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Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture Series
2016-2017 Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture
Quiara Alegría Hudes, Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright
Thursday, February 2, 2017, 4:10 p.m.
Community Room, Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries
Quiara Alegría Hudes is most recently the author of The Elliot Trilogy, three standalone plays that trace the
coming of age of a bright, charismatic, and haunted young man who escapes “el barrio” in Philadelphia,
becomes a Marine, and in the aftermath of his service in Iraq must find his way to adulthood. Each play
explores a different kind of music--Bach, Coltrane, and Puerto Rican folk music--to structure its
narrative. Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue premiered at Page 73 Productions in 2006 and was a finalist for the
Pulitzer Prize in 2007. Water by the Spoonful premiered at Hartford Stage Company in 2011 and won the
2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Happiest Song Plays Last premiered at the Goodman Theatre in 2013.
The plays have been produced around the country and internationally, including at Off-Broadway’s Second
Originally trained as a musician, Hudes has authored musicals as well, most notably the book for the
Broadway musical In the Heights, which received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical, a Tony nomination
for Best Book of a Musical, and was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist. For the original Off-Broadway incarnation
of Heights, Hudes won the Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical. The touring
companies of In the Heights have performed at Puerto Rico’s Centro Bellas Artes, LA’s Pantages, and
Tokyo’s International Forum.
Other works include Barrio Grrrl!, a children’s musical that premiered at the Kennedy Center for the
Performing Arts in 2009 and toured nationally, 26 Miles, which premiered at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in
2009 and was published in American Theatre Magazine, and Yemaya’s Belly, Hudes’ first play, which
premiered at Portland Stage Company and received The Clauder Prize.
Hudes’s honors include the United States Artists Fontanals Fellowship, the Joyce Fellowship at the Goodman
Theatre, the Aetna New Voices Fellowship at Hartford Stage, the Roe Green Award at the Cleveland
Playhouse, fellowships at Sundance Theater Institute and the O’Neill Theater Center, and a residency at
New Dramatists. March 16, 2014 was named “Quiara Alegría Hudes Day” in the City of Philadelphia and
Mayor Rahm Emmanuel declared April 27, 2013 “Quiara Hudes Day” in Chicago.
After graduating from public school in Philadelphia, Hudes went on to receive a B.A. in music from Yale
University and an M.F.A. in playwriting from Brown, where she studied with Paula Vogel. She was recently
inducted into the Central High School Hall of Fame--in the first round of women to receive this honor since
the school’s founding in 1836.
Hudes is on the board of Philadelphia Young Playwrights, which produced her first play in the tenth grade.
She now lives in New York with her husband and children.
The Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture Series was established in 1994 through the endowment of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Nash, Jr., and Mr. and Mrs. George D. Renfro, all of Asheville, North Carolina. The lecture honors Harry C. Howard, Jr. (B.A., 1951).