood Quilt. She is also the director of the award-winning short, ARKABUTLA.

Katori is an alumna of Columbia University, ART at Harvard University, and Juilliard. She’s also a graduate of the Sundance Episodic Lab’s inaugural class, the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, and Ryan Murphy’s Half Foundation Directing Program. Katori has been published in publications such as The Boston Globe, The Guardian, and The New York Times. She is a proud member of the Ron Brown Scholar Program and the Coca-Cola Scholar Program.

In addition to her Laurence Olivier Award, Katori’s other awards include the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2021 Literature Award, a Susan Smith Blackburn Award, Lark Play Development Center Playwrights of New York (PONY) Fellowship, two Lecompte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, NYFA Fellowship, the Columbia University John Jay Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement, National Black Theatre’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award.

This announcement marks the 105th year of the Prizes. For more information on this year’s and all past years’ winners and finalists, please visit

Stephen Adly Guirgis, Chang-Rae Lee, Katori Hall, Yiyun Li, Adam Rapp, C. Pam Zhang are among the 18 American Academy of Arts and Letters 2021 Literature Award Winners 

Michael R. Jackson’s A STRANGE LOOP Wins the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; SOFT POWER and HEROES OF THE FOURTH TURNING Are Finalists

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

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